The AT&T Foundation, the charitable philanthropy organization of AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), recently awarded Georgia Southern University a $25,000 environmental research grant and designated Dr. Wei Tu an AT&T Faculty Fellow in Industrial Ecology. He is one of only three academic researchers selected to receive funding from the 2006 competitive grants program.
Tu, an assistant professor in the College of Science and Technology at Georgia Southern University, was awarded the fellowship for his proposal “Integrating Structural Economics Approaches and Geographic Information Systems to Study Substitution Information for Energy.”
His research will derive policy lessons focused on the long-term environmental impacts of information sectors and products in the information age. The fellowship will fund research to be conducted during 2007.
“In the information economy, information is ubiquitous, abundant and low-cost,” Tu said. “Theoretically, information can also be an indirect production factor to substitute for other factors — such as energy — during the production process, but there is a lack of empirical studies on this. My project will investigate the substitution between energy and information sectors of the U.S. regional economy during the 1990s. I am grateful to AT&T for their support of my research.”
“Georgia Southern University is a valuable asset to this region,” state Rep. Bob Lane said. “This award is an enormous achievement for Dr. Tu, and it is a great day for Georgia as we celebrate his accomplishments.”
"Research is important for a teaching institution and gives students an opportunity to see the practical side of theories,” state Sen. Jack Hill said. “The AT&T Foundation is to be commended for recognizing the potential of Dr. Tu's research and providing this very generous grant.”
AT&T has contributed to research on industrial ecology — a multidisciplinary science that investigates how the economy and the environment can coexist — by mentoring graduate and undergraduate students in the field, as well as by providing three faculty fellowships annually through the AT&T Foundation.
The program was designed to advance the development of work in environmental fields and to help universities produce faculty and students who can contribute to solving global and regional environmental problems and who can help shape environmentally and economically efficient strategies.
“This is an important field, and we are delighted to progress the study by providing fellowships to universities and their professors,” said Sylvia Anderson, president of AT&T Georgia. “We’re proud to support research, such as Dr. Tu’s, that will contribute to sustainable and economically efficient approaches for our business and others.”
Environmental concerns today are the subject of national, regional and individual attention. Environmentally preferable services, the substitution of information for other inputs into the economy (e.g., energy and materials), design for the environment, green products and green manufacturing processes are central to lasting solutions.