Past Events

Sustainable Space Research Grand Challenge Workshop 

Monday, April 29, 8:30am-1:30pm 
UNM Student Union Building Acoma A&B

For those interested in collaborating with others in the wide and growing field of space research and technology who would like to hear more about what is happening here in New Mexico. 

The workshop will begin with morning presentations by community members who are working in space-related research, commerce, arts and education, followed by smaller group discussions about how we can coordinate our efforts to further develop New Mexico into a center for space-science exploration and innovation excellence. 

This workshop is presented by the Sustainable Space Research team.

Fueling a Fair & Just Energy Future: Learning from Colorado’s Office of Just Transition & the Transition from Fossil Fuel Communities

Thursday, April 11, 2024 at 4 p.m.
UNM Student Union Building, Mirage/Thunderbird (3rd Floor)

Wade Buchanan, Director of the Colorado Office of Just Transition, will discuss the work of one of the first state-level agencies in the country focused on helping communities successfully transition away from economies dependent on fossil fuels.

Colorado created the Office of Just Transition in 2019 to assist workers and communities that will be adversely affected by the loss of jobs and revenues due to the closure of coal mines and coal-fired power plants. Its purpose is to help workers transition to new, high-quality, jobs, to help communities continue to thrive by expanding and attracting diverse businesses, and to replace lost revenues.

This presentation is the first in a speaker series by the Just Transition to Green Energy Grand Challenge team.

Planetary Sample Science Seminar Series (Spring 2024)

This seminar series on the study of materials from the Moon and other planetary bodies is organized by the CASA Moon node of SSERVI and is sponsored by SSERVI, the Institute of Meteoritics of the University of New Mexico (UNM), and the Sustainable Space Research Grand Challenge team.

Wednesdays (January 31 - April 24, 2024) at 11AM Mountain Time (10AM Pacific, 12PM Central, and 1PM Eastern)

Attend live at UNM Northrop 340 or via the virtual meeting

Meeting password: UbgFMRB?483 (82436720 from phones and video systems)

Weekly seminar speakers and titles

International Conference on Frailty and Sarcopenia Research

The Successful Aging Grand Challenge team is the local organizing committee for an international conference on frailty and sarcopenia (ICFSR) that will be held in at the Hotel Albuquerque Old Town March 20-22, 2024.

Grand Challenges Level 2 Team Retreat

A retreat for the three recently funded Level 2 teams will be held on March 8, 2024 in the UNM Student Union Building. Registration will close on February 23; please contact Grand Challenges for the registration link.

Lobo Living Room: Moon Exploration & Developing A Space Economy

Date: 1/24/2024
Time: 5:15 PM to 8:00 PM

Location: PAÍS Building, Room 1100

210 Yale Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM 87106

Join Sustainable Space team convenorDr. Charles “Chip” Shearer as he presents about how space exploration has entered a renaissance with humans reaching out beyond the edge of our Solar System and seeking to explore the Moon and build an Earth-Moon space economy.Grand Challenges Level 2 Team Retreat

Grand Challenges Day

September 14, 2023 (9 a.m. - 5 p.m. - SUB)

Grand Challenges Kickoff

September 1, 2022 (12 p.m. - 2 p.m. - SUB Ballrooms B & C)

  • Human Rights Research: Basic Needs in Higher Education
The first meeting was held via Zoom at 4 p.m. on March 8th

The Grand Challenges Program invites you to join in a conversation about research that addresses human rights challenges in higher education.

Preliminary research results regarding food and housing insecurity are garnering considerable attention at the state level including at the legislative and policy level. Addressing the basic needs of higher education students is a national-level problem that requires an interdisciplinary approach to truly understand and address this challenge.

Please join us for discussions about the teams’ current work and future possibilities to collaborate. Researchers and creative artists from all disciplines and across all UNM campuses are welcome and encouraged.

  • Improving STEM Education and STEM Education Research

    The first meeting will be held via Zoom from 12-1 on Wednesday, March 9th

The Grand Challenges Program invites you to join in a conversation about STEM Education challenges and STEM Education Research.

From Quantum Sciences to resiliency against climate changes to securing our national defense, strong and effective pathways into STEM careers are necessary to support our state economy and to assure that our students have access to good jobs now and into the future. We are seeking to bring together researchers and faculty from across disciplines to discuss interdisciplinary research opportunities addressing this challenge in our state and country.

Please join us for discussions about the teams’ current work and future possibilities to collaborate. Faculty, post-docs, researchers, and creative artists from all disciplines and across all UNM campuses are welcome and encouraged.

