Capitalizing on Princeton’s existing research efforts in Africa, the Development Grand Challenge is focusing on balancing economic development in African countries with preserving biodiversity and natural resources.
The largest research effort within the Development Grand Challenge is the Water, Savannas and Society Project at the Mpala Research Centre in central Kenya, which began in 2006 and became affiliated with Grand Challenges in 2007.
Trenton Franz, a fourth-year graduate student in civil and environmental engineering, studies hydrology through the Ewaso Water Project, the field research component of the Water, Savannas and Society Project. Through Grand Challenges, he has received funding for several semesters of study, fieldwork and travel to conferences to present his research on the dryland ecosystems that make up much of Africa’s pastoral land. He has also received invaluable help from the biologists and other engineers involved in the Ewaso project.
“The diversity of expertise has been very crucial in providing information on a difficult interdisciplinary problem that the Water, Savannas and Society/Ewaso Water Project is trying to address,” Franz said.