Environmental Policy Initiative Summer 2013 Research Grant Award Winners

June 11, 2013

Ohio State’s Environmental Policy Initiative, which is directed by Dr. Brent Sohngen from the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics (AEDE), offers a yearly summer research grant for OSU graduate students who are preparing doctoral dissertation proposals for work in environmental policy. Recipients receive an award of $4,000, which is to be used during the summer semester during which the award is granted in. 

This year’s award was given to three outstanding Ohio State doctoral students: Yun Qiu from the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics; Pranay Ranjan from the School of Environment and Natural Resources; and Justine Law from the Department of Geography. 

Qiu is a doctoral student at AEDE where she is advised by Dr. Sathya Gopalakrishnan. In her studies she focuses on the dynamic interactions between geophysical processes and human activity in response to climate change in coastal zones. She will use the EPI grant to continue work on a project examining the willingness of consumers to pay for changes in beach amenities, which she will examine through the analysis of housing data. Some questions she seeks to answer in her research include: do people with heterogeneous preferences for beach amenities and different expectations of beach nourishment endogenously sort across coastal communities; does the rental price of beach houses capitalize on long-term hurricane risk; and, what is the dynamically optimal nourishment pattern along a heterogeneous coastline and how might changes in climate forcing and economic policy change this pattern?

Prior to beginning her graduate studies at Ohio State, Qiu studied at Peking University in China. She has earned previous awards for her studies, including the 2011-2012 Ohio State College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ Environmental Graduate Research Fellowship Program Award.

Ranjan, who specializes in environmental social science in his work at Ohio State and is advised by Dr. Tomas Koontz, will use the summer grant to research the institutional response of watershed communities in peri-urban regions to increased market access and diverse employment opportunities. Ranjan is also interested in understanding the circumstances under which these institutional responses make the watershed institutions more adaptive.

Ranjan holds a Master of Science degree in environmental studies from TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute) University, India.  He is a recipient of the DAAD (The German Academic Exchange Service) scholarship under the program “German Indian Climate Change Dialogue”.  His Master's dissertation focused on finding the impact of recent economic crises on environmental policy dynamics in Germany. He also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in applied life sciences from the University of Delhi, India. Prior to beginning his studies at Ohio State, Ranjan worked at SaciWATERs (South Asia Consortium for Interdisciplinary Water Resources Studies) on understanding how water access for peri-urban communities is changing as a result of urbanization and climate change.

Law, who focuses on human-environment geography in her studies at Ohio State, is interested in the ways that rural communities extract, manage, and use natural resources. Her dissertation investigates how wood energy can best support local, sustainable rural development in central Vermont and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Using the funding from EPI, Law will spend the summer performing a comparative analysis of woody biomass energy generation in both regions. She aims to understand why and how stakeholders engage with woody biomass energy; to what degree woody biomass energy projects provide social and economic benefits for communities; and to what degree forest management for woody biomass energy sustains ecosystem health and local human-forest interactions.

Prior to beginning her graduate studies at Ohio State, Law studied environmental science at Allegheny College in Pennsylvania. In addition to her research, Law also teaches environmental geography courses at Ohio State.

EPI aims to stimulate and focus systematic collaboration in environmental policy through research, graduate and undergraduate education, communication with the policy community, and interaction with the national and international community of scholars in environmental policy. Click here to learn more about the work of this innovative Ohio State initiative.

June 11, 2013