The catalyzing potential of J-WAFS seed grants


Gretchen Ertl

Gretchen Ertl

By Andi Sutton

“A seed grant for a risky idea that is mission-driven goes a long way.” 

These are the words of Fadel Adib, an associate professor of media arts and sciences and of electrical engineering and computer science and a 2019 recipient of a two-year seed grant from the Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems Lab (J-WAFS) at MIT. His work is in wireless sensing, where his research group has largely focused on developing fundamental technology. It is technology with a mission, however one that—until the J-WAFS seed grant—had largely focused on supporting human health and the environment, but not yet food. “I started with an early project applied to food, but the results were not enough to publish. When I saw the J-WAFS seed grant request for proposals I realized that this was a great way for [my research group] to expand our efforts in the food sector.” The resulting research project, a wireless sensor that uses RFID technology to measure the safety and nutritional quality of food and beverage products, has since inspired him and his research group to delve deeper into food-sector research, including exploring potential applications for sustainable aquaculture.

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