In 2017, the National Science Foundation awarded the University of Nebraska-Lincoln a five-year, approximately $3-million grant to establish a National Research Traineeship (NRT) program. The Nebraska NRT proposed to train 23 graduate students in the resilience of agro-ecosystems while incorporating panarchy theory, adaptive management, and applications across scales. In 2022, the Nebraska NRT was extended for a sixth year and was able to add three new students, increasing the number of graduate students receiving the traineeship to 26.
The director of the program, Craig Allen, is a professor in the School of Natural Resources and former principal investigator of a National Science Foundation IGERT grant focused on the topic “Resilience and Adaptive Governance of Stressed Watersheds.” Allen built on knowledge gained from the IGERT grant in forming an interdisciplinary team that could address the many aspects of complex systems. Co-PIs are Francisco Munoz-Arriola, associate professor of Hydroinformatics and Integrated Hydrology in the Biological Systems Engineering Department; Lisa Pytlik Zillig, senior research manager at the Public Policy Center; Leen-Kiat Soh, professor in Computer Science and Engineering; and Dirac Twidwell, associate professor in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture.
The traineeship began with five graduate students in January 2018. The professors leading the NRT have added an additional 21 graduate students since then, with five starting each fall from 2018 through 2020 and three starting each fall in 2021 and 2022. The NRT has also trained unfunded students and government and industry professionals alongside funded students.
The 26 students taking part in the Nebraska NRT have come from 18 states to attend graduate school at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Multiple students have come from Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Texas. All have made awesome Huskers!