Multidisciplanary research for public transformations
Below you will find a list of the research projects our group is currently working on. You will find a rich collection of multidisciplinary projects on various areas of public life: climate change, energy, security, technology, economic development and more.
DEVELOPING A ROBUST WATER STRATEGY FOR MONTERREY, MEXICO
Diversification and Adaptation for Coping with Climate, Economic, and Technological Uncertainties
This study uses novel quantitative techniques to help Monterrey’s water planning community to define a robust, adaptive water management strategy that includes near-term investments to expand the capacities of the system and make it more efficient while monitoring future water demand and climate conditions to inform expansions in the coming years. This plan is consistent with the intuition and previous analysis of local stakeholders regarding the need to expand the supply capacities of the current system while being mindful of the significant uncertainties about the future. The study shows that this adaptive strategy significantly reduces the latent vulnerabilities present in the current system.
THE BENEFITS AND COSTS OF DECARBONIZING COSTA RICA'S ECONOMY
Informing the Implementation of Costa Rica's National Decarbonization Plan Under Uncertainty
Costa Rica's National Decarbonization Plan (NDP) sets the ambitious goal for the country to become carbon-neutral by 2050 and lays out a wide range of policy and institutional reforms to achieve this goal. This study developes an integrated model that estimates the benefits and costs of implementing the NDP in all major sectors, informed by consultations with numerous government agencies, industries, and nongovernmental organizations. The analysis suggests that under the vast majority of plausible assumptions about the future, the NDP would achieve or nearly achieve its greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals and do so at a net economic benefit.
OPTIONS TO ACHIEVE CARBON NEUTRALITY IN CHILE
An assessment under uncertainty
The study consisted of several stages. First, a participatory process was held in conjunction with key stakeholders from civil society, private sector, public sector, academia and multilateral agencies, to operationalize the decision-making context.
Next, an integrated model for evaluating future GHG emissions was developed, considering the range of transformations required in each of these sectors and their macroeconomic impact. This model explores different assumptions about the future which reflect the concerns of these stakeholders, and proposes inputs for a more robust carbon-neutrality strategy for Chile.
DATA SCIENCE FOR SOCIAL GOOD
Matching jobseekers with interventions to improve employment outcomes in Portugal
Unemployment is a big challenge, globally. For unemployed, there are consequences related to their physical and psychological well-being, especially when job searching is demanding.
One of the barriers that hinders job candidates’ ability to find a job is a mismatch between the individual’s skills and the skills required by the available jobs. Currently, Job counsellors who work at the Public employment services provide service users with recommendations for an intervention. This is typically done by selecting an intervention from a large list of potential interventions, in a limited amount of time based on counselors’ past experience. Overall, there is little, if any, understanding on how different interventions impact the probability of finding a job, and how different individuals may benefit from them.
We are partnering with the public employment service in Portugal to augment the work of IEFP job counsellors by providing personalised and relevant intervention and job recommendations, taking into account contextual information about the individuals’ desires and restrictions and their socio-economic context. These recommendations will assist with the collaborative process of building an action plan and ultimately help job seekers find suitable employme
URBAN SPRAWL IN MONTERREY
Computational tools for urban planning
This project investigates the process of urban sprawl in Monterrey, quantifying the amount of land consumed and delving into the cost estimation of this pattern of urbanization for the public finances of the city. The project oversees the causes and consequences of urban sprawl in Mexico
CHARACTERIZATION OF ENERGY VULNERABILITY IN MONTERREY, MEXICO
Partners: Naturgy Mexico and Fundación Naturgy, PI: Dr. Zeus Guevara
The phenomenon of energy vulnerability is considered one of the greatest challenges for humanity, as recognized by the Sustainable Development Goals. However, in Mexico, it is limitedly studied and addressed. In collaboration with Fundación Naturgy, we performed an exploratory study to understand the level of energy vulnerability in Monterrey so to gain insights into future solutions. To do so, we designed a novel theoretical-methodological framework of energy vulnerability that supported the implementation of an in-person household survey of residential homes located in the downtown area. The results showed that most dwellings are mainly vulnerable due to energy costs, as they on average spent more than 10% of their income on energy (a fact conventionally referred to as energy poverty). Moreover, these households presented a significant degree of vulnerability with respect to other dimensions of the phenomenon due to, e.g., unconservative energy consumption behavior or an inefficient technological base. Despite energy vulnerability does not seem to be such a serious problem in Monterrey (except regarding affordability), it can have significant negative effects on its sustainable development.
ENERGY VULNERABILITY PROGRAM IN MEXICO
AECID, AMEXCID, PNUD, Mexico City Government, Digital Coaster and Fundación Naturgy, PI: Dr. Zeus Guevara
The first phase of the project aims to implement social actions in the municipality Gustavo A. Madero in Mexico City to identify, address and reduce energy vulnerability of economically and socially marginalized households. Among the first social actions to implement are energy technology rehabilitation interventions in homes, individual support of volunteers in energy-related problems and delivery of energy education workshops with a focus on efficiency and conservative consumption. This first phase will conclude by the third quarter of 2022, and it is expected that its results allow the deployment of the project nation-wide.