  • Rio Grande Research Collaborative 2020 Webinar Series
    Join us for these great webinars, every other Wednesday from 1:00 - 2:00 PM

      • SEPTEMBER 9: Rio Grande Research Collaborative Overview
        Facilitator: Melinda Morgan - UNM Sustainability Studies

      • SEPTEMBER 23: Introduction to the Rio Grande Watershed
        Speaker: Dagmar Llewellyn - U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

      • OCTOBER 7: Rio Grande Water Fund: New Paradigm for Watersheds
        Speaker: Collin Haffey - The Nature Conservancy

      • OCTOBER 21: Intro to Transdisciplinarity, Part I
        Facilitator: Melinda Morgan - UNM Sustainability Studies

      • NOVEMBER 4: Intro to Transdisciplinarity, Part II
        Facilitator: Melinda Morgan - UNM Sustainability Studies

      • NOVEMBER 18: National Science Foundation Convergent Research Design
        Speaker: TBA

      • DECEMBER 2: Developing a Rio Grande Research Collaborative
        Facilitator: Barbara Cosens - Univ. of Idaho


  • World River Day Webinar

    27th September 2020, 2- 4 pm CEST

    UNM Professor Emerita, Basia Irland, will be presenting during the international webinar to celebrate World Rivers Day.

  • Join us for the Fall 2020 Grand Challenges Welcome Back Event.
    We will hear updates from the Challenge team leaders, including exciting plans for the coming year. Learn how to become more engaged with UNM’s Grand Challenges research and education activities.

    Tuesday, September 1, 2020, 11:00 am to Noon

    Click here to see the recorded event

  • 2020 Henry Darcy Distinguished Lecturer Presentation

    Tuesday, February 25, 2020. 4:00 – 5:00 pm, Centennial Engineering Center, Room 1041

    "Hydrology from the Bottom Up: How Groundwater Shapes the Water Cycle"

    Dr. Reed Maxwell
    Colorado School of Mines

  • “Contingency Management for Alcohol Disorder: Motivating Change from the Outside In”

    March 3rd, 2020 (Tuesday), 11:00AM – 12:30PM , 2650 Yale SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106, CASAA Classroom (1st floor)
    MORE INFO: Check out our dedicated Guest Lecture Series website or email

    Dr. McDonell is a clinical psychologist with over 20 years of experience developing, testing, and implementing strength-based interventions for people with addiction and mental illness in community settings. He has led multiple NIH funded studies demonstrating that incentives can be used to reduce alcohol and drug use in individuals living with co-occurring serious mental illness. He also leads efforts to test incentive interventions in collaboration with American Indian and Alaska Native communities. The presentation is open to the public and all interested faculty, students, and community members are encouraged to attend.

    Dr. Michael McDonell
    Associate Professor, Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, and Director of Behavioral Health Innovations, Washington State University

  • The mountain water tower: Improving how we measure snow volume and runoff processes

    Wednesday, February 19, 2020. 2:00 – 2:30 pm, Cochiti Room, 3rd Floor Student Union Building
    Join us for coffee and snacks with one of UNM’s Grand Challenge researchers. Among the questions we will explore: How do UNM researchers identify specific problems to tackle? How do they design their research, and frame questions? What have they discovered so far, and how do they know these discoveries are important? How do they communicate their discoveries?

    Over a billion people worldwide rely on snow as a water resource. Dr. Webb will discuss recent advancements in techniques to quantify how much water is stored in a mountain snowpack and how it makes its way to our rivers and aquifers.

    Ryan Webb, PhD
    UNM Research Assistant Professor
    Civil, Construction & Environmental Engineering

  • Self-help got you into this mess, mutual-help may get you out: NIH findings on the benefits of mutual-help programs for problem drinkers.

    Tuesday, January 28, 2020. 11:30-Noon, Cochiti Room, 3rd Floor Student Union Building
    Join us for coffee and snacks with one of UNM’s Grand Challenge researchers. Among the questions we will explore: How do UNM researchers identify specific problems to tackle? How do they design their research, and frame questions? What have they discovered so far, and how do they know these discoveries are important? How do they communicate their discoveries?

    Dr. Tonigan will discuss an evidence-based review of the relative benefits of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) attendance for people with alcohol problems. Integrating the findings of his NIH-funded research Dr. Tonigan will first identify the prescribed AA behaviors and practices that predict drinking reductions followed by a discussion of the underlying mechanisms accounting for these benefits. Challenges for studying AA and other mutual help programs will be presented and common myths about mutual help programs will be addressed.

