Funder: Academy of Medical Sciences
Grant scheme: Networking Grants -Stream 1: UK/Developed country network


The aim of this proposal is to establish a seven-country (UK, USA, Canada, Switzerland, China, India and South Korea) transdisciplinary consortium with researchers in multiple disciplines, practitioners and policymakers to investigate the global sand crisis.


PI: Professor Sheila M. Puffer, Northeastern University, USA
Sheila M. Puffer is University Distinguished Professor at Northeastern University, Boston, where she is a professor of international business and sustainability at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business. Her current research focuses the global sand crisis as well as sustainability and sand substitutes in the international construction industry. Recent publications have focused on awareness of the sand crisis, barriers and incentives to adopting sand substitutes, and green energy in fossil fuel multinationals. 
Dr Puffer has more than 170 publications, including over 80 refereed articles and 14 books. Her latest co-authored book, Hammer & Silicon: The Soviet Diaspora in the US Innovation Economy, was published by Cambridge University Press. She is also an associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. 
Dr Puffer has been recognized as the #1 scholar internationally in business and management in Russia, the former Soviet Union, and Eastern Europe according to a Journal of International Business Studies article. She earned a diploma from the Plekhanov Institute of the National Economy in Moscow, and holds BA (Slavic Studies) and MBA degrees from the University of Ottawa, Canada, and a PhD in business administration from the University of California, Berkeley.
UK Applicant: Dr Boksun Kim, University of Plymouth, United Kingdom
Dr Boksun Kim is Associate Professor of Structural Engineering at the University of Plymouth in the UK. She has 23 years’ research experience in the behaviour of steel and concrete structures. Since 2015, she has obtained over £1 million in research grants from EU Horizon 2020, the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) and the Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS) to conduct research on cementitious materials including graphene oxide concrete and recycled aggregate concrete, which have led to over 52 research publications. She has been working on an EU funded project on recycled aggregate concrete: TRAC (€450k, Co-I, 2018-24), followed by an RAEng Frontiers Champion (£13.75k, PI, 2020-22) and AMS GCRF Networking Grant (£25k, PI, 2021-23) projects on recycled aggregate concrete in Southeast Asia. Dr Kim has recently been awarded a project on ‘Inspiring the researchers of tomorrow in sustainable concrete construction’ (British Council, £50k, 2024-25). Working with the Indian Institute of Technology, Indore, she will train UG/MSc students to conduct research in recycled aggregate concrete. 
As a Fellow of both Institutions of Civil and Structural Engineers, a Chartered Structural Engineer, the Past Chair (2018-20) of the Institution of Structural Engineers Devon and Cornwall Regional Group, and a member of the Engineering Professors’ Council, Dr Kim has actively been promoting civil and structural engineering.

Get involved

We will be hosting a transdisciplinary two-day workshop from 20 to 21 June 2024 at Northeastern University in Boston, USA, including engineers, practitioners, policy makers and social scientists. Details will follow. 
Contact us at Dr Boksun Kim or for more information.