poorly understood and even more poorly practiced. There is a need for (1) improved characterization technology; (2) improved quantification of the uncertainties associated with characterization; and (3) improved methods for assessing the potential impacts of these uncertainties on engineering decisions requiring engineering judgment (i.e., on risk analysis for engineering decision making).

Recommendation

  • NSF should continue to direct funding of the fundamental knowledge gaps and needs in geoengineering.

  • NSF should restore the balance between investigator-initiated research and directed research, and should allocate resources to increase the success rate for unsolicited proposals in geoengineering (and civil and mechanical systems) to a level commensurate with other programs in the engineering directorate.

Finding

The committee sees tremendous opportunities for advancing geoengineering through interaction with other disciplines, especially in the areas of biotechnology, nanotechnology, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and microsensors, geosensing, information technology, cyberinfrastructure, and multispatial and multitemporal geographical data modeling, analysis, and visualization. Pilot projects in vertical integration of research between multiple disciplines—perhaps including industry, multiple government agencies, and multiple universities—should be explored as alternatives to more traditional interdisciplinary proposals.

New technology—already available or under development—promises exciting new possibilities for geoengineering. Some applications of these new technologies that the committee found of particular interest use (1) microbes to stabilize or remediate soils; (2) nanotechnology to modify the behavior of clay; (3) nanosensors and MEMS to characterize and



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