USRA Scientists Awarded 2022 Kuno Award for Applied Science for Social Good
Washington, DC—March 29, 2023. Dr. Eleanor (Kellie) Stokes (PI) and Dr. Srija Chakraborty (Co-I) were recently announced as the Winners of the S&R Foundation 2022 Kuno Award for Applied Science for the Social Good. At Universities Space Research Association, Dr. Stokes is Senior Scientist at the Earth from Space Institute and has been widely recognized as a scientist who is proactive and passionate about the value of geospatial technology to the economy and society
The award, which includes $100,000 in funding, supports early- to mid-career women who are social innovators focused on addressing modern challenges. It supports the translation of scientific research to a practical real-world solution for those aiming to achieve measurable social impact. Drs. Stokes and Chakraborty plan to use the award to develop an online tool for monitoring the electric grid from remote sensing data.
In their past work, they have used satellite imagery to successfully monitor power outages caused by natural hazards such as hurricanes and earthquakes, geo-political conflicts, as well as electricity infrastructure development due to urbanization and electrification. However, such analyses have been applied on a case study basis. With this award, they will create tools to empower stakeholders to produce analyses of power outages within cities and neighborhoods “on demand”, democratizing the data and analyses needed to support disaster response and recovery.
Historically, power outage data have not been standardized across utilities, transparent, nor available in real time. This data is needed both in the short term, to save lives—particularly in underserved communities that suffer the worst from power losses—and in the long term to map where the grid needs to be modernized. “Our project was funded the exact same day the White House put out a call to action to improve outage data, so it is clear this project is meeting an urgent national need,” Stokes said. “In the absence of voluntarily provided outage data from utility providers, satellite data is our best hope in getting actionable insights to enable an effective disaster response.”
The Kuno Award was presented on Tuesday March 14, in Washington DC where Dr. Stokes and her team were honored.
Founded in 1969, under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences at the request of the U.S. Government, the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) is a non-profit corporation chartered to advance space-related science, technology and engineering. As an integrated partner, USRA facilitates and amplifies partnerships between universities, the government and industry focusing on targeted activity for the purpose of planning and conducting future multidisciplinary research. It also operates scientific institutes and facilities, manages major research and educational programs. For more information visit www.usra.edu.
About S&R Evermay
Founded in 2000 by Dr. Sachiko Kuno and Dr. Ryuji Ueno, S&R Evermay, originally S&R Foundation, is a 50l(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. Its mission is to promote transformative societal impact for this generation and the next. We encourage individuals in the greater Washington, DC area, and other strategic locations, to collaboratively develop innovative solutions to real-world problems. For more information, visit, https://www.sandrevermay.org/