In 2017, the National Science Foundation awarded the University of Nebraska-Lincoln a five-year, $3-million grant to establish a National Research Traineeship (NRT) program. The Nebraska NRT focuses on the resilience of agro-ecosystems while incorporating panarchy theory, adaptive management, and applications across scales. The program takes the Platte River Basin as its main study subject.
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, assistant professor of Hydroinformatics and Integrated Hydrology in the Biological Systems Engineering Department; Nancy Shank, Associate Director of the Public Policy Center; Leen-Kiat Soh, professor in Computer Science and Engineering; and Dirac Twidwell, assistant professor in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture.
The traineeship began with 5 graduate students in the spring semester of 2018 and hired another 10 graduate students in fall 2018 and 2019. The NRT also trains government and industry professionals and a few unfunded students in co-learning environments. The total number of students expected to receive funding and training through the grant tenure is 23. The number of professionals expected to receive training through the grant tenure is 10 to 15.