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Assistant Professor of Economics David Timmons is one of three UMass Boston faculty members to receive Fulbright awards for 2017-2018.
July 4, 2017

UMass Boston faculty members honored with Fulbright Awards


  • Boston
Faculty to Teach, Conduct Research in Brazil, Mauritius, Portugal

Three UMass Boston faculty members have received awards from the Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program for 2017-2018: David Timmons, assistant professor of economics, Emilio Sauri, associate professor of English, and Robert Brock, adjunct faculty in the School for the Environment. 

Timmons, whose classes at UMass Boston are focused on environmental economics, will be researching renewable energy and sustainable development on the island nation of Mauritius starting this summer. Mauritius has a program called Maurice Ile Durable – Sustainable Mauritius – that lays out sustainable goals for a country where virtually everything is imported.

“This is something I’ve been working on for the last couple of years and so Mauritius represents a case study,” Timmons said. “What would a renewable energy system for the island look like? The biggest question is around intermittency– the sun doesn’t shine at time, and the wind doesn’t blow predictively, so how do we put together a system in the least costly way that is adequate for any conditions?”

Timmons will be bringing back what he learns to the UMass Boston Master Plan Sustainability Advisory Committee (MaPSAC). The group is working on a climate action plan for the university and aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050.

“It’s an honor of course,” Timmons said about winning the Fulbright award. “I’m very happy to have been selected. It’s one of those things you don’t expect to happen, but when it does, it’s wonderful.”

Brock started teaching at UMass Boston during the spring 2017 semester, after retiring as a marine biologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in January. He leaves for the Portuguese Institute of Air and Water in Lisbon, Portugal — the Portuguese equivalent of NOAA — on September 1.

“My grandfather and great-grandfather were whalers on the island of Pico in the Azores and my grandfather came to America and was a commercial fisherman in Provincetown for 50 years,” Brock said. “This is something that personally was too interesting to pass up and professionally it’s going to be very interesting.”

Portugal is in the process of collecting data on its seamounts—underwater mountains.

“They want someone, i.e. me, to identify biological hotspots and to identify a sustainability plan and some areas that maybe should be protected throughout their seamount chain, which is what I’m going to do and hopefully complete before I leave,” Brock said.

Sauri will be teaching and doing research in São Paulo, Brazil from March to July 2018. He will investigate the production, consumption, and translation of Brazilian fiction since 1989 as part of a larger project looking at how recent history—from the end of the Cold War to the global financial crisis—has shaped contemporary Latin American novels. He’s also looking at what these novels can tell us about the present.

“São Paulo offers access to periodicals, journals, and even works of fiction that are not readily available in the U.S. Any effort to answer questions central to my larger project, however, will also require an understanding of the institutions that have shaped and managed the circulation of culture, and I am particularly interested in understanding how publishing houses, government agencies, and university programs have sought to position the Brazilian novel within the non-[Portuguese-speaking] world by means of translation work, funding, and sponsored awards,” Sauri said.

Sauri’s teaching schedule at the University of São Paulo is still being worked out, but it appears he will be teaching an undergraduate course on American literature and a graduate course on literary theory.

“This is an initiative fully supported by our Office of Global Programs and its efforts to build stronger ties between the U.S. and Brazil, as exemplified by the creation of the Tiradentes Institute at UMass Boston and the Memorandum of Understanding we recently signed with the University of São Paulo. For this reason, I’m especially interested in applying my experience in Brazil toward the development of new course offerings and study abroad opportunities,” Sauri said.