ICIMOD participates through SERVIR Himalaya in the NASA DEVELOP programme, giving the opportunity of interns throughout the HKH region to do applied research on environmental topics using Earth Observation and to collaborate with NASA. DEVELOP is unique in that young professionals lead research projects that focus on utilizing NASA Earth observations to address community concerns and public policy issues. With the competitive nature and growing societal role of science and technology in today’s global workplace, DEVELOP is fostering an adept corps of tomorrow’s scientists and leaders.
DEVELOP bridges the gap between NASA Earth Science and society, building capacity in both participants and partner organizations to better prepare them to handle the challenges that face our society and future generations.
Within the NASA-SERVIR Himalaya project, since October 2012 we are participating in the NASA-SERVIR-DEVELOP partnership.
ICIMOD hosts the NASA - SERVIR Himalaya internship program and has so far participated in three terms. During these ten week terms, interns produce a technical report, poster, brochure and a video on a Research topic related to Agriculture, Climate, Disasters, Ecological Forecasting, Energy, Health and Air Quality, Oceans, Water Resources or Weather. The work is done working in a team with multiple locations, typically representing one or two of ICIMOD member countries and the US.
In this context, three students: Laxmi Thapa, Florencia Matina Tuladhar and Eliza Shrestha from Kathmandu University started as the first batch of DEVELOP interns in Fall 2012. Their topic of research was the development of a Climate Change vulnerability index, using socio-economic, bio-physical and satellite derived data. For this research, they were receiving guidance form resource persons from the Marshall Space Flight Center / National Space Science and Technology Center in Alabama, as well as from advisors of the Global Hydrology and Climate Center (GHCC) and the University of Georgia.
Their effort was very successful as their video was awarded with the "grand prize" in the Earthzine fall virtual poster session. For the video please see: http://www.earthzine.org/2012/11/27/climate-change-vulnerability-in-nepal-using-nasa-eos/
During the term organized in Spring 2013 (March-April-May), the same three interns: Laxmi Thapa, Florencia Tuladhar and Eliza Shrestha participated with different intern-colleagues based in the US. Their work was building upon the initial term on the climate change vulnerability index for NepalNepal that included NDVI imagery analysis for vegetation greenness and vulnerability prediction for the 2050s. Also, satellite rainfall estimation was compared with ground based measurements to find their level of correlation. The Spring 2013 term video was awarded with the runner up position in the Earthzine competition. Please see: Developing a Climate Change Vulnerability Index for Nepal Using NASA EOS Data.
In June 2013, we started the third DEVELOP internship term, with two interns from Bangladesh, Ms. Labiba Farhana and Mr. Shishir Sarker, and two interns from Nepal, Ms. Rukumani Rimal and Mr. Nabin Paudel. From the United States we have participation and guidance from the Marshall Space Flight Center / National Space Science and Technology Center in Alabama. Also, from the DEVELOP head office in Washington DC the interns can consult their NASA-DEVELOP Science advisor, Dr. Kent Ross. The topic of research is related to Protected Area management in Bangladesh, making use of Earth Observation and geospatial tools.