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

The NRT accepted five new students for the 2019-2020 school year: Dominic Cristiano, master's student, School of Natural Resources; Sydney James, master's student, Department of Civil Engineering; Anastasia Madsen, doctoral student, School of Biological Sciences; Daniel Morales, master's student, School of Natural Resources; and Rubi Quiñones, doctoral student, Computer Science and Engineering Department. Congratulations to these outstanding students and welcome to Big Red country!

Nine NRT students and professor Francisco Muñoz-Arriola traveled to The Netherlands, Spain and France from May 16 to June 6 to compare water structures there with those in Nebraska. 

Five students and professors Craig Allen and Dirac Twidwell attended the Resilience Alliance annual meeting near Atlanta, Georgia, May 12-16.

Doctoral student Katharine Hogan was selected for a two-year appointment, beginning August 1, as a graduate fellow at the Center for Great Plains Studies.

In May, Jazmin Castillo won the Meritorious Graduate Student Award in the School of Natural Resources and was appointed chair of the Council of Students on the Chancellor's Commission on the Status of Women.

Master's student Daniel Rico placed in the top five in the 2019 Engineering Graduate Poster Competition. He won a $500 conference travel fellowship from the College of Engineering and was recognized at the 2019 Graduate Recognition event at 3 p.m. on May 1 in the Nebraska Union's Regency Suite.

Master's student Daniel Rico presented "Power-Tethered UAS Network for Indefinite Data Acquisition to Increase Agricultural Resilience in the Platte River Basin" at the 2019 Water for Food Global Conference on April 29 and 30.

Older events





June 28

External Advisory Board meeting, 9 to 10 a.m. in Hardin Hall, Room 207

June 29

NRT outdoor social event in the afternoon at the countryside home of Craig Allen, director of Nebraska's NRT

August 1

The third cohort of NRT students starts in Nebraska's traineeship.

August 7-8

NRT minicourse, "Multiagent Simulation for Complex Systems" with Leen-Kiat Soh, NRT professor from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering

August 23

NRT social event to welcome new students and kick off the school year

August 26
Fall semester begins
September 25-27

NSF Research Traineeship annual meeting at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois

Photo credit: Of the world’s population of 600,000 cranes, 85 percent come through Nebraska. The birds stage on the Platte River and use leftover corn to gain weight for their flight farther north. The NRT thanks Emma Brinley Buckley for granting us permission to use the landing-page photograph of cranes dancing on the Platte River as part of their mating ritual.

Collaborating agencies