The NSPIRE IGERT Program is a multidisciplinary student doctoral training program designed to create a new generation of scientists with broad and rigorous training in nitrogen cycling who seamlessly integrate nitrogen cycle science for effective communication with public policy makers.
One of the most difficult yet critical aspects of environmental graduate training is placing research conducted at local and regional scales in a global context and conveying this information to land managers and policy makers. This is exemplified by one of the greatest science and engineering challenges of the 21st-century: understanding the complex interactions and the impacts of environmental nitrogen in atmospheric, terrestrial, and aquatic hydrologic systems as shown in the figure below. Discussions with leaders in government and industry increasingly elicit pleas for students who have not only a strong science foundation, but also have the necessary skills to communicate and work with policy makers. Development of these skills requires first gaining an interdisciplinary perspective of N cycle processes and the ability to place this in a global context and second understanding how to communicate and use scientific research to inform and guide public policy.
The key features of the program include the following:
Each year, 5 to 6 students are awarded a 1-year fellowship, renewable for a second year contingent upon student progress. Each NSPIRE fellow receives: