Wyoming Researcher Awarded $500,000 for Wildfire Study
An assistant professor at the University of Wyoming will receive a grant this year to help fund her studies of wildfire emissions and how they change the atmosphere.
Erica Belmont will receive $525,238 over five years for her project, titled “CAREER: Bridging the Gap from Biomass Burning and Wildfires to Atmospheric Pollutants,” through the Faculty Early Career Development Program award from the National Science Foundation.
Belmont works in the Department of Engineering and her areas of expertise include combustion, solid fuels, alternative fuels, renewable energy, and experimentation.
The Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems within the National Science Foundation recommended Belmont for the award.
According to the National Science Foundation website, the Faculty Early Career Development Program offers awards "in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education."
Belmont's research could influence future forest management decisions and climate modeling.
The research is to be conducted in Laramie, but Belmont tells UW News that she does anticipate some travel for field tests, collaboration with other institutions, and public outreach, which is including in the award funds.
“I will participate in high school summer outreach programs at UW, and incorporate the subject matter and findings of our research into my teaching in these programs,” Belmont said.
Belmont has a research team at the university called the Belmont Energy Research Group that currently focuses on topics like biomass utilization and renewable crops for developing countries.