Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Kansas
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Kansas Project

NRT-HDR-FW-HTF Building an integrated transdisciplinary framework for science-based, data-driven decision-making to achieve sustainability: an immersive traineeship program that prepares today’s environmental professionals for future leadership challenges. (PENDING 9 28 2021)

December 2021 - December 2026


Participating Agencies

  • Kanas State University (SUBMITTED)
Dr. Martha Mather

RESEARCH AREA AND THEME. The common theme of our NRT is the need to (a) make connections across scientific disciplines and stakeholders that advance transdisciplinary understanding of environmental problems, and (b) provide science-based, data-driven options for decision makers. We target the family of environmental problems, within agricultural watersheds, in which resource use and resource conservation tradeoffs are directly intertwined with non-human native organisms. Our NRT addresses two NSF Big 10 Ideas: Harnessing the Data Revolution (HDR) & Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier (FW-HTF).
TRAINING PLAN. Our integrated research-education model contains a suite of 13 elements that will train a wide range of professionals (e.g., statistics, agronomy, ecology, economics) to tackle 21st century environmental problems, advance sustainability science, work effectively within data-driven transdisciplinary ensembles, promote diversity, and facilitate science-based, data-driven decision options. Our traineeship model promotes competencies in (1) application of strategic planning/critical thinking for complex problems, (2) transdisciplinary connections and perspectives, (3) state-of-the-art quantitative and data science skills, (4) multi-directional immersive discourse and communication, and (5) science translation.
RESEARCH-EDUCATION INTEGRATION. Our major research efforts and traineeship model are fully integrated through (i) ongoing degree research and transdisciplinary extensions of degree research, (ii) core training in transdisciplinary science and quantitative/data skills, (iii) training in data-driven, science-based decision-making, and (iv) integral 21st century professional skills (communication, teamwork, ethics, outreach, appreciation/advocacy for diversity). Our traineeship model connects and enhances existing university programs.
EXPECTED NUMBER - NRT TRAINEES & GRADUATE STUDENTS. We provide a year of support to 11 students annually over 3 years (33 individual stipend-receiving trainees), professional scholarships annually to an additional 9 students annually over 3 years (27 individual scholarship-receiving trainees), and multiple travel and supply grants to associated faculty and students. We anticipate that at least 45 other students will participate in the program through classes. Overall, we will improve the career trajectories of at least 100 students (MS & PhD) over the life of the grant.