| in CAS, Features

Professor Pam Templer is principal investigator (PI) on a newly awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Traineeship (NRT) grant to Boston University.  The NRT awards are given to research initiatives that are aimed at developing and implementing new and potentially transformative models for graduate education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Templer’s grant project is titled “Boston UniverCity: Partnering Graduate Students and Cities to Tackle Urban Environmental Challenges.” This new $3 million, five-year program will train students from the interdisciplinary PhD program in Biogeoscience (students from Biology, Earth & Environment, Archaeology) and the Environmental Health PhD program in the School of Public Health.

With the increase in urban populations centers and the projected future growth of these areas, cities are increasingly facing environmental challenges such as air and water pollution, extreme weather events, or storm surges. With the funds from the NRT grant, Boston University graduate students will learn how to tackle the major environmental problems confronting these cities from an interdisciplinary approach, including biogeoscience, environmental health and communication and engagement with broader constituents who are key players in addressing these challenges. “Graduates will be equipped to address foundational questions about the physical environment and to reduce the impacts of the environment on both ecosystem function and human health,” said Templer.

CAS Earth & Environment Associate Professor Lucy Hutyra is serving as Co-PI on the grant, along with Environmental Health Professor Jonathan Levy from BU’s School of Public Health.

NRT grant projects illustrate interdisciplinary research in areas of high-priority, while training students with the skill sets to tackle complex problems that exist at the intersection of different scientific disciplines. This training helps to ensure the next generation of scientists, researchers and leaders are adequately prepared with first hand experience in addressing these multi-dimensional problems when they enter the workforce.

One of the goals of the NRT program is to increase and expand the science and engineering workforce through the education of graduate students. “Integration of research and education through interdisciplinary training will prepare a workforce that undertakes scientific challenges in innovative ways….The NSF Research Traineeship awards will ensure that today’s graduate students are prepared to pursue cutting-edge research and solve complex problems of tomorrow,” said Director of the NSF Division of Graduate Education, Dean Evasius.

To learn more about this prestigious award, please read the full article on the NSF Website.