    Scott Tonigan, PhD
    Research Professor, Department of Psychology, University of New Mexico; Interim Director, Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Addictions; Chair, UNM main campus Institutional Review Board (IRB)

  • Colloquium to Meet the Candidate

    Monday, November 25th. 9:30-10:30 am, Student Union Building (SUB), Fiesta A &B.
    Join us for a colloquium to meet Dr. Elizabeth D'Amico, a candidate for Director of the UNM Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Addictions (CASAA). The title of Dr. D'Amico's presentation will be "20 Years of Community Based Research: Sowing the Seeds of Change."

    Dr. D'Amico is a senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation and a licensed clinical psychologist. Dr. D'Amico is recognized nationally for her work developing, implementing, and evaluating interventions for adolescents. She is a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) and has evaluated several Motivational Interviewing interventions with adolescents and young adults in a variety of settings. She recently developed and tested a group intervention for urban Native American adolescents that integrated MI and traditional healing practices. She also has conducted epidemiological work to examine predictors and consequences of adolescent substance use and is the principal investigator of a large longitudinal study that examines substance use patterns over 14 years among youth from sixth grade through age 24.

  • Sustainable Water Resources Fall 2019 Workshop

    Tuesday November 12, 2019 (9 am to 12 pm) in Rm 1000 in Farris Engineering Center
    Join us for a half-day workshop to organize teams to formulate research ideas for the following targeted funding opportunities.

    Help us think of innovative ways to train the next generation of scientists to tackle water related issues, using an interdisciplinary approach. NSF Research Traineeship (NRT)
    -Lead: Marcy Litvak and Jenn Rudgers; Facilitator: Jennifer Kavka; Letter of Intent due 12/6/2019, Full Proposal due 2/6/2020; $5M

    Help prepare for the next solicitation for NSF’s Sustainable Urban Systems Research Centers program. We will further develop the urban-rural connections theme discussed at an NSF-funded workshop hosted at UNM in August. NSF Sustainable Urban Systems/Sustainability Research Networks Competition (SRN)
    -Lead: Mark Stone; Facilitator: Carman Melendrez

    Let’s strategize on how to address a NEW program from NSF that investigates questions that span multiple disciplines within and beyond biology. NSF Biology Integration Institutes (BII)
    -Lead: Tom Turner; Facilitator: Stephanie Tofighi; Letter of Intent due 12/20/2019, Full Proposal due 2/6/2020; $12.5M

    Help us explore ways to better integrate science into the socio-environmental system that is New Mexico water law and management. NSF CNH2: Dynamics of Integrated Socio-Environmental Systems (CNH2)
    -Lead: Adrian Oglesby; Facilitator: Mary Jo Daniel; Letter of Intent due 9/17/2020, Full Proposal due 11/15/2020; $150k to $1.6M

    Our goal is to form collaborative teams for specifically targeted funding opportunities by the end of the workshop. We will focus on the four funding opportunities listed above. However, if you have another opportunity to bring to the group’s attention that will support the Grand Challenge, please bring it to the workshop. We are actively promoting new collaborative networks on UNM campus, so this is highly encouraged.

  • Successful Aging Synergy Meeting

    Wednesday, June 5, 2019, 1:00PM – 2:30 PM, CTSC Main Conference Room, 2nd Floor
    The CTSC-sponsored Synergy meetings are designed to enhance UNM's translational mission. The series will bring together basic, clinical and translational researchers, and shared resource directors to advance projects from bench to bedside and to promote the application of UNM technology to clinical and translational investigations. The next Synergy meeting will be held Wednesday, June 5, 2019 from 1:00 – 2:30 PM in the CTSC Main Conference Room, 2nd Floor featuring lead conveners of the UNM Grand Challenge-selected proposal: Successful Aging. Through this Grand Challenge, UNM will leverage research and resources to shift the threshold of functional status at which a person can remain independent, allowing individuals to have the resources to age in place. To reach this goal, UNM will: engage senior residents in community activities to expand programs & services for vulnerable populations; support independent living (age in place); create lifelong education opportunities; address quality of life disparities; innovate in basic science and technology to support senior safety and autonomy; and improve effectiveness to promote healthy aging in our state. Wednesday’s meeting will feature a presentation from Lead Convener: Janice Knoefel, MD. Professor, Internal Medicine, Neurology, School of Medicine.

