EPA Region 7, KU Center for Environmental Policy to collaborate on research, opportunities

Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 officials talking with Center for Environmental Policy research fellows. Photo credit: EPA Region 7.

LAWRENCE — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 and KU Center for Research officials have signed an agreement to collaborate on projects and initiatives that will benefit both parties. The agreement, signed during a ceremony Feb. 25, outlines a partnership between EPA Region 7 and the KU Center for Environmental Policy. The memorandum of understanding “offers the promise of exciting and mutually beneficial collaborative activities,” said Dietrich Earnhart, CEP director and professor of economics.

EPA and CEP will work together to identify research priorities and consult on research. Under the agreement, EPA may make paid and volunteer internship projects available, and CEP will help connect students to those opportunities.

EPA Regional Administrator Meg McCollister, a KU alumna, said the partnership was significant for the pathways it creates for student researchers to work with EPA, calling it “a symbol of mutual interest and appreciation for the generation of up-and-coming research scientists and engineers.” 

An upcoming listening session at KU is planned at 7 p.m. April 20 on environmental justice, intended as a component of the KU-EPA relationship.

The partnership also is intended to help students apply what they learn in the classroom to the real world.

“At KU, our vision is to educate leaders, to build healthy communities and to make discoveries that change the world,” said Simon Atkinson, KU vice chancellor for research.

The agreement also provides for EPA Region 7 and CEP to share technical assistance. CEP will help connect the agency to faculty affiliates across disciplines for research-related mini-courses, lectures and seminars, and EPA officials will offer their expertise and training to KU faculty and students. CEP will also help EPA build connections to local communities and community organizations.

At the signing ceremony, Jamie Hofling of the Douglas County Department of Sustainability discussed some of the projects the Douglas County Food Policy Council leads with CEP involvement. These include a pilot program with Just Food to take food waste to the city compost pile rather than a landfill, to recover food from farms and donate it to Just Food, and to help community members avoid food waste when eating restaurant meals. To bolster those efforts, CEP has helped the team collect, analyze and report program data.

“These current local community-engaged research efforts serve as excellent models for broader community engagement within EPA Region 7,” Earnhart said.

EPA was founded in 1970, and today, EPA Region 7 works to protect human health and the environment. EPA Region 7 includes Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri as well as the nine tribal nations: Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas, Meskwaki Nation (Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa), Omaha Tribe of Nebraska and Iowa, Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, Sac & Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas and Nebraska, Santee Sioux Nation and Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska.

The Center for Environmental Policy, which is part of the Institute for Policy & Social Research, draws upon interdisciplinary expertise to explore environmental policies, along with related protection efforts, and their impacts on society and nature. Center-sponsored research projects focus on the human decisions behind the formation and implementation of these policies and efforts, and, in turn, their impacts on the environment and related decisions.

Photo: Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 officials talking with Center for Environmental Policy research fellows. Credit: EPA Region 7.

Thu, 03/03/2022


Carolyn Caine

Media Contacts

Carolyn Caine

Institute for Policy & Social Research