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CEREO REU: Stakeholder Informed Modeling of Innovations in the FEW

Stakeholder Informed Modeling of Innovations in the FEW

Program Overview

Anthropogenic processes, such as urbanization and globalization, are creating increased demands for food, energy, and water (FEW), while climate change is amplifying the rate and extent of resource degradation.  Washington State University has a long-term research focus on the nexus in food, energy and water (“the FEW”), and a large team of interdisciplinary researchers team working to explore the FEW nexus and quantify how technological and institutional innovations (e.g., renewable energy, water markets) can increase resilience across all of the FEW sectors. This NSF-funded ColumbiaFEW team uses it’s strong, ongoing two-way engagement with stakeholders in the Columbia River Basin to develop new strategies and understand innovation adoption in real world settings.

Over the course of nine weeks, this program will teach students how to develop complex systems thinking and system dynamics simulation skills, increase their computing competency through data wrangling workshops, engage in professional development and team-based exercises through shared activities, and communicate and work with other scientific audiences and stakeholders.  Through a combination of workshop training, mentored research, and professional development, this program will immerse students in FEW research expanding their career network and building lasting connections with the members of their cohort, other WSU undergraduate researchers, and WSU faculty mentors.

Program Goals

The goal of this NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site is to introduce undergraduate students to resource management questions in the FEW, and to teach them strategies for testing and understanding how innovations in the FEW impact or improve coordinated management for a more resilient future. The core elements of this training program will combine system dynamics simulation skills and hands-on training in data management and analysis with high-quality mentoring to:

  1. Equip REU students to think critically about interactions in complex systems
  2. Engage with heterogeneous, large datasets (e.g., integrating climate, remote sensing, and observational data
  3. Craft testable hypotheses to explore the consequences of changes in management or technology in FEW systems
  4. Build or use models effectively while working collaboratively on system integration
  5. Communicate FEW research ideas and results to others.


Who is eligible?

Participants must be currently registered at a two or four year college, and may not have received their Bachelor’s degree prior to July 2015. Women, members of demographic groups traditionally underrepresented in environmental fields, and students from community colleges or institutions that do not offer research opportunities for undergraduates are particularly encouraged to apply. You must be a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident in order to receive NSF funding.

Students at all levels of their undergraduate work are sought for this program, and may come from any major as long as they are interested in the FEW nexus.  While a component of this program will center on using computing software to engage in research, experience in programming is not required and training will be provided during the course of the program.

For questions or more information, please contact Dr. Julie Padowski

e-mail: | phone: 509-335-8539

News & Updates

We will be seeking funding in 2020 for this REU program.  We will begin accepting applications (acceptance pending review and funding status) at the beginning of November 2019.

Deadline for Applications:

Deadline for applications for Summer 2020: February 15, 2020 (5pm PST)
To apply, please use our Online Application Form