Much of the world—including the United States—faces increasing conflict as Earth’s human population continues to grow but the supply of good, clean water decreases. Water shortages and the struggle to determine how much should be used for agriculture, industry, recreation, wildlife and drinking have sparked legal and policy battles. In addition, pesticides, pollution, invasive species, climate change and droughts threaten the availability of good, clean water. Resolving these complex issues requires the best scientific information and training of natural resource scientists, managers, engineers and policymakers.

The National Science Foundation established a National Research Traineeship program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to meet this need. As stated by the National Science Foundation, NRT programs are "dedicated to effective training of STEM graduate students in high priority interdisciplinary research areas, through the use of a comprehensive traineeship model that is innovative, evidence-based, and aligned with changing workforce and research needs."

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln NRT program trains master’s and doctoral students in understanding resilience of agricultural ecosystems, particularly the Platte River Basin in Nebraska. The NRT students come from multiple disciplines—the natural, computational, engineering, agricultural and social sciencesto study panarchy theory, novel sensing technologies and modeling, adaptive management and policy interventions. They strive to develop tools that can collect, synthesize and analyze data to inform decisions and policies for managing water resources. They hope to keep the Platte River Basin and other agro-ecosystems healthy and resilient for all who depend upon them now and for generations to come.

Recent Events

Robin Craig, an environmental law scholar at the University of Utah, spoke to the NRT about law and policy, especially as it relates to water, on December 9.

Conor Barnes, NRT doctoral student, spoke on "Legislation in Invasive Species Management" at the Center for Grassland Studies on December 7.

Igor Linkov, Senior Data Analyst working in COVID Response Detail at FEMA and Senior Scientific Technology Manager in the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, spoke to the NRT about risk, resilience, COVID-19, transportation networks and internships with the Army Corps of Engineers on November 11.

Ellis Adjei Adams, assistant professor of geography and environmental policy in the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame, spoke to the NRT about water issues and community governance in Africa on October 28.

In October, master's student Sydney James was selected as the Student of the Year out of all candidates from the nine universities in Region VII of the Mid-America Transportation Center (University of Nebraska at Lincoln, Omaha and the Medical Center; University of Iowa; University of Kansas and the Medical Center; Northeast Iowa Community College; Missouri University of Science and Technology; and Lincoln University). During the Council of University Transportation Centers virtual awards banquet January 6, 2021, James and the other 39 Student of the Year winners received recognition.

Older events





Note: In response to the coronavirus, the university is taking numerous precautions to protect its staff and students. These include canceling large, public events and offering a mix of online and smaller, in-person classes. We are still carrying on the great work of Nebraska—but now at a distance. Go, Big Red!

January 25-29

Martin Luther King Week—Dr. Bernice A. King, daughter of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King and CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, to speak to the university on January 28. Events all week.

January 25-May 7

Regular spring academic session

January 28-29
National Science Foundation NRT Annual Meeting
March 15

Last day to apply to the NRT. Directions to apply are found under the "prospective students" tab above.

Collaborating agencies