University of Vermont

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UVM Faculty, Graduate Students and Post-Docs Visit the National Science Foundation on First-Ever NSF Visit Day

Fifteen faculty, graduate students and post-doctoral associates working on a VT EPSCoR research project traveled to the National Science Foundation (NSF) March 7 to visit with 15 program directors to learn about new NSF initiatives and funding mechanisms. The visit was designed to expose graduate students and post-doctoral associates to the National Science Foundation and acquaint the group members with funding opportunities as part of the science, technology, engineering and math mentoring and career development efforts of VT EPSCoR.

The highly trans-disciplinary group, at work on the "Adaptation to Climate Change in the Lake Champlain Basin: New Understanding through Complex Systems" project, included researchers in engineering, biology, the Rubenstein School of Natural Resources, geography, plant biology, geology, plant and soil science and community development and applied economics.

Individual small-group meetings were held with NSF program directors in the areas of geo-informatics, population and community ecology, land use dynamics, hydrological sciences, BIGDATA, cyber-physical systems, behavioral systems, ecosystems, coupled natural and human systems, science, engineering and education for sustainability and cyber-enabled sustainability science and engineering.

The day-long visit was capped off with a special full-group meeting with Wanda Ward, head of NSF's Office of International and Integrative Activities; Denise Barnes, EPSCoR office head; Sian Money, NSF EPSCoR program officer; and University Distinguished Professor Judith Van Houten, state director, VT EPSCoR, who said of the excursion: “Meetings like these help shape our investigators shape their future research and career goals and make them more competitive for federal funding. All the feedback from our group members about their interactions has been extremely positive.”  

Wanda Ward added, “I was very impressed with the 'pathway' team that you brought, as each of them held his/her own quite well. I trust that the visit was worthwhile for them, especially the 'next generation' participants. Such visits always invigorate me and remind me of what our efforts are all about.”

VT EPSCoR is currently in the second year of its RII-Track 1 award focused on "Research on Adaptation to Climate Change in the Lake Champlain Basin: New Understanding through Complex Systems Modeling."  Trans-disciplinary groups of researchers, state agency officials, private sector partners and other non-profit stakeholders are examining the basin as a coupled natural and human system and the implications of climate changes on policy and management. Implications for adaptive management strategies will be drawn from data collected and analyzed through an integrated assessment model. The project includes 284 participants, 18 newly created jobs and 24 pilot and private sector awards between 2011-2013. These participants are from four Vermont institutions: the University of Vermont, Saint Michael’s College, Middlebury College and Johnson state College.