ECU-led team researches responses to rapid population growth

Dr. Samantha Mosier, associate professor of political science in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, will spend the next year serving as the principal investigator leading a team of 38 people from 14 universities, including ECU, on a National Science Foundation Centers for Research and Innovation in Science, the Environment and Society (CRISES) award. The interdisciplinary group includes researchers from the social sciences, engineering, natural sciences and life sciences. In her role, Mosier will organize the group’s activities through the planning process and aid in the collaborative effort to establish a research center.

Dr. Samantha Mosier

Dr. Samantha Mosier, associate professor of political science. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

“It’s exciting and an honor. This program award offers our team the opportunity to explore approaches to research and outreach on an important and pressing challenge,” Mosier said.

“Eastern North Carolina is a changing region. We experienced rapid growth during the pandemic and continue to see an increase in the number of new residents to this region and the state. While not all areas have grown, there are significant challenges to managing growth, especially in areas that are more susceptible to natural disasters and environmental pressures,” she said. “Our planning efforts are intended to help identify a roadmap for how researchers can study this issue and help communities where needed and appropriate.”

Researchers at ECU, who will receive approximately $80,000 in funding, will examine communities experiencing rapid population growth in North Carolina and the associated environmental, economic and social policy responses.

Planning activities will include a series of meetings, two workshops and field learning opportunities. Mosier said the group’s first workshop will be held in December, with the second to occur in 2024. Field learning opportunities will be in North Carolina, where the entire team of researchers will learn about changing community dynamics in the Asheville-Boone Appalachian corridor and the Southport, Kure Beach and Bald Head Island area.

“Our goal is to develop an effective organizational design for a future Center for Resiliency in Rapidly Developing Communities,” Mosier said. “This means we are working to develop a mission statement, strategic goals and objectives, key positions and personnel needed, scope of research and outreach activities, and mechanisms to build a solid network of academic researchers and community partners to provide timely and consequential assistance to improving outcomes for communities.”

Mosier said it would be wonderful if the team could submit a full proposal for the research center and receive an award to carry out the center-based research activities during the next year.

Read more about the $1.4 million CRISES award.