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Resilience and Adaptive Governance of Stressed Watersheds, an IGERT Program

Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship

Investigating the global challenges of water quantity and quality, and systems' resilience, with a multi-disciplinary approach focused on stressed watersheds

This approach understands that sound policy and management decisions cannot be based on one discipline alone, but depend on the convergence of hard science (i.e. ecology, geosciences, natural resources), complex analyses of data, the politics of building consensus and a supportive constituency.

The IGERT program will teach fellows about real-world policy applications in the natural resources arena and enable the transfer of knowledge in a way that is useful to policymakers in responding to the challenges created by demands for diminishing resources, and the need to maintain and build resilience in stressed watersheds.

Benefits include:

  • Stipend of $30,000 annually for 2 to 3 years
  • Paid tuition and student fees
  • Externships with outside agencies
  • International training experience in Austria
  • Travel funds for conferences
  • Computers
  • Basic individual student health insurance
  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens, or permanent residents


The Resilience and Adaptive Governance in Stressed Watersheds program began in 2009. The Platte River watershed serves as the chief, scientific foundation for our IGERT—a system with limited but critical water resources, threatened grassland and wetland ecosystems, and major continental bird populations. Additional details can be found in the proposal or brochure.

The program is principally funded by a $3M grant from the National Science Foundation's IGERT Program to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln which ends July 31, 2015.

The National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program is currently comprised of about 125 award sites.

The IGERT program was developed to meet the challenges of educating U.S. Ph.D. scientists, engineers, and educators with the interdisciplinary backgrounds, deep knowledge in chosen disciplines, and technical, professional, and personal skills to become in their own careers the leaders and creative agents for change.

The Stressed Watersheds IGERT program is managed by the Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. Located in Hardin Hall, The Nebraska Coop Unit is part of the UNL School of Natural Resources.

Program activities are directed by the IGERT Coordinating Committee with the addition of the UNL Dean of Graduate Studies, one external agency representative, and a graduate student chosen annually by the fellows. This group will form the IGERT Steering Committee (ISC).

Platte River Program Area

Platte River Program Area

National Science Foundation

Research Programs

Following is a sample of the many possible research areas.

  • Analyze ecological/societal dimensions of resilience where water is limited.
  • Foster transitions to new natural resources management systems.
  • Investigate tradeoffs among agricultural, industrial, urban, & ecological water demands.

Austria Blog!

The first group of students (5) landed in Vienna, Austria on Sept. 25, 2011.

The second group was in Austria during fall 2013.

Check out their activities on the blogs:

We thank IIASA for hosting these trips.



Student will enroll in courses required by their home department as well as:

International Experience

The opportunity for a semester of training at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Vienna, Austria, is available to students to increase global engagement and broaden interdisciplinary backgrounds.

European Coordinator: Dr. Jan Sendzimir, IIASA


IGERT trainees will combine their interdisciplinary classroom learning with experiential learning with externships focused on the Platte River watershed and other Great Plains watersheds.