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Inspiring the Next

Scientific Breakthroughs

Research and Development in Habitation

 

Our researchers seek for understanding of how to make human habitation systems more sustainable and resilient. Topics of research span the range from indoor environmental-control and life-support technology to utility infrastructure technology, from individual and family habitation architecture to urban planning architecture, from individual health and welfare needs to community health and welfare systems, from neighborhood dynamics to municipal governance, and more.

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Habitation

 

What started in human history as small groups of hunter-gatherers seeking shelter from danger in bomas and caves has evolved into the metropolitan areas of today. However, these gatherings of human society are now becoming places where the greatest threats to human survival can be found. Air pollution from low-efficiency transportation systems threatens human health. Under-managed solid waste covers streets and encroaches on living locations. Sea-level rise due to climate change displaces large segments of the population gradually by erosion of coastal land and suddenly by hurricanes and tsunamis. Economic collapse leads to abandonment and blight. Social unrest quickly follows, accompanied by a rise in crime and political corruption.

 

Today, people are concentrating more and more in high-density population centers. The challenge is…

  • Achieving the right balance of living spaces, municipal infrastructure, and natural environments

  • Supported by government institutions, public societies, and commercial interests

  • All at a size that can be supported economically, agriculturally, and environmentally

 

Not all habitation comes in large scale or with preexisting infrastructure. Many choose to live in small towns, in remote locations, and even in extreme climates and environments. Such locations have become more desirable to many trying to move away from metropolitan areas.

Research and Development in Agriculture

 

Our researchers seek a deeper understanding of how to make food systems more sustainable and resilient. Topics of research span the range from soil microbiomes to field ecologies, from monoculture to crop diversity, from personal-use food production to regional farming systems, from open-field farming to controlled-environment agriculture, from local farm-to-table initiatives to supply chains supported by imports, from personal nutrition to international food security, and more.

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Agriculture

 

The abundance of land and, later, fertilizer and technology, have enabled the human species to advance in many ways. However, the abundance and advancements have also resulted in inefficiencies in land use and food distribution. Mass production has resulted in depleted land and dwindling fertilizer resources. Climate change has created unseasonable weather patterns, resulting in crop failure and destruction. This has created a chain reaction of small farms going out of business, followed by the collapsed local economies in inner cities and rural towns, corporatized farming that shifts land resources toward cash crops, and geographically-challenged distribution systems and politically-charged supply chains that fail to get food from where it is abundant to where it is needed.

Today, human knowledge of agriculture and nutrition has never been greater. The challenge is…

  • Achieving the right balance of natural and technological farming tools and techniques

  • Supported by government institutions, public cooperatives, and commercial interests

  • All at a size that can be supported economically and environmentally

 

Not all agriculture comes in the form of commercial-scale, open-field farming. Many choose to grow their own food, participate in cooperative or community gardening, or invest in farms for a share of the produce. Farming is also innovating, with the growth of controlled environment agriculture and the use of hydroponics, aquaponics, and aeroponics. Such alternative approaches have become prevalent as traditional farming fails to meet all needs.

Research and Development in Biospherics

 

Our researchers seek for understanding of balancing human habitation and agriculture with the ecological buffers of the surrounding wildernesses, maintaining the health of all. Topics of research span the range from individual footprints to ecological service loads, from human health to environment health, from biogeochemical cycles to cycling system technologies, from biospheres to closed ecological systems, from local environmental initiatives to global-international efforts, from local environmental impacts to global climate change, and more.

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Biospherics

 

Earth environments have been a resource for human development and advancement over the course of human history. However, human history has not been kind to Earth. Even though Earth biomes have shown a remarkable ability to recover from human-driven disaster, as evident in environments like Chernobyl and in populations of animals such as the Blue Whale, many other indicators show no signs of reversal. Air pollution is extending far outside the suburban ring of metropolitan areas. Agricultural land is becoming depleted and unable to grow food without the use of large amounts of expensive fertilizer and genetically hybridized crops. Rivers are running dry and aquafer levels are dropping, even while demand for water is increasing. Earth’s climates are changing, endangering life as we know it.

Today, our knowledge of environmental functions and the state of our environment has never been greater. The challenge is…

  • Achieving the optimal ratios of land allocation to habitation, agriculture, and ecological buffer

  • Supported by government institutions, public cooperatives, and commercial interests

  • All in ways that can be supported economically

 

Not all environmental impacts are large scale. Recent history has revealed micro-phenomena. Sick buildings result from insufficient air cleanliness and replenishment systems. Antibiotic resistant bacteria result from practices of trying to eliminate bacteria. Repetitive and localized viral epidemics result from large percentages of populations living over-stressed lives with weakened immune systems. And yet these micro-phenomena are likely linked to macroscopic problems in our biospheres.

