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CEREO Newsletter- 2015 October

Message from the Director

By mid-century, the global population is anticipated to exceed 9 billion, with a concomitant rise in the need for 60% more food, 50% more energy and 40% more water. Many policy setting organizations and funders are increasingly sensitive not only to the need to address scarcity in these resources but also the interdependencies among them – the Food-Energy-Water (FEW) nexus. For example, NSF announced its intention to invest $75M in FEW in 2016 and this theme has already been highlighted in NSF’s recent call for National Research Traineeship proposals. Similar opportunities focused on resource interdependencies are becoming available through US Department of Agriculture and the Department of Energy. Accordingly, WSU has taken on the FEW Nexus as a Grand Challenge, in an effort to harness the formidable research strengths of our faculty through shared vision of a sustainable future.

FEW interdependencies can mean many things in different systems. Someone looking at food waste in our landfills might see not only the lost value of the food itself, but also the waste of energy and water embodied in the food. Our energy producers are keenly aware of the tight coupling of power and water, and how this interdependency creates a conflict with other water users such as agriculture. In the Northwest, we see the FEW nexus embedded in the Columbia River Basin and in our endeavors to preserve endangered salmon and the ecosystems and heritage that they represent. Pulling on one string in the FEW nexus creates tensions elsewhere; without knowledge or intent, critical questions of ethics and social justice can quickly arise.

CEREO has been collaborating with CSANR and SWWRC to galvanize the FEW effort at WSU this past year. Following the FEW workshop we hosted this past May, we made several FEW seed grants and convened a NSF-funded workshop led by water sustainability scholar Julie Padowski – both are highlighted below. We look forward to supporting more of your efforts to address critical questions in the FEW nexus in the months and years to come!

– Stephanie

Research News

WSU FEW Seed Grants Awarded

CEREO in conjunction with the State of Washington Water Research Center (SWWRC) and the Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources (CSANR) are pleased to announce the following 2015 WSU Food-Energy-Water Seed and Planning Grant recipients:

An Integrated Biophysical-Economic Study of a Model FEW System: Columbia River Reservoir Storage and Spill

PIs: Stephen Bollens, Michael Brady, Hayley Chouinard, John Harrison, Gretchen Rollwagen-Bollens, and Philip Wandschneider

Colleges Represented: College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences

Identifying Strategic Directions for Future FEW Research

PIs: Amanda Boyd, and Ali Mehrizi-Sani

Colleges Represented: Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture

Promoting Urban FEW Resource Resilience via the Regional Food System

PIs: Brad Gaolach, Kevan Moffett, Kirti Rajagopalan, Sasha Richey, Michael Brady, and Douglas Collins

Colleges Represented: College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences, Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture

Funding for these seed and planning grants was co-sponsored by the Office of Research, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences, the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, the Center for Environmental Research, Education and Outreach, the State of Washington Water Research Center and the Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources.  These grants offer scientists with promising research ideas a head start on upcoming calls for FEW research and a unique opportunity to collaborate across traditional home disciplines. Congratulations to all those involved!

Additional FEW-related calls for proposals are currently available through the SWWRC Seed Grant Program (Deadline 1 Dec 2015) and the CSANR BiOAg Grant Program (Letter of Intent due 20 Nov 2015).


NSF Food-Energy-Water Nexus Workshop


Earlier this month, Dr. Julie Padowski with the support of CEREO, the Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources (CSANR) and the State of Washington Water Research Center (SWWRC) jointly led one of the handful of workshops funded by the National Science Foundation to help the agency articulate future opportunities for their proposed $75M investment in FEW research for 2016.

Held in downtown Seattle, this 2.5 day workshop brought together over 30 academic faculty and agency personnel from across the U.S. to help identify sustainable pathways for managing the necessary trade-offs and solutions associated with managing FEW systems and better understand the broad and complex set of scientific, technological and governance related FEW challenges.

Since this FEW workshop aligns not only with the NSF’s research agenda, but with one of WSU’s Grand Challenges, CEREO, CSANR and the SWWRC in conjunction with the Office of Research hosted an evening reception for the wider Seattle community to engage with our FEW scientists and hear from the highly-acclaimed author, Paul Roberts.  The event provided policy-makers, scientists, agency employees and members of the public an opportunity to discuss and learn more about the complex interplay between economics, technology, the natural world and sustainable resources.

Other News

Environmental Journalism at WSU

CEREO hosted two public events aimed at exploring the world of environmental journalism.  These events featured prominent environmental writers and reporters from across the nation who spoke about their roles of communicating science to the public.

Beyond 7 Billion: Why an environmental reporter decided to write about population growth

A talk by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ken Weiss explored the question: “Can we live within our means on this planet?” taking audience members on a multi-media tour of his travels across Asia and Africa to look at the causes and consequences of rapid population growth  His talk addressed the connections between women’s rights and reproductive health with hunger, poverty, national security and environmental decline.

Ken Weiss (@kennethweiss) focuses on topics at the intersection of science, environment and public health. He is now writing a book inspired by his series, Beyond 7 Billion, published last year in the Los Angeles Times on the causes and consequences of human population growth. Besides winning the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting, Weiss has won the George Polk Award, the Grantham Prize, a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Scripps Howard Foundation’s National Journalism Award and many others.


