I had been working on a grant application to the US State Department for the Global Innovation Initiative for the past month. With a flurry of activity from our hotel room in the evening of our first night on the road, followed by email correspondence with our international collaborators at 1am and 4am on December 16th, and a very Herculean effort by our Office of Sponsored programs in the wee hours of Monday morning (and Sunday evening) my first grant proposal of my sabbatical was submitted.
The grant is called "Dendrochronological Pollution Reconstructions from Urban Areas in China" for $248,822. It includes co-PIs Dr. Qihao Weng from ISU, Mr. El-houcin Chaqra from ISU, Dr. Qi-bin Zhang from the Institute of Botany - Chinese Academy of Sciences, Dr. Bing Xu from the Beijing Normal University, and Dr. Iain Robertson from Swansea University in the UK. If funded, this work will be mapping pollution, population, and weather effects to determine pollution hazard in and around Beijing. From that map, we will sample trees in and out of the pollution plume to examine the chemical history preserved in the trees through X-ray fluorescence analysis of the wood chemistry combined with stable isotopic analysis. We hope to reconstruct about 100 years of pollution history around Beijing through its growth with the industrial revolution, transition to automobile traffic, and changes for the 2008 Olympics.