New Center for the Future of Work Places and Practices

At 9am (EST) on Friday, January 27, we will launch the new Virginia Tech Center for the Future of Work Places and Practices at the ICAT Playdate. Information on how to join this event (in person or via YouTube) can be found by selecting the first image below. The second image below will take you to a news story about the new center.

January 2023 Construction Update

Below is a construction update on the Mzuzu University library.

The Mzuni Library Initiative

Progress continues to be made on the construction of Mzuzu University’s new library. The images below show how the construction of the second half (on the left) of the library is progressing. The first floor is complete and the columns/supporting walls are now being installed on the second floor. Malawi is also in the middle of its wet season, which is characterized by high temperatures and humidity and regular afternoon downpours. The clouds in the images point to some of this weather, which will hopefully not disrupt construction over the next couple of months.

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Special Issue in Agronomy

I will be co-edting a special issue of Agronomy with colleagues Dr. Jessica Agnew and Prof. Tom Thompson, focused on Advanced Innovation for Improving Total Factor Productivity (TFP) in Agriculture. The deadline for submissions is August 31, 2023. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about this special issue.

Special Issue Information

To sustainably meet global needs for agricultural products by 2050, agricultural total factor productivity (TFP) needs to grow by 1.73 percent annually. However, from 2011 to 2020, global TFP grew at an average of 1.12 percent per annum. Sub-Saharan Africa in particular is struggling to overcome negative TFP growth, and TFP growth is no longer the driver of increased agricultural output in Latin America and the Caribbean.

This Special Issue of Agronomy seeks to build the evidence base of cutting-edge innovation that increases TFP, particularly in the African, Latin American, Asian, and Caribbean contexts, and especially those designed for smallholder farmers. Technological innovation may include, but is not limited to, digital services, seed varieties, agronomic practices, or technological advances that will reduce the level of inputs considered in the calculation of TFP—land, labor, capital, and material resources.

Reviews, integrative studies, original studies, and conference papers are all welcome. Articles that consider TFP growth and the policy implications of advancing innovation for TFP growth are also of interest.

Webinar: Blockchain Technology & Kenyan Agriculture

On January 12 at 9am (EST), Dr. Jessica Agnew and I will be talking about our USAID LASER PULSE research project entitled “Exploring the Use of Blockchain Technology to Promote the Production and Consumption of African Indigenous Vegetables in Western Kenya.” The event description is provided below. The Zoom link to the webinar can be accessed here.

2023 Study Abroad Progam in Florence/Pisa, Italy

If you are a rising senior or graduate student at Virginia Tech and are looking for a unique sustainability-related study abroad experience, please find me on the Drillfield on Wednesday (September 21) to learn more about the planned 2023 Florence-Pisa program in Italy or signup for the information session that will be held from 3-4pm on Friday, October 14.

If you are unable to attend the study abroad fair or information session, please complete this simple form to be kept informed of program updates.

Recording of SPIA Seminar with Dr. Tiziano Distefano

Please find below a recording of Dr. Tiziano Distefano’s SPIA Seminar that explores how the Ecological Macroeconomics (EM) and Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) developed for Italy and France could be adapted to study the US economy.

SPIA Seminar (9/16, 12-1pm)

What is the relationship between climate change and increasing inequality? How can a different paradigm and representation of the world help advance a more sustainable future?

In this seminar, Dr. Tiziano Distefano (an Assistant Professor at the University of Florence) will explore how Ecological Macroeconomics (EM) and Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) can be used to merge diverse knowledge, data, and methodologies to address complex environmental problems and their connections with the socio-economic system. Dr. Distefano will present his EM-IAM research focused on Italy and France, and will discuss how this analysis approach could be applied to the US.

When: September 16, 12-1pm (EST)

Location: Room 111, Architecture Annex

Zoom: Register here

USAID LASER PULSE Policy/Product Briefs

The final policy and product briefs from our USAID LASER PULSE project entilted “Exploring the Use of Blockchain Technology to Promote the Production and Consumption of African Indigenous Vegetables in Western Kenya” are now available.

Agnew, J., & Hall, R. P. (2022). Policy Brief: Research evidence of the impacts of blockchain technology on improving food security through African Indigenous Vegetables in Western Kenya. USAID LASER PULSE, 4 pages. http://hdl.handle.net/10919/111580
Agnew, J., Hall, R. P., & Kristofikova, N. (2022). Product Brief: Linking the AgUnity Blockchain-based Platform to the Kenyan Agricultural Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy. USAID LASER PULSE, 4 pages, 4 pages. http://hdl.handle.net/10919/111581