- University of Nebraska-Lincoln
This National Science Foundation Traineeship (NRT) award to the University of Nebraska – Lincoln establishes a new graduate training program that focuses on understanding the resilience of agricultural systems. Nebraska’s agricultural system in the Platte River Basin is of economic, social and natural value; but the river basin’s ability to resist damage from outside threats (e.g. pollution, pests, draught) and recover rapidly is unknown. This training program at the University of Nebraska will examine resilience of agricultural landscapes through the disciplines of agronomy, natural resources, computer sciences, engineering and public policy. The program anticipates training 25 PhD and 25 MS students, including 23 funded trainees, from natural resources, environmental science, agronomy, entomology, plant sciences, geosciences, biosystems engineering, computer science, and public policy. Trainees will engage with external partners from the agricultural industry, government agencies, and other organizations that have an interest and stake in maintaining productive agricultural systems. This broad graduate training will help develop a workforce and agricultural industry better capable of managing future demands on food, energy, and water systems.
This NRT program will focus on understanding aspects of resilience in water-stressed and energy-demanding agricultural landscapes and will utilize resilience and panarchy theory, adaptive management, novel sensing technologies and modeling, and policy interventions. Such interdisciplinary training is rare in graduate programs in the United States, but is vital to prepare the next generation of natural resource scientists, producers, managers, engineers, and policymakers so they may respond to the challenges created by increasing demands for diminishing and interconnected resources, and the need to maintain and build resilience in stressed watersheds. This NRT program will serve as the innovative foundation for a permanent interdisciplinary graduate program in the resilience of agro-ecosystems. The program will ensure that students, academic programs, government agencies, and the private sector engage in building and preserving natural and agricultural ecosystems to meet local and global demands for water, clean energy, food, and ecosystem services. Graduate student research will focus on the complex and intertwined ecological, technical, and societal systems involved in managing resources in the 21st century, particularly in complex landscapes managed for agricultural production. Further, the program will help develop innovative tools for data collection, analysis, and synthesis to support management and restoration decisions in agricultural systems.
The NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) Program is designed to encourage the development and implementation of bold, new potentially transformative models for STEM graduate education training. The Traineeship Track is dedicated to effective training of STEM graduate students in high priority interdisciplinary research areas, through comprehensive traineeship models that are innovative, evidence-based, and aligned with changing workforce and research needs.
This proposal is co-funded by the Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP), the Division for Education and Human Resources (EHR) Core Research (ECR) program, and the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). AGEP funds research and the development, implementation, and investigation of models to transform the dissertation phase of doctoral education, postdoctoral training and/or faculty advancement of historically underrepresented minorities (URMs) in STEM and/or STEM education research. The ECR program (NSF 15-509) of fundamental research in STEM education provides funding in critical research areas that are essential, broad and enduring. EHR seeks proposals that will help synthesize, build and/or expand research foundations in the following focal areas: STEM learning, STEM learning environments, STEM workforce development, and broadening participation in STEM. EPSCoR co-funds projects that advance excellence in science and engineering research and education. Fostering sustainable increases in research, education, and training capacity and competitiveness within EPSCoR jurisdictions will enable EPSCoR participants to have increased engagement in areas supported by the NSF.