By Valerie Krempus

sunset over amazon
Sunset over the Amazon rainforest in Peru, where Rebecca B. Neumann and team are conducting research on the climate, human, and ecological costs of destructive gold mining.

Cambridge, MA – As world leaders gather to take stock of progress against climate change at COP28 UAE this week, the Center for International Development (CID) at Harvard University, in collaboration with Harvard Radcliffe Institute (HRI) and the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, (Mittal Institute), is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2023 Global Empowerment Meeting (GEM) Incubation Fund, advancing innovative climate change research for developing economies on the frontlines of the crisis.  

 Launched at CID's Global Empowerment Meeting, which brings together leading researchers and practitioners to share insights and develop action-focused strategies, the GEM Incubation Fund supports research that strives to find solutions to pressing development challenges. Applicants to the 2023 GEM Incubation Fund chose between seed funding for climate-related research provided by CID and the Mittal Institute, and participation in Harvard Radcliffe Institute's Climate Policy Accelerator Workshops, which focus on policy design and implementation to address the climate crisis in developing countries.

“By bringing together researchers and practitioners to incubate new solutions to complex development problems, GEM is becoming a platform to catalyze promising new research that can change lives and communities,” said Asim I. Khwaja, CID Faculty Director. “We are inspired by the strong demand for funding from researchers working hand-in-hand with local communities to co-develop solutions to the climate crisis.”

“Radcliffe is proud of our collaboration to create the GEM Incubation Fund, which directs resources to researchers grappling with one of our age’s most troubling issues,” said Tomiko Brown-Nagin, dean of Harvard Radcliffe Institute. “Harvard supports a range of vital climate change studies, but targeted research investments in developing economies on the frontlines of the climate crisis are closely aligned with Radcliffe’s values and strategic focus."

The seven recipients of this year’s GEM seed funding awards represent universities in the United States, United Kingdom, Pakistan, and Argentina with research projects in developing countries around the world. Research focuses on climate-related topics critical for developing economies, from climate education in Somalia to solar geoengineering in Buenos Aires. 

CID and Mittal Institute Seed Funding Recipients

Project Title: Climate Adaptation and Disaster Relief in Pakistan’s Devastating Floods

Principal Investigators: Robin Burgess, Amen Jalal, and Pol Simpson from The London School of Economics and Political Science

Project Country: Pakistan

Project Title: Climate-Smart Public Health in Nepal

Principal Investigators: 

  • Christopher Golden, Marissa Childs, and Oladimeji Mudelel from Harvard School of Public Health
  • Meghnath Dhimal from Nepal Health Research Council

Project Country: Nepal

Project Title: Solar Radiation Modification Impacts Based Dashboard for Health Policy Makers in South Asia

Principal Investigators: 

  • Prof. Dr. Athar Hussain, COMSATS University Islamabad
  • Dr. Shuchi Talati, The Alliance for Just Deliberation on Solar Geoengineering

Project Country: Pakistan

Project Title: How would climate change and solar geoengineering affect the coastal megacities in developing countries? A case study of Buenos Aires.

Principal Investigators: 

  • Ines Camilloni, Centro de Investigaciones del Mar y la Atmósfera (CIMA). Universidad de Buenos Aires/CONICET
  • Andy Parker, The Degrees Initiative
  • Daniele Visioni, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University

Project Country: Argentina

Project Title: Productivity Co-Benefits of Energy Saving Technology

Principal Investigator: Achyuta Adhvaryu, University of California at San Diego

Project Country: India

Project Title: Destructive Gold Mining in the Amazon: Climate, Human, and Ecological Costs

Principal Investigators:

  • Rebecca B. Neumann, Alex Turner, and Robin Ruhm, University of Washington, Seattle
  • Eric Cosio, Pontifical Catholic University of Peru
  • Alejandro Lopera-Toro and Elena Chaboteaux, Manu Biological Research Station

Project Country: Peru

Project Title: Data (in)equity, Conflict Fragility, and Climate Knowledge in Somalia

Principal Investigators

  • Harry Verhoeven, Columbia University
  • Maimuna Mohamud, Asal Consulting

Project Country: Somalia

HRI Accelerator Workshops

In partnership with CID, and through its two Climate Policy Accelerator Workshops, Harvard Radcliffe Institute is delighted to support policy design and implementation to address the climate crisis in developing economies.

One pathbreaking program, “Shaping Policies for Climate Adaptation in the Gulf of Guinea,” will bring together key policy makers from Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria to discuss opportunities for shaping shared regional policies over the impact of sea-level rise, coastal erosion, and flooding on urban and peri-urban settlements, economies, and gendered livelihoods in the Gulf of Guinea.

The project will be co-led by Professors Gareth Doherty (Harvard Graduate School of Design) and Daniel Agbiboa (Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences) and will complement and accelerate research previously funded by the Salata Institute’s Climate Research Clusters Program.

The other workshop, “Agricultural Water Productivity Assessment in Coastal Bangladesh,” will grapple with the impact of climate change on food security. In light of ever-increasing food demands, salinity intrusion, groundwater depletion, and rising sea levels, this project aims to invigorate the resilience of the most vulnerable farming communities in Bangladesh by harnessing cutting-edge real-time satellite data to inform local agricultural practices.

The workshop and project will be co-led by Professors Phuong Pham and Patrick Vinck of the Harvard School of Public Health, and Syed Abu Siam Zulquarnine of the Ministry of Agriculture of Bangladesh.

CID's Global Empowerment Meeting

GEM23: Growing in a Green World was held on May 10-11, 2023 at Harvard Kennedy School, and focused on climate change, with a lens on developing countries at the frontlines of the climate crisis. GEM23 brought together more than 160 researchers, public policy officials, private sector leaders, civil society representatives, and philanthropists from more than 35 countries. The conference was a key event of Harvard Climate Action Week, and co-hosted by the Salata Institute for Climate and Sustainability at Harvard University.

GEM24 will be held on May 1-2, 2024, and will be focused on gender and international development. Applications for the 2024 GEM Incubation Fund will open in July 2024.


About CID:

The Center for International Development is Harvard University’s home for faculty, students, research fellows, and community members committed to building a world where all people can reach their full potential and thrive.

About Harvard Radcliffe Institute:

The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University—known as Harvard Radcliffe Institute—is one of the world’s leading centers for interdisciplinary exploration. We bring students, scholars, artists, and practitioners together to pursue curiosity-driven research, expand human understanding, and grapple with questions that demand insight from across disciplines.

About Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute:

The Mittal Institute is a university-wide research institute at Harvard that engages faculty members, students, and in region institutions through interdisciplinary programs to disseminate knowledge, build capacity, inform policy, and engage with issues that are shaping South Asia today.


For media inquiries, please contact :

Valerie Krempus

Image Credits

Rebecca B. Neumann, University of Washington, Seattle

Read Next Post
View All Blog Posts