UMD World Bank Workshop Builds International Relationships at ESSIC

The development of innovative applications derived from scientific findings are hopefully in route to becoming a reality, after experts interacted at the University of Maryland’s World Bank Workshop, hosted by the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC).

Acting as matchmaker for the day, UMD ESSIC / AOSC Professor Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm introduced representatives from the World Bank to ESSIC and partner researchers, in the hopes of creating future opportunities for collaboration.

“I thought it was going to go well and it went much better than I thought,” Miralles-Wilhelm said at the conclusion of the workshop.

Miralles-Wilhelm’s plan for the event was to provide researchers with a forum to present their work in a manner that promoted its impact-potential to World Bank representatives.

“These guys are not scientists. They’re interested in the applicability of science. So we focused our presentations on that part.” Miralles-Wilhelm said.

Having worked with the World Bank for more than two years, Miralles-Wilhelm was well aware of the organization’s resource and funding capabilities, which are necessary to deliver on global projects.

The day-long workshop included eight presentations from 10 researchers, who spoke on topics ranging from remote sensing for water resources management, remote sensing observations of droughts and water scarcity, and water-energy-food nexus modeling.

As Executive Director of the ESSIC-administered NOAA Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites (CICS), Miralles-Wilhelm himself was impressed by the breadth of information presented.

“I learned a lot.  Even though these are people I see quite frequently. I learned quite a bit about what they’re doing,” Miralles-Wilhelm said.

Presentations such as Professor Raghu Murtugudde’s discussion of monsoon forecasts and substance watershed management in India and Professor Xin-Zhong Liang’s explanation of the Climate-Weather Research Forecasting model and its use in China, demonstrated the international scope of the workshop.

Miralles-Wilhelm stated in fact, that one of the other main reasons he initiated the workshop was to expand global relationships.

“One of my motivations since I’ve been here [at ESSIC] is to get us to do more international work,” Miralles-Wilhelm said.

An expert hydrologist and water resources engineer, Miralles-Wilhelm works with the World Bank on their “Thirsty Energy Initiative,” which links water and energy together.

During his time with the organization he has worked in China, South Africa and most recently, Brazil.

The workshop may in fact pay immediate dividends for Miralles-Wilhelm himself, as he says he might wish to utilize tools presented by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Joint Global Change Research Institute’s Dr. Katherine Calvin and Dr. Mohamed Hejazi for an ongoing project in Brazil.

As the presentation portion of the workshop came to a close, Miralles-Wilhelm invited experts to participate in an open forum regarding the application of the data they discussed throughout the day.

“I want to hear from you.  What are your pressing needs?  What would you like to do if you had the right team of people?” Miralles-Wilhelm asked the workshop attendees.

Hopefully, those closing interactions laid a solid foundation for building new and varied organizational collaborations in the future.