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STEPS Emerging Research Showcase

Professor Natalie Nelson presenting her work

Join us at the STEPS Emerging Research Showcase!

At this Emerging Research Showcase event, we’ll focus on the new NSF Science and Technology Center led by NC State: the Science and Technologies for Phosphorus Sustainability (STEPS) Center. The STEPS Center is a convergence research community of diverse and leading scientists that addresses the complex challenges in phosphorus sustainability by integrating disciplinary contributions across the physical, life, social, and economic sciences. The STEPS vision is to facilitate a 25% reduction in human dependence on mined phosphates and a 25% reduction in losses of point and non-point sources of phosphorus to soils and water resources within 25 years, leading to enhanced resilience of food systems and reduced environmental damage.


Tentative Agenda

  • 2:30 pm: Opening remarks, welcome, and introduction to the Center
  • 3:05 pm: Faculty research presentations
    • Rebecca Muenich, Assistant Professor in the the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, Arizona State University
    • Justin Baker, Associate Professor of Forestry and Environmental Resources, NC State University
    • Owen Duckworth, Professor of Crop and Soil Science, NC State University
    • Doug Call, Associate Professor of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, NC State University
    • Yaroslava Yingling, Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, NC State University
    • Jan Genzer, Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, NC State University
  • 3:50 pm: Break, transition to facilitated discussion
  • 4:05 pm: Interactive programming, Facilitated small group discussions
  • 5:00 pm: Refreshments and networking

At the event, we’ll hear brief research presentations from Center faculty describing the work being done within each STEPS Research Theme: Theme 1 (Materials Scale) generates new fundamental knowledge about phosphorus capture at atomic and molecular scales using discovery-driven approaches. Theme 2 (Human-Technology applies state-of-the-art scientific approaches including nanoscale spectroscopic characterization of phosphate speciation in soils, novel sensor development to improve tracking of phosphorus in soils, genome-wide approaches for selecting and engineering crop systems with enhanced phosphorus utilization, and development of next-generation, plant-responsive fertilizers. Theme 3 (Regional and Global Scale) identifies intervention portfolios that enable the realization of the 25-in-25 vision and are resilient to socio-economic, policy, and environmental change, using integrated modeling at global, regional, and local scales and social network analysis.

Following this Center faculty and staff will facilitate small group discussions. These discussions are designed to identify and define research gaps, potential future research directions, and opportunities to partner with the Center.

We look forward to seeing you on April 13! For those who are unable to travel to Raleigh for the event, you can attend virtually. Virtual registration is available via this link.

The Emerging Research Showcase (ERS) series gives you the opportunity to hear new research partnership opportunities. Productive outcomes from the events include, but are not limited to, sponsored research, defining commercialization potential, or adding an external research partner to the team.

Register for the in-person event

Register for the virtual event

Please contact Maude Cuchiara ( with any questions.

Support for this event is generously provided by Verdesian Life Sciences.