figure_1b.jpgThis project is a NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) program that aims to train the next generation of scientists and leaders who can help build resilient communities that are prepared for, can effectively respond to, and quickly recover from damaging hazard events in the southeastern United States.  MS and PhD students will conduct research within an integrated and multidisciplinary framework with the aim to better understand, predict, and communicate the resilience of natural, social and built environmental systems.    

The project anticipates training approximately eighty-five (85) MS and PhD students which will include eighteen (18) funded trainees across earth systems science, engineering, geosciences, forestry and wildlife sciences, climate science, data science, agriculture, and social science disciplines. The students will conduct research within an integrated and multidisciplinary framework with the aim to better understand, predict, and communicate the resilience of natural, social and built environmental systems.  Trainees will learn quantitative and qualitative, analytical, and collaborative skills needed to lead the next generation of scientists and engineers that are able to recognize the data driven decision making needs of stakeholders, as well as to effectively communicate scientific information to stakeholder and public audiences. Trainees will become more sophisticated about inferring the types and magnitudes of climate effects on natural, human and built environmental systems along a variety of temporal and spatial scales while understanding the actionable science needs of relevant stakeholders.   

The project will employ a transformative workshop-studio-internship training approach. Two-way exchanges and direct interactions between stakeholders and trainees will occur, exposing trainees to real-world problems and possible career pathways. In addition to working on their directed research, Trainees will take five core courses: (1) a course on resilience and social vulnerability; (2) a course on science communication; (3) a studio course that brings trainees together with stakeholders to address real-world problems, (4) a summer internship working directly with stakeholders, and (5) a series of workshops focused on structured decision-making approaches. Faculty will work with trainees to incorporate cutting-edge research into their theses and will guide them in reflecting on their experiences through the use of modern teaching approaches. 

Several important features contribute to this NRT's broad impact and are important key programmatic values. This NRT project values inclusion and diversity, outreach and effective communication, actionable science, and engagement of communities and stakeholders for sustainable climage resilience solutions. In order to ensure this project includes a broad range of perspectives in problem solving and effectively communicating about climate hazards and resilience, mutually benefiting partnerships with HBCU faculty will be established and students from diverse backgrounds and underrepresented groups in STEM are encouraged to apply to the program.


To be selected as an Auburn NRT-Climate Resilience Trainee you must complete the application form. Review of applications will begin on March 15, 2020

Funded vs unfunded Trainees 

Trainees can be either funded or unfunded trainees, both are prestigious positions. Once accepted as a Trainee, students are considered part of the NRT Traineeship for the entirety of their graduate studies and are expected to fully participate each year. Funded Trainees receive a $34,000 stipend annually for up to two years, qualify for the Auburn graduate out-of-state tuition fellowship and instate-tuition and Auburn fees are paid during the time they are a paid Trainee. Funded Trainees must either be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Unfunded Trainees do not receive financial support, but are considered Trainees by the NSF. Both groups of students have the same expectations and qualify to participate in all aspects of the program. All trainees are also eligible for departmental support from their home program in lieu of NRT funding.

What will Trainees do? 

  1. Complete Coursework 
    • Ph.D. Trainees will complete a required 9 hours of core courses and 9 hours of elective coursework.  
    • M.S. Trainees will complete 6 hours of core courses and 3 hours of elective coursework.  
    • Trainees will complete courses required for their program of study, recognizing that many of these course may overlap or be appropriate substitutes for courses in their programs. Trainees should discuss their planned coursework with their Research Advisors, Committee members, Departmental Graduate Program Officer (GPO), and NRT faculty to ensure they comply with both NRT requirements and that of their degree programs. 
  2. Complete Interdisciplinary Research Related to Climate Resilience (See research page for more information – include link to research page here)
    • Trainees are expected to completed interdisciplinary research related to climate resilience as a significant part of their thesis and dissertation research.  Trainees research can span an array of sectors (e.g., agriculture, ecosystems, human and social systems, hydrology, etc.), disciplines (e.g., geosciences, forestry, rural sociology, crop and soil science, etc.), and utilize a variety of methodological approaches (e.g., mathematical modelling, spatial science, field collection, social science methods, ect.).  
  3. Complete an Internship with Stakeholder Groups (Required for Ph.D. Trainees Only, Optional M.S. Trainees)
    • Ph.D. Trainees are required to complete an internship with a stakeholder group of their choice that has a need for climate resilience research in their decision making. Internships are to be completed after taking the Studio Course and can be completed any time before a Trainee graduates from their degree program. Trainees will learn about how to conduct coproduced actionable science research as part of their coursework. 
  4. Participate in NRT Programmatic Activities (e.g., workshops, meetings, seminars, etc).
    • