UC Institute wins $2.9 million grant to train next generation to deal with nuclear threats

January 22, 2003

UC Institute wins $2.9 million grant to train next generation to deal with nuclear threats The University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC), a statewide UC research center for international affairs, has received a $2.9 million Integrative Graduate Education Research and Traineeship (IGERT) grant from the National Science Foundation to train the next generation of policymakers, scholars, and international security analysts to deal effectively with the continuing nuclear threat.

The University of California, San Diego-based IGCC will establish a six-year-multi-campus program for training NSF Public Policy and Nuclear Threat Fellows. In implementing the program, IGCC will work with science and social science departments on all nine UC campuses to recruit talented Ph.D. students in a nationwide competitive selection process.

"During the Cold War, nuclear threats drove investments and keen young minds into the study of nuclear weapons issues," said Susan Shirk, IGCC research director and a professor of political science at UCSD's Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies. "Today, expertise in nuclear matters has become more scarce, even though the nuclear threat--although it has changed like the international system in which it operates--remains very real. The events of September 11, 2001 and their aftermath have made it painfully clear that it is time to build a new community of scholars and practitioners trained in strategic analysis, nuclear policy issues, arms control, and the role of nuclear weapons, who can effectively address the regional and global realities that comprise today's nuclear threat."

The September 11TH terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington D.C. have intensified fears that nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction could fall into the hands of terrorists. In many ways, with the end of the U.S.-Soviet standoff, nuclear weapons, nuclear deterrence, and nonproliferation issues and policies have become more complicated. Meanwhile, said Shirk, the Cold War generation of strategic thinkers, people like Herbert York and Thomas Schelling who provided intellectual and policy leadership on these critical issues, have eased into retirement. Yet, there is no generation with the breadth of knowledge and commitment to public service to replace them.

"The vision behind this proposal is to redress this gap by investing in the revival of the Ph.D. level study of nuclear threats and public policy across the UC system," said Shirk. "Because the UC manages the country's two primary nuclear weapons laboratories, Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos, opportunities for cross-fertilization are easier."

According to Shirk, the program will provide up to five years of fellowship support for two cohorts of Ph.D students accepted to any UC Ph.D program in 2003 and 2004. The selected graduate students, in addition to completing the requirements of their home departments, will receive intensive summer training on the historical and current security implications of nuclear weapons, arms control, terrorism, missile defense, nonproliferation, and related technology issues. They will also benefit from interdisciplinary seminars, policy workshops, internships at Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories, and internships in Washington, D.C. and abroad.

In addition to Shirk, the UC faculty leading the program include: Herbert York (UCSD); Michael Nacht (UCB); Robert Powell (UCB); and Tsuyoshi Hasegawa (UCSB). The program will also draw on scientists from the Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories, affiliated faculty from each UC campus, and public policy mentors such as Herbert York, Michael May, and Harold Brown.

For more information on IGCC and the "Public Policy and Nuclear Threats: Training the Next Generation" IGERT Program, please visit the IGCC website at http://www-igcc.ucsd.edu/.
To view the National Science Foundation news release on the IGERT program go to: http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/news/03/pr0310.htm
Media Contacts: Ronald Bee, IGCC Public Affairs, 858-534-6429 or Dolores Davies, University Communications, 858-534-5994.

University of California - San Diego

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