Collaboration Spotlight: AT&T Climate Resiliency Community Challenge
by Meghan Hauser

The Institute for Resilient Infrastructure Systems (IRIS), in partnership with Athens-Clarke County (ACC), received $50,000 to analyze current and future flood risks, prioritize opportunities for infrastructure improvements, and create maps and visualizations for expressing flood hazards to the community. The grant was awarded by AT&T as part of the company’s Climate Resiliency Community Challenge.

The researchers hope that this partnership between ACC and UGA will inform long-term planning within the county and help community leaders make sound policy decisions to improve community well-being and infrastructure performance with the overall goal of supporting the strengthening of Athens-Clarke County’s flood resilience.

Not only does this gift exemplify the value of university-community partnerships, it serves as an example of the benefits of campus collaboration, specifically in regards to research and development. The research team includes faculty from the College of Engineering, the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, and the Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant who are working alongside five ACC departments.

In order to coordinate the grant proposal, development officers from the College of Engineering, Corporate and Foundation Relations, and Public Service and Outreach worked together to communicate grant guidelines, assist with faculty input, and manage the foundation relationship.

This grant would not have been possible without collaboration among development officers: Jan Blaine from Engineering shared his knowledge of IRIS and his working relationship with Dr. Brian Bledsoe and his team of faculty; Cherie Duggan assisted in communication with Vinson Institute and the Marine Extension; and Meghan Hauser shared this opportunity with team members after learning about it from the funder and worked with the research team to put forth the most competitive proposal. Each development officer brought a unique aspect to the fundraising process, demonstrating the value of collaboration.

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