About the Initiative
Developing, sharing, and applying new ways to tackle existing and emerging problems across a broad number of fields, including the environment, engineering, and sustainability, has long been a hallmark of RAND and is integral to the scholarly work at the Pardee RAND Graduate School.
A $5 million gift in May 2014 from the late engineer and philanthropist John M. Cazier is now turbocharging research in environmental and energy sustainability at Pardee RAND.
The donation established the John and Carol Cazier Environmental and Energy Sustainability Initiative, which will help generate new concepts, tools, and methods to share findings, ideas, and insights clearly and broadly, so that they can improve public policy, foster better practices in the field, and be applied in the commercial sector to benefit people throughout the world.
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Los Angeles has an opportunity to reinvent itself by harnessing the collective spirit of Olympics development, climate activism, and Measure W funding. Students Noah Johnson (cohort '18), Karishma Patel ('17), and Jarrett Catlin ('18) write that no single project can address all LA's environmental needs, but many diverse projects could provide an opportunity for synergies and to create a new “city feel,” the way palm trees, traffic, and movie-touting billboards do now.
Currently a predominantly concrete channel running through the city, the Los Angeles River has great potential to revitalize Los Angeles's water resources, landscape, and identity. Students Keren Zhu (cohort '17), J. Luke Irwin ('16), and Stephanie Tanverakul ('18), along with Prof. Timothy Gulden, explain that creating a new vision for the river presents a complex challenge for policymakers, engineers, and urban planners.
California faces shortages in water supply amidst droughts, wildfires, and other natural disasters worsened by climate change. Students Joan Chang (cohort '18), Pau Alonso Garcia ('18), and Jonathan Lamb ('17) argue that taking a systems thinking approach, in particular applying a systems framework, is essential to addressing complex problems for the sustainability of water resources that affect individuals, communities, and broader populations.
With Cazier Initiative support, students David Catt (cohort '16) and Karishma Patel ('17) traveled to Kathmandu, Nepal, this summer with professors Robert Lempert and Ben Preston to attend the Second Lead Author Meeting for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II.
California's Human Right to Water Bill declares that “every human being has the right to safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water.” Student David Catt and professors Miriam Marlier and Michelle Miro say one clear barrier to reaching this target is the sheer number of small water utilities that pose service sustainability and public health risks to their customers.
As drought and population growth place increasing pressure on water supply, the need to save and efficiently manage Southern California's water resources becomes increasingly critical. Student Jalal Awan (cohort 17) and professors Miriam Marlier and Michelle Miro suggest that a single information and communication technology platform could go a long way toward moving water utilities from reactive to proactive maintenance practices.
“I'm truly impressed with the intellectual capacities of Pardee RAND and RAND. I want to ensure that the right bridges get built between the research powerhouses of RAND and Pardee RAND, the commercial world, and the best practitioners in the field.”
— John Cazier
“John Cazier has been an inventor and innovator in automotive engineering,” said Susan Marquis, dean at Pardee RAND, in announcing the Initiative. “We're grateful for John's financial support and his forward thinking on green practices and sustainability.”
Under the initiative—which also honors Cazier's late wife, Carol—the graduate school will bring important visiting fellows to campus and provide valuable research and dissemination tools to students and faculty members. The visiting fellows—some of the best minds and practitioners in their fields—will challenge, inspire, inform, and educate Ph.D. candidates, faculty, RAND researchers, and the RAND community—and it is hoped that being part of the RAND community will broaden the visitors' horizons, too.
The Initiative also provides support to allow faculty, with student assistance, to pursue new work and extend RAND and graduate school research, with a particular emphasis on disseminating this work and getting it into the hands of decisionmakers and practitioners. To have the most impact with the widest possible audiences, the Initiative will underwrite materials that communicate in nontechnical, direct, visual, and simple ways about advances or key policies on the environment, sustainability, engineering, and technology transfer.