Research and Development in Health

Our researchers seek to understand the factors of human health that assure human survival in extreme environments. The Norfolk Institute seeks to enable research that provides a better understanding of the many aspects of human health including aging, trauma, psychology, disease and environmental impacts. Driven by the need to support astronaut health, several biological and human physiological investigations have yielded important results that can benefit us here on Earth. 

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Health

 

Human health factors span issues of nutrition, genetics, pollution, insect-born diseases, stress, and aging. Every 2 seconds someone aged 30 to 70 years dies prematurely from noncommunicable diseases - cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, diabetes or cancer. 7 million people die every year from exposure to fine particles in polluted air. 38 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2019. Each day, nearly 1,000 children die due to preventable water and sanitation-related diarrhea diseases. Globally, an estimated 295,000 maternal deaths occurred in 2017, resulting in an overall maternal mortality ratio of 211 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, a 4 per cent reduction compared with 2015 and a 38 per cent reduction compared with 2000. In 2018, an estimated 10 million persons fell ill with tuberculosis (89 per cent were adults, 63 per cent were men and 8.6 per cent were people living with HIV). Based on 2016 data, nearly 800,000 persons died every year by suicide, and 79 per cent of global suicides occurred in low- and middle-income countries.

Today, the span of human life expectancy varies greatly and results in different health concerns. The challenge is…

  • Addressing all factors affecting health

  • Supported by government institutions, public cooperatives, and commercial interests

  • All in ways that can be supported economically

 

As we fix the problems causing illness and disease associated with nutrition, pollution, and insect-born diseases, the problems of stress, genetics, and aging will become more prevalent.

Research and Development in Means

 

Our researchers seeks for understanding of how to provide to all humans equitable access to and distribution of resources that enable human resilience . Topics of research span our pillar areas of habitation, agriculture, biospherics, and health. As such, Means is the capstone of our pillars, the one that ensures resilience of the entire human species.

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Means

 

Means provides a path to democratization of human resilience to all members of the human species. As such, it is one of our most challenging pillars.

  • Current estimates are that nearly 690 million people are hungry, or 8.9 percent of the world population – up by 10 million people in one year and by nearly 60 million in five years.

  • In 2019, close to 750 million – or nearly one in ten people in the world – were exposed to severe levels of food insecurity.

  • An estimated 2 billion people in the world did not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food in 2019.

  • If recent trends continue, the number of people affected by hunger will surpass 840 million by 2030, or 9.8 percent of the global population.

  • 828 million people live in slums today and most them are found in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia.

  • 1 in 4 health care facilities lacks basic water services

  • 3 in 10 people lack access to safely managed drinking water services and 6 in 10 people lack access to safely managed sanitation facilities.

  • Water scarcity affects more than 40 per cent of the global population and is projected to rise. Over 1.7 billion people are currently living in river basins where water use exceeds recharge.

  • 2.4 billion people lack access to basic sanitation services, such as toilets or latrines

  • At least 400 million people have no basic healthcare, and 40 percent lack social protection.

  • More than 1.6 billion people live in fragile settings with protracted crises combined with weak national capacity to deliver basic health services.

  • By the end of 2017, 21.7 million people living with HIV were receiving antiretroviral therapy. Yet more than 15 million people are still waiting for treatment.

  • As many as 80 per cent of people living in rural areas in developing countries rely on traditional plant-­‐based medicines for basic healthcare.

  • 74 per cent of the poor are directly affected by land degradation globally.

  • Poor rural women depend on common forest resources and are especially affected by their depletion.

  • Around 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihood, including 70 million indigenous people.

  • The majority of the maternal deaths occur in low- and lower-middle-income countries, and roughly 66 per cent of them occur in sub-Saharan Africa.

Today, human means falls far short. The challenge is…

  • Increasing equitable access to and distribution of resources

  • Supported by government institutions, public cooperatives, and commercial interests

  • All in ways that can be supported economically

 

As we fix the problems lack of access and distribution, the average resilience of individuals, communities, countries, and continents will improve.

Research Pillars

Our pillars of research and development in human resilience require cross-disciplinary effort and large-scale solutions to address system-wide problems.

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Research Extension Themes

Our extension themes enhance research and development in our pillars with the application of advanced topics and technologies.

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Gene Editing

3D Scans

Life Extension

Roof Garden

Terraforming & Controlled Environments

3D Printer

Advanced Manufacturing Technologies

Laser Cutting

Advanced Construction Technologies

Robot Hand

Human Augmentation & Robotics

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Advanced Energy Technologies

Coding

Machine Intelligence

Satellite

Space Exploration Technologies

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Cryptocurrency & Blockchain