  • Substance Use Disorders Seminar
    NIH Grant Writing 7-Week Seminar

    March 28 through May 6, 2019 at CASAA
    As a service to the UNM community, the Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Addictions (CASAA) is presenting a 7-week seminar offering a step-by-step approach to preparing a successful NIH research project grant (R01/R34/R21/R03) application. Special emphasis is placed on avoiding common pitfalls and capitalizing on newly-implemented NIH grant application guidelines. With over 30 years of experience obtaining NIH funding, co-instructors Drs. Tonigan and Houck will provide invaluable insight and tips on how to submit a winning grant application.

  • Substance Use Disorders Presentation
    Opioid Prescribing Trends, Patient Characteristics, & Associated Outcomes Among Youth in New Mexico

    May 9, 2019, 11:00am, Dominici Center North, Room 2740
    Melissa Pielech, UNM Department of Psychology, Brown University Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior

    Watch the recorded event..

  • Substance Use Disorder Guest Presentation
    Cost-effectiveness of extended-release naltrexone versus buprenorphine-naloxone to prevent opioid relapse

    Thursday, April 11, 11:00 am at CASAA
    Dr. Sean Murphy will present on Thursday April 11 at 11:00am, on “Cost-effectiveness of extended-release naltrexone versus buprenorphine-naloxone to prevent opioid relapse”. Dr. Murphy is an Associate Professor of Research in the Division of Comparative Effectiveness & Outcomes Research Department of Healthcare Policy & Research at Weill Cornell Medical College and is widely recognized for his work documenting the relative costs and benefits of alternative opiate replacement strategies for individuals struggling with opiate addiction. Currently, Dr. Murphy is supported by 11 active awards from the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

  • Substance Use Disorder Guest Presentation
    Identifying and intervening with self-control lapses: A focus on emotional intolerance and working memory capacity

    Friday, March 22, 11:00 am at CASAA
    Dr. Michael Otto will present on Friday, March 22 at 11:00am, on “Identifying and intervening with self-control lapses: A focus on emotional intolerance and working memory capacity”. Dr. Otto is a Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences and Senior Fellow at the Institute for Health System Innovation and Policy at Boston University. He has been identified as a “top producer” in the clinical empirical literature, with particular attention to investigating the brain-behavior relationships to treat individuals suffering with addiction as well as for health behavior promotion. Currently, Dr. Otto is supported by 5 active awards from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

  • Grand Challenges: Out of the Box Event

    February 22, 2019. 9:00 am in SUB Ballroom C
    Join us as we refine our approaches for tackling these three great challenges. You are invited to help us discuss and hone our Grand Challenges research and education plans. During this 90 minute interactive event, team leaders for each of the Challenges will present their goals, teams and plans, and will respond to audience questions. We will also utilize small group discussions to provide additional insights to the teams and the University regarding research suggestions, new partnerships to foster, and methods for leveraging these Challenges to enrich undergraduate and graduate learning at UNM.

    Learn More about the Out of the Box event

  • Grand Challenges RFP Question & Answer Sessions
    If you are planning to submit a Grand Challenges proposal, the first two weeks of January are crunch time. If you have last minute questions as you wrap up your proposals, please feel free to email, and we’d be happy to chat one-on-one by email, by phone or in person.
    We will also be hosting two online Grand Challenges RFP Question & Answer sessions during the week of January 7, 2019:
    January 8, 2019, 1:00-2:00 pm
    January 9, 2019, 10:30-11:30 am

  • Grand Challenge Convening: Challenging Structural Inequity in Education, Health and Wealth. Wednesday December 19th, 1:30pm - 3:30pm, Domenici North Wing 2720

  • Empowering Our STATE of Minds

    November 14, 2018 / 9:00am / SUB Ballroom C

    Research, innovation and collaboration are part of our institutional DNA. Increasingly, our peer-institutions are tapping into their research power to effect meaningful change for their communities - supporting policies and advocating investments that will revolutionize cities, states and the world. As our state's leading research institution, and the University for New Mexico, we will soon be contributing to these advancements through the pursuit of our own institutional Grand Challenges. The UNM Grand Challenges Initiative (GCI) is an opportunity to broaden our student and faculty perspectives and better serve New Mexico by providing opportunities to collaborate through interdisciplinary research and problem solving. We will launch this effort on Nov. 14 at 9 a.m. in SUB Ballroom C, with an introduction to our Grand Challenges Initiative, including facilitated discussion to determine broad areas of inquiry.