Population growth and climate variability are stressing our global food, energy and water resources. Solutions to these wicked problems require scientists, engineers and policy experts working together to ensure food, energy and water security for future generations. However, cross-cutting, transformative science and policy discoveries can only come about through interdisciplinary training of our future leaders that prepares them for success across a number of career pathways. To address this need, this National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) award to the University of Maryland College Park (UMD) has established an interdisciplinary, STEM graduate education program that trains students to effectively work and communicate across disciplines to address food/energy/water nexus issues from molecular to societal levels and from local to global scales. The UMD Global STEWARDS NRT program prepares students through hands-on domestic and international experiences, as well as research, training and outreach opportunities that integrate the biological, physical, social, behavioral and computer sciences.
Over a 5-year period, this project will train at least sixty (60) PhD students, including thirty (30) funded trainees, from programs in the life sciences, earth system sciences, engineering and computational sciences, social behavioral sciences, natural resource management studies, energy and environmental policy, and more. UMD Global STEWARDS graduates will emerge from the program as well-balanced life-long learners, stellar science communicators and distinctive professionals armed with the communication and professional skills needed to translate research discoveries into actionable science at the food/energy/water nexus.