SRA Member Elisabeth Gilmore Studies Climate Change through DOD Grant

Want to know the real impacts of climate on you and me? Ask Elisabeth Gilmore, presently studying this question with the help of a new U.S. Department of Defense grant.

Gilmore, who studies the long-term implications of climate change for human systems in areas ranging from health to armed conflict, believes that good decision-making requires good estimates of benefits and risks, as well as a grasp of the uncertainties. She is spending the summer of 2013 working on the conflict issue with colleagues at the Peace Research Institute in Oslo, Norway.

Her work in Oslo is funded by a new three-year, $1.9 million grant for social science research from the U.S. Department of Defense Minerva program. Gilmore is the lead Principal Investigator on the project.

While there, she’s also managed to squeeze in a week of hiking in the northern part of the country during the midnight sun. “It was truly beautiful,” she adds. As a busy, high-achieving assistant professor at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy, Gilmore is committed to attaining some level of work/life balance despite the demands on her time.

She credits her Ph.D. supervisor, Dr. Lester Lave, with giving her the advice to enjoy a little bit of “retirement” from time to time throughout her life. He also inspired her to pursue solutions to the complex and challenging problems that lie at the intersection of multiple disciplines.

At Maryland, Gilmore teaches a course in Decision Analysis for the School. “We review a range of formal quantitative methods used in policy and decision analysis,” she explains. The course is based on case studies, and Gilmore says that in teaching it she always learns something new from her students.

Prior to joining the Maryland faculty, Gilmore was a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Science and Impacts Branch.

Gilmore, whose Ph.D. studies at Carnegie Mellon University combined work in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy and in the Department of Chemical Engineering, especially appreciates the interdisciplinary nature of SRA, which she describes as “very welcoming and encouraging.”

She also holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Chemical and Environmental Engineering from the University of Toronto, Canada.

                                                                       - Susanna Priest, SRA News Editor