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Outside, Diego Riveros-Iregui (left), holding a long measurement device and a student (right), gesturing to a notebook. Two students and the mountains in the background.

Diego Riveros-Iregui (left) is the P.I. for a new climate change grant that will support research by students from Ecuador and Chapel Hill. (Photo by Alyssa LaFaro)

Carolina wins grant for climate change research in Ecuador

With a grant from the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Fund, students at UNC-Chapel Hill and Universidad San Francisco de Quito will conduct climate change research over the course of a year. Four Carolina students will travel to Ecuador this summer to conduct field research with their USFQ counterparts in the páramo.

The grant is part of the U.S.-Andean Innovation Fund Competition co-sponsored by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.

Diego Riveros-Iregui, Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Professor of Geography, will be the principal investigator. Found only in the Andes Mountains, the páramo is a cold yet tropical landscape that provides drinking water to millions of people in South America and serves as one of the most carbon-rich locations in the world.

In the fall, UNC-Chapel Hill and USFQ students will analyze their collected data in a Collaborative Online International Learning Plus course. COIL is a pedagogical approach involving shared teaching and learning between faculty and students in two or more countries. When faculty add a travel component to the class, it becomes a COIL Plus course.

Riveros-Iregui will co-teach the course with Esteban Suárez, director of the Biosphere Institute at USFQ and academic content coordinator for the grant.

Next spring, the grant will fund the opportunity for USFQ students to visit Chapel Hill and present their research with their Carolina collaborators at the University’s annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research.