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 sciences—to 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.
Craig Allen, NRT director; Ronica Stromberg, program coordinator; and six Nebraska students attended the National Science Foundation NRT annual meeting online January 28-29. Students attending were Rubi Quiñones, Annie Madsen, Bre Lewis-Jones, Catherine Chan, Kate Bird and Sarah Thompson.
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.
Dirac Twidwell, NRT agronomy professor, received the Nebraska Range and Conservation Endowment award and grant during the 2020 Nebraska Cattlemen Annual Convention on December 3, 2020.
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.
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!
Last day to apply to the NRT. Directions to apply are found under the "prospective students" tab above.
Dirac Twidwell speaks to the NRT about his work with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and about "Stakeholder Engagement Strategies"
Andrew Caven, Crane Trust, addresses Crane Trust work, research and management challenges and resilience in the Central Platte River Valley