PhD Fellowship - Food Energy Water Nexus

Improving the Efficacy of Climate Information for Water Use Decisions: Developing, Testing, and Institutionalizing New Tools for Agricultural Producers

Position: The Human Dimensions Lab at the University of Montana seeks motivated applicants for a NSF-funded graduate traineeship (National Research Traineeship; NRT), UM BRIDGES: Bridging Divides across the Food, Energy, and Water Nexus. This fellowship is available for a PhD student focused on the social sciences. Fellows will receive a living stipend ($34K/year), tuition scholarship, and research support (travel, supplies); take coursework on the food-energy-water (FEW) nexus and workshops to develop professional and research skills; participate in other traineeship activities; be engaged with an intellectual community and cohort of other graduate students interested in the FEW nexus, and conduct disciplinary and interdisciplinary research related to the FEW nexus in consultation with their graduate advisor. Additional information, including contact information for participating faculty, eligibility requirements, and application procedures, can be found the UM BRIDGES web site or you can contact Dr. Elizabeth C. Metcalf directly. UM BRIDGES encourages applicants from underrepresented groups in STEM fields.

Project description: Growing demand for water resources coupled with climate-driven water scarcity and variability present critical challenges to agriculture and food production. Despite extensive resources allocated to downscaling climate projections, climate information is rarely utilized by producers to mitigate harm or improve water decisions. There is a critical need to develop more effective climate information technologies to improve water decision-making and adaptation to both drought and water variability. To address this need, we propose a collaborative, mixed-methods, experimental research project to develop high quality climate information and test the efficacy of that information for producer decision-making. The objectives of the project are to 1)Transform existing forecasts and projections into innovative climate information technologies that meet producer needs; 2) Develop a detailed understanding of how these information technologies are utilized in producer decisions about water use and conservation, and adaptation to drought and variability.

Qualifications: Applicants should have an MS in a social-science related field, and a strong interest in the human dimensions and food-energy-water nexus. Applicants must have well-developed communication, writing, and quantitative skills, a strong work ethic, and a desire to work with researchers, agricultural producers, and resource managers.

Application Information: Applicants should send a single PDF with the following to Dr. Elizabeth C. Metcalf or Dr. Alexander L. Metcalf  (1) a cover letter that includes a well-articulated statement of research interests and goals, previous social science research and/or relevant experiences, (2) a resume (including GPA), (3) unofficial transcripts and GRE scores (including percentiles), and (4) contact information for three references. The selected candidate will apply to the University of Montana for admission. View the college's graduate program requirements and application information and UM's graduate application