2023 Graduate Research Presentation Awards

Session I: Zhuoqi Helen Dong (Ph.D. IAST)

Military-Civil Fusion Policies in China – Challenges and Opportunities in Space

The development of Military-Civil Fusion (军民融合) is an important achievement of China’s long-term exploration of the coordinated development of economic construction and national defense construction. China believes that it is the only way to enrich the country and strengthen the armed forces. The development of Military-Civil Fusion has been elevated to be a part of China’s national grand strategy since the 18th CCP National Congress Meeting. The aerospace industry, as an important force supporting the construction of the national defense forces, promoting scientific and technological innovation, and serving economic and social development, is one of the most challenging and widely driving high-tech fields in the world today. Thus, making the integration of the aerospace industry with civil-military participation a more driving and exemplary role in China’s grand strategy in space. China implemented several policies since 2015 on Military-Civil Fusion and claims to have completed a preliminary construction of an innovation system for major aerospace projects. However, questions remain on the successful integration of policies, China’s authoritarian regime type, and the openness of aerospace research and production system. This paper aims to analyze the Military-Civil Fusion policy in China and its service to space. Specifically, to answer the question of how China approaches military-civil Fusion in service to space and identify potential gaps through a systematic review and analysis of Chinese policies. Additionally, I will propose alternative policy implications that are adaptable to China’s regime type and readiness of its domestic aerospace R&D system.

Session II: Kallysta Jones (M.S. ISEC)

To the Moon and Back: Terrestrial Teachings for the Future of Lunar Governance

With a plethora of spacefaring nations having a vested interest in returning to the Moon, a need for proper governance and an international framework pertaining to its resources has become increasingly crucial. In treaties dating back to the original space race between the United States and former Soviet Union, the Moon has always been emphasized as a celestial body that no entity can lay sovereign claim to. But it has come to be understood that the Moon can offer greatly beneficial resources for the advancement of science and human space exploration. A multitude of previously suggested frameworks have been examined for this research. The most suggested political process for lunar resources has been to take a multilateral approach with newly developed clauses where all involved abide by the same rules and agree to share pertinent information. One can see the difficulty of getting private and public spacefaring stakeholders to unanimously be on board. So, an angle of this research is to examine established terrestrial governance regimes concerning natural resources and sovereignty that have been successful. Case studies looking into the structure of regimes and treaties such as the Law of the Seabed, the settling of the American West, and the Antarctic Treaty System play a key role in our research. The goal is to analyze how the cases previously mentioned handled issues similar to those currently being posed by the Moon and if any of those solutions can be applied to Earth’s lunar neighbor and the future of space exploration.

Session III: Ricardo Martínez (M.S. GMC)

Flying with clipped wings – eBird and biases in citizen science

Citizen science projects are increasingly crucial for understanding global biodiversity, discovering new behaviors, and justifying conservation efforts. eBird, the largest ornithological citizen science project in the world, allows scientists to analyze data without needing to gather it in the field or request large grants to do so. By 2021, over 550 scientific publications have used eBird data, which is largely available for public use. Despite its many positive effects, eBird is not without its shortcomings. eBird media has a bias towards male birds in sexually dimorphic species, which leads to a poorer understanding of half of a species and furthers male-oriented biases in ornithology. Furthermore, eBird data in developing countries is often led by foreigners, which can exclude native birders and discourage participation in ornithology. Finally, eBird data is concentrated in wealthier countries, which leads to disproportionate data for conservation efforts.