Pulling Back the Curtain: A behind-the-scenes look at the changing world of journalism

panel-all_4In a panel discussion open to the public, leading journalists specializing in radio, TV, newspaper and magazine reporting discussed how the media is changing, and what these changes means for communicating science to the public and policymakers.  Each shared their personal and professional perspectives on how scientists can get their stories told, what makes a good science story, and how to engage with journalists.


Science Communication Workshop

website_2A two-day workshop led by four environmental journalists and Nancy Baron, an experienced science communication trainer, an award-winning writer, the lead communications trainer for the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program and Outreach Director for COMPASS, trained WSU scientists how to translate and disseminate key information arising from their research and professional activities. Training activities centered on how to frame and present research results clearly to a general audience and explain what goes on behind the science.  Participants worked closely with their peers and trainers to gained experience and familiarity presenting what they know across an array of media types, including writing, radio and television.


CEREO Seminar Series

The 2015 Fall CEREO seminar series is well underway, having already hosted seven environmental seminars spanning water issues in rapidly urbanizing cities to infectious cancer in Tasmanian devils.  Our seminar series schedule can be viewed here, which includes upcoming talks as well as links to recordings of seminars given earlier this semester.  You can also find our CEREO seminars, and all other WSU and local environmentally related talks, events and seminars, on our environmental seminar calendar.

If you would like to give a CEREO Seminar, or have a suggestion for who we should invite, please email Julie Padowski (



Reaching out to researchers doing international work to create new overseas partnerships

The Murrow College of Communication is looking to expand the global learning opportunities of our students.  Each year, a number of students are selected through a competitive process for a backpack journalism project.  Donors provide funds for students to travel and report internationally.  We also offer faculty-led Murrow Global Expeditions that (this year) offers study abroad opportunities in London and Cuba.

Our new Director of Global Engagement, Matt Shelley (, is looking for new student travel destinations.  Matt would like to explore the possibility of using our international research programs and activities to create new overseas partnerships and help students find compelling stories for their reporting projects.  He would appreciate hearing about the international research activities of WSU faculty, particularly those which rely on partnerships and travel to other countries.

6th Annual Pacific Northwest Climate Science Conference, Nov 4-5, 2015 in Coeur d’Alene, ID

The PNW Climate Science Conference annually brings together more than 250 researchers and practitioners from around the region to discuss scientific results, challenges, and solutions related to the impacts of climate on people, natural resources, and infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest.

Climate Hubs Fellows Program Applications due November 20, 2015

Hiring temporary federal employees to work with the regional Hubs and Sub-Hubs to accomplish their mission.  Application requirements can be found here.  Applications should be sent to

2016 UCOWR/NIWR Annual ConferenceAbstracts due January 19, 2016

Universities Council on Water Resources (UCOWR) and National Institutes of Water Resources (NIWR) Annual Water Resources Conference will be held on June 21-23, 2016 in Pensacola Beach, FL.



Jefferson Science Fellows Program Applications due November 2, 2015

The Jefferson Science Fellowship is open to tenured, or similarly ranked, faculty from U.S. institutions of higher learning who are U.S. citizens. The application period opens each fall and closes in mid-January. Selected Jefferson Science Fellows spend one year on assignment at the U.S. Department of State or USAID as science advisors on foreign policy issues.

2015 USGS-Washington 104b Seed Grant ProgramProposals due December 1, 2015

The Fiscal Year 2016 WRRA 104b small grants program provides $27,500 for selected proposals focusing on water-related research of importance to Washington State.

2015 USGS-Idaho 104b Seed Grant ProgramProposals due December 4, 2015

Research and outreach proposals submitted under this RFP are intended to address water resources problems of significance to Idaho (more info).

NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) ProgramProposals due December 9, 2015

The NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) program is designed to encourage the development and implementation of bold, new, and potentially transformative models for STEM graduate education training. The NRT program seeks proposals that ensure that graduate students in research-based master’s and doctoral degree programs develop the skills, knowledge, and competencies needed to pursue a range of STEM careers.

US Department of Energy (DOE) Environmental System Science RFPProposals due January 22, 2016

Funds are available for research that advances a robust predictive understanding of terrestrial environments, extending from bedrock to the top of the vegetated canopy and from molecular to global scales in support of DOE’s energy and environmental missions.



Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in Sustainable Climate Risk Management– Applications being accepted now

Four positions are available in the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute at the Pennsylvania State University.  Successful candidates for these position swill become part of an interdisciplinary research Network for Sustainable Climate Risk Management (SCRiM:

2016 Ford Foundation Fellowships ProgramsApplications due November 13, 2015 (post-doctoral) or November 20, 2015 (pre-doctoral)

Pre-doctoral, Dissertation, and Post-doctoral fellowships will be awarded in a national competition administered by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on behalf of the Ford Foundation. Prospective applicants should carefully read the eligibility requirements, the Pre-doctoral, Dissertation, or Post-doctoral Fact Sheets, and the instructions for How to Apply.

Udall Distinguished Scholarships – Applications due December 1, 2015

Competitive Scholarships for students interested in the environment OR for Native American and Alaska native students interested in tribal public policy or Native health care.  Freshmen are particularly encouraged.

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