Nav: Home

USU awarded $2.7M NSF RT grant for graduate climate adaptation science program

October 07, 2016

LOGAN, UTAH, USA - Utah State University is the recipient of a competitive $2.7 million National Science Foundation Research Traineeship award that will afford USU students in 20 STEM graduate degree programs the opportunity to pursue advanced interdisciplinary research training and a Climate Adaptation Science specialization.

Named "Graduate Climate Adaptation Research that Enhances Education and Responsiveness of Science at the Management-Policy Interface" - or Grad-CAREER for short, the project team anticipates training 80 master's and doctoral students during the five-year grant period.

"This is a remarkable opportunity for graduate students to be involved in a dynamic, cross-disciplinary research environment," says Nancy Huntly, professor in USU's Department of Biology, director of the USU Ecology Center and principal investigator and project director for Grad-CAREER.

Huntly leads the project team, which includes USU faculty members and co-principal investigators Patrick Belmont, Department of Watershed Sciences; Courtney Flint, Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology and the USU Ecology Center; David Rosenberg, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Utah Water Research Laboratory; Simon Wang, Department of Plants, Soils and Climate and the Utah Climate Center and core participants David Feldon, Department of Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences; Luis Gordillo, Department of Mathematics and Statistics; Peter Howe, Department of Environment and Society; James Lutz, Department of Wildland Resources and Sarah Null, Department of Watershed Sciences.

Grad-CAREER begins in January 2017 with an initial cohort of 10 students. Twenty additional students will join the project in fall 2017, with about 20 new students entering the program each year for the grant's duration.

Participation will be offered to students majoring in natural, physical and social sciences, engineering and mathematics. Huntly says program participants, referred to as "trainees," will receive "significant" research support and professional skills training. In addition, about 28 trainees will receive one-year fellowships.

"Grad-CAREER focuses on preparing trainees for research-based careers that will integrate science with management and policy to understand and adapt to a changing climate," Huntly says. "The program includes interdisciplinary training in data management, informatics and modeling, as well as communications, management and leadership skills."

Trainees will gain real-world experience through a novel, two-part internship with a government, industry or non-governmental organization partner that brackets a year-long research studio and "embeds trainees in a cycle of creating actionable science," she says.

Thanks, in part, to the efforts of iUTAH (innovative Urban Transitions and Aridregion Hydro-sustainability), another NSF-funded, USU-led research endeavor, Huntly says a statewide, community partnership is already in place to aid Grad-CAREER trainees in pursuing a wide range of internship pursuits. A broader regional network of internship opportunities is made available through collaborations with the USGS Southwest Biological Science Center in Moab, Utah; the USGS Southwest Climate Science Center in Arizona and the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station in Logan, Utah.

Yet, even with the added benefits and training, Grad-CAREER adds no credit requirements to existing degree programs.

"Grad-CAREER is designed to actually shorten the time to a degree, as it integrates research with training from the beginning of each student's program and uses short-courses to provide efficient and individualized training," Huntly says. "A key goal of NSF's Research Traineeship program is to improve the preparation of STEM graduates for a variety of future careers, including those outside of academia. We believe Grad-CAREER provides a supportive, collaborative learning structure that will support students in completing their degrees and enabling them for careers of the future."

Grad-CAREER is offering two upcoming informational forums to acquaint students and faculty with the new program. All are welcome to attend Monday, Oct. 17, 2017, from 4-5 p.m. or Thursday, Oct. 20, 2017, from 4:20-5:20 p.m. Both gatherings will be held in AGRS 141.

Huntly also invites Aggies to visit the program's website at and Twitter feed @USUClimateAdapt.

Utah State University

Related Climate Articles:

Climate change label leads to climate science acceptance
A new Cornell University study finds that labels matter when it comes to acceptance of climate science.
Was that climate change?
A new four-step 'framework' aims to test the contribution of climate change to record-setting extreme weather events.
It's more than just climate change
Accurately modeling climate change and interactive human factors -- including inequality, consumption, and population -- is essential for the effective science-based policies and measures needed to benefit and sustain current and future generations.
Uncertainties related to climate engineering limit its use in curbing climate change
Climate engineering refers to the systematic, large-scale modification of the environment using various climate intervention techniques.
Public holds polarized views about climate change and trust in climate scientists
There are gaping divisions in Americans' views across every dimension of the climate debate, including causes and cures for climate change and trust in climate scientists and their research, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
Incubating climate change
A group of James Cook University scientists led by Emeritus Professor Ross Alford has designed and built an inexpensive incubator that could boost research into how animals and plants will be affected by climate change.
And the Oscar goes to ... climate change
New research finds that Tweets and Google searches about climate change set new record highs after Leonardo DiCaprio's Academy Awards acceptance speech, suggesting celebrity advocacy for social issues on a big stage can motivate popular engagement.
Cod and climate
Researchers use the North Atlantic Oscillation as a predictive tool for managing an iconic fishery.
What hibernating toads tell us about climate
The ability to predict when toads come out of hibernation in southern Canada could provide valuable insights into the future effects of climate change on a range of animals and plants.
Maryland climate and health report identifies state's vulnerabilities to climate change
A new report by the University of Maryland School of Public Health and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene details the impacts of climate change on the health of Marylanders now and in the future.

Related Climate Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Crisis
There's no greater threat to humanity than climate change. What can we do to stop the worst consequences? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can save our planet and whether we can do it in time. Guests include climate activist Greta Thunberg, chemical engineer Jennifer Wilcox, research scientist Sean Davis, food innovator Bruce Friedrich, and psychologist Per Espen Stoknes.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...