M-Cubed 3.0: Training and research under a sustainable roof: A net-zero biological field station at the Taboga Forest Reserve, Costa Rica
Mcubed stimulates innovative research and scholarship by distributing real-time seed funding to multi-unit, faculty-led teams. Through this revolutionary research funding program, faculty from at least two different campus units can form a collaborative trio, or “cube,” and request either $60K or $15K to advance their idea right away. Cubes empower team members to:
- Keep pace with the rapid information flow of today’s research environment
- Explore high-risk approaches that might not attract immediate support from more traditional funding mechanisms
- Tackle pressing social problems too complex for a single disciplinary approach
- Expose the next generation of researchers/scholars to the benefits of multidisciplinary collaboration.
Housed in the University of Michigan's Office for Research (UMOR), Mcubed is part of the Third Century Initiative, established by the provost and president for the University's bicentennial celebration in 2017. Building upon U-M's excellence and spirit of cooperation across the disciplines, Mcubed makes great ideas go!
Our long-term objective is to establish a one-of-a-kind, net-zero, international field station at the Taboga Forest Reserve, Costa Rica. We envision a research hub where electricity and water are generated entirely through renewable resources and there is no waste going to landfills. The carbon-neutral field station will serve three purposes: (1) as a research and demonstration site for applied sustainability methods – particularly for food, energy, and water systems; (2) as a field school that brings together Costa Rican and American students interested in ecological and biological skills; (3) as a research station that facilitates research on the diversity of flora and fauna of the Taboga Forest Reserve.
The project will begin be creating a mini-grid blueprint that includes the local biomass resources as well as a water harvesting strategy. It will be linked to present research with capuchin monkeys and the training and development of new scientists and sustainability practitioners.