MIT establishes Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab

Updated 07 May 2014

MIT establishes Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab

MIT establishes Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab (J-WAFS) to focus and coordinate MIT efforts to help find sustainable solutions for the scarcity of worldwide water and food supplies
In a statement, MIT announced the establishment of Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab (J-WAFS) to ensure availability of the world’s food and water supply for the 21st century. MIT announced that J-WAFS will spearhead research and scientific applications that will help humankind adapt to a rapidly changing planet and combat world-wide water scarcity and food supply. In addition, the lab will elevate the Institute’s commitment to address the collective pressure of population growth, urbanization, and climate variability — factors that endanger food and water systems in developing and developed countries alike.
“Ensuring sustainable and affordable access to food and water for all is one of the most pressing challenges facing humanity,” said MIT President L. Rafael Reif.
“Establishing J-WAFS will spur action at MIT and around the world to make real progress on acute food and water insecurity as well as energize MIT’s efforts to tackle the broadest questions about how we ensure sustainability,” he said.
“This extraordinary commitment is an investment in the health and future of the planet that will benefit people worldwide, and we are extremely grateful to Mohammed Jameel.”
Commenting on the establishment of J-WAFS, Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel said: “Currently, an estimated 1 billion people lack reliable access to water, and 2 billion suffer chronic hunger or malnutrition. World population is projected to grow from about 7 billion today to 9 billion by 2050. The acute problems already before us will only intensify with rising population.”
He said: “It is the mission of this lab to develop solutions on a grand scale. Toward that end, I have challenged the lab to set the goal of reaching half a billion people by 2025.”
“I was lucky to have studied at MIT, where I witnessed firsthand how MIT uses science, technology, and scholarship to solve ‘real-world’ problems of global significance,” Jameel continued.
“The Lab will help find solutions to two of the biggest problems facing mankind; water and food are essential to life: without them mankind simply cannot survive. How will we find enough food to feed 2 billion more people by mid-century with an eventually declining agricultural footprint and water resources?“
Jameel said that they will seek to build cooperation relationships between J-WAFS and universities and scientific and research organizations in Saudi Arabia, Gulf and Arab and Muslim countries, which will help exchange experiences to address these historic challenges facing us all and help change the future now for generations to come.
J-WAFS will commence operations in September 2014. Because water and food systems, needs, and challenges are often specific to a particular country or region, the lab’s approach will emphasize solutions that vary by area of activity. And the lab will seek to develop broad-based approaches through a range of disciplines: urban planning and design, engineering and technology, climate and hydrology, and policy, economics, and social sciences.
A high number of MIT departments already have faculty addressing specific problems around food and water supply, according to John Lienhard, who will direct the lab as the Jameel Professor of Water and Food. One role for J-WAFS, he said, will be to organize these efforts by articulating “grand challenges.”
The overarching goal of the Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab will be to use science and technology in the context of sound policy to improve lives, both in the US and worldwide. In order to have the greatest impact, J-WAFS will draw on MIT’s particular strength in urban planning to tackle the pressing problems faced by cities.
The lab will also complement research thrusts within the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI), said Robert C. Armstrong, the director of MITEI and the Chevron Professor of Chemical Engineering.
Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJCI) is a dedicated supporter of research initiatives at MIT to improve lives around the world. In 2005, the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), was established as a research center at MIT’s economics department whose founders, Professor Esther Duflo and Professor Abhijit Banerjee, pioneered the use of randomized controlled trials to test the effectiveness of antipoverty programs in developing countries.
Today, J-PAL has seven offices worldwide, and 102 researchers working in 56 countries. 164 million people have been reached by policies found to be effective by J-PAL studies.
J-PAL is already spearheading two initiatives related to water and food security: the agricultural technology adoption initiative (which tests approaches to encourage adoption and productive use if agricultural technologies by small-scale farmers), and the urban services initiatives.
He has also supported D-Lab’s “scale-ups” program, which develops and helps commercialize affordable products for the poor.
Since 1994, he has supported dozens of students to complete their education at MIT through the Abdul Latif Jameel Toyota Endowed Scholarship Fund.
Most of these students are from developing countries.
Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel received his SB in civil engineering from MIT in 1978.
He is president of ALJ Community Initiatives (ALJCI), which helps to create tens of thousands of jobs annually, amongst other programs, in the Middle East and North Africa.


Automakers expect Trump will delay decision on imposing EU, Japan tariffs

Updated 13 November 2019

Automakers expect Trump will delay decision on imposing EU, Japan tariffs

  • Foreign companies are eager to highlight US investments to try to dissuade US president

Major automakers think US President Donald Trump will again this week push back a self-imposed deadline on whether to put up to 25 percent tariffs on national security grounds on imported cars and parts from the EU and Japan amid an ongoing trade war with China, five auto officials told Reuters.

The anticipated delay — expected to be announced later this week — comes as foreign automakers are eager to highlight US investments to try to dissuade Trump from using tariffs that they argue could cost US jobs.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said earlier this month tariffs may not be necessary. EU officials expect Trump to announce a six-month delay when he faces a self-imposed deadline this week. Trump in May delayed a decision on tariffs by up to 180 days as he ordered US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to pursue negotiations.

Lighthizer’s office recently asked many foreign automakers to provide a tally of investments they have made in the US, several auto industry officials told Reuters.

The White House and Lighthizer’s office declined to comment.

FASTFACTS

• US is considering 25 percent tariffs on national security grounds on imported cars and parts from the EU and Japan.

• President Donald Trump in May delayed a decision on tariffs by up to 180 days as he ordered US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to pursue negotiations.

On Wednesday, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican ally of Trump’s, plans to attend a groundbreaking at Volkswagen AG’s Chattanooga assembly plant where they will mark the beginning of an $800 million expansion to build electric vehicles and add 1,000 jobs. The high-profile event will also include remarks from Germany’s ambassador to the US.

VW announced the plan to begin producing EVs by 2022 in Tennessee in January.

Daimler AG said in late 2017 it planned to invest $1 billion to expand its manufacturing footprint around Tuscaloosa, Alabama, creating more than 600 jobs. Tariffs on Japan seem even less likely than the EU, experts say.

Japanese automakers and suppliers have announced billions of dollars in investments, most notably a $1.6 billion joint venture plant in Alabama by Toyota Motor Corp and Mazda Motor Corp.

Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signed a limited trade deal in September cutting tariffs on US farm goods, Japanese machine tools and other products.

Although the agreement does not cover trade in autos, Abe said in September he had received reassurance from Trump that the US would not impose auto tariffs on national security grounds. Lighthizer said the two countries would tackle cars in negotiations expected to start next April.

Stefan Mair, member of the executive board of the BDI German industry association, said a deal to permanently remove the threat of tariffs was needed. “The investments that are not being made are costing us the growth of tomorrow, even in sectors that are seemingly not affected,” he said.

Germany’s merchandise trade surplus with the US — $69 billion in 2018 — remains a sore point with the Trump administration as does Japan’s $67.6 billion
US trade surplus last year — with two-thirds of that in the auto sector.