The European Union has awarded researcher Bob Brecha a two-year, $200,000 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship to work with Berlin-based Climate Analytics on bringing renewable energy to developing countries and examining the impact on areas accessing electricity for the first time. Only about 14% of applicants receive the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship.
"We have an immediate challenge to improve human well-being as expressed by the U.N.'s Sustainable Development Goals and mitigate climate change as championed by the Paris Agreement," said Brecha, a professor in the Department of Physics and Renewable and Clean Energy Master's Program. "Climate change mitigation and adaptation require a rapid transition to sustainable, renewable energy sources. Access to those energy sources correlates with improved well-being."
The Marie Skłodowska-Curie program connects researchers throughout the world to enhance the flow of knowledge across countries, sectors of the economy and scientific disciplines. Brecha said his group at Climate Analytics will utilize partnerships in the developing world to achieve their goals.
"We'll work with local groups to develop alternative energy-system plans consistent with their nation's support of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals," said Brecha, who also has served as the director of research in the University's Hanley Sustainability Institute. "This country-specific research will provide case studies for other similar regions."
From 2006 to 2017, Brecha spent summers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany with economists and scientists investigating "a more sustainable world energy system that avoids serious economic consequences while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions." Brecha also spent the 2010-11 academic year there on a Fulbright fellowship.
He spent a sabbatical in 2018 at Climate Analytics where he also served for part of the year as interim head of energy system modeling and interim co-head of the climate policy team.
"This experience will help me better serve the University's collective efforts in renewable and clean energy, the Hanley Sustainability Institute, the sustainability program and the Human Rights Center," said Brecha.