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CEREO CEREO Initiatives

Other CEREO Initiatives

CEREO is constantly seeking new and productive ways to enhance the research, education and outreach potential of our affiliates.  Within the past year, we have sponsored a variety of training workshops, and have worked closely with other centers and colleges on campus to offer graduate certificate programs, seed grants and other research opportunities.

Below are some of CEREO’s recent initiatives, if you have questions or ideas for future initiatives, please contact us at:

C-NSPIRE Graduate Certificate Program

CNSPIRE1Recognizing that science and technology researchers cannot solve complex environmental problems alone, the C-NSPIRE interdisciplinary graduate certificate program aims to address the longstanding need for a corps of top-flight scientists capable of communicating the relevance of their work at the science-policy interface.

This graduate certificate builds on the foundation provided by the National Science Foundation Nitrogen Systems: Policy-oriented Integrated Research and Education (NSPIRE) IGERT program that provided students with rigorous multidisciplinary training in carbon and nitrogen cycling and an integrated view of carbon and nitrogen science coupled with the ability to effectively communicate with public policy makers.

For more information on this program, please visit our webpage.

Food-Energy-Water Initiatives and Seed Grants

Research addressing links among food, energy and water (FEW) issues is a top priority for WSU and major funding agencies.  In response to this emerging research priority area, the Center for Environmental Research Education and Outreach (CEREO), the State of Washington Water Research Center (SWWRC), the Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources (CSANR), the WSU Office of Research, and other partners regularly host workshops and other activities to identify and energize high-priority FEW research initiatives at WSU.

Tri-State FEW Workshop  |  10-11 April 2017  |  Coeur d’Alene, ID


The research offices at WSU, University of Idaho and Oregon State University hosted a retreat-style workshop 10-11 April 2017 in Coeur D’Alene, ID. The workshop resulted in interdisciplinary, multi-state United States Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation proposals, and strengthened relationships that will lead to more collaborative work in the future. Some of the specific challenges addressed include how to conserve energy and water in the agricultural and food processing industries, and how to update aging hydropower and food production infrastructure. Researchers also heard about key national research funding programs, including USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, NSF Innovation at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems, and Department of Energy Water-Energy programs.

A report on this workshop can be viewed here.

National Science Foundation FEW Workshop  |  7-9 October 2015  |  Seattle, WA


NSF_FEW_photosThe three Centers were pleased to be selected to organize one of multiple Food-Energy-Water (FEW) workshops supported by NSF this fall to help identify future opportunities for aligning their proposed $75M investment in FEW research for 2016.

Our 2.5 day workshop, entitled “Food-Energy-Water (FEW) System Trilemma: Balancing Reliance on Technological and Institutional Solutions” brought together 30 academic faculty, agency personnel, and resource managers to identify sustainable pathways for managing the necessary trade-offs associated with FEW systems through an integration of technological and institutional/policy solutions.

As part of this workshop, the Centers along with the Office of Research, hosted an evening banquet reception with workshop attendees and local community members to engage the broader public in FEW issues.  The guest speaker at this event was Paul Roberts, author of the books The End of Oil and The End of Food.

The white paper developed from this workshop can be viewed here.

A National Science Foundation grant resulting from this workshop can be viewed here.

WSU FEW Workshop and Seed Grant Program  |  13 May 2015  |  Pullman, WA


FEW_workshop_subgroup_edThis one-day workshop provided the WSU community with an interdisciplinary opportunity to identify areas where our environmental researchers can have the greatest impact on FEW issues.  Structured around breakout groups, this workshop helped identify WSU’s research strengths in the context of broader FEW issues and provided a unique opportunity for interested scientists and engineers to collaborate across traditional home disciplines.

Ideas and collaborations initiated during this workshop led to three successful seed grants sponsored by the three Centers, in conjunction with the Office of Research, College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture (VCEA), and the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS).

For more information on this initiative, please visit our webpage.
View the 2015 FEW Seed Grant projects and recipients here.

Software and Data Carpentry Workshops

CarpentryCEREO hosted two very successful workshops, a Software Carpentry and a Data Carpentry workshop during the Spring 2015 semester.  The Carpentry workshops are designed to provide basic training for scientists who want to learn to build, use, validate and share data using versatile open-source software. By teaching participants fundamental software skills and best practice techniques for working with and analyzing data, workshops help researchers spend more time doing useful research.

Designed to be hands-on, participants learned how to use OpenRefine to organize and clean data, R  and SQL for data analysis, task automation and visualization, import data into other analysis software, and Git for version control to record and archive changes in a file or set of files over time. In total, these workshops were attended by 63 participants.

For a summary of the workshops, please see our final workshop assessment.

Science Communication Workshop

Good communication skills are critical not only for increasing public understanding of environmental science, but also for crossing disciplinary boundaries and helping to inform important societal decisions. CEREO sponsored a week of science communication events, including a COMPASS science communication training workshop designed to help participants share what they do, what they know – and most importantly, why it matters – to the audiences they most want to reach (e.g. journalists, policymakers, the public).  Led by Nancy Baron, the internationally renowned communication trainer and Outreach Director for COMPASS, and a team of four journalists, this two-day workshop taught participants how to identify and disseminate key information arising from their research and professional activities.

Other events during this science communication week included an informational panel with leading journalists to discuss how the media is changing, and what it means for communicating science to the public and policymakers, as well as a presentation on the causes and consequences of rapid population growth by the former Los Angeles Times reporter and freelance journalist, Ken Weiss.

Read more about the science communication workshop outcomes here.

For more information on these science communication events, please visit our webpage.


REU: Data-intensive Research in the Environmental Sciences

Pending funding, the goal of this NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site is to introduce undergraduate students interested in environmental research to data management and analysis using primarily open-source software so that they can confidently use environmental data to explore and answer scientific questions in a reproducible way. Through a combination of workshop training, mentored research and the generation of research products, this program will immerse students in environmental research, showing them the breadth of issues and topics encompassed by this field and providing them with formal training on how to efficiently manage, analyze, synthesize, and share environmental data. Added benefits include learning to work collaboratively and providing students with a level of core competency in research that few young scientists receive.

For more information on this REU program, please visit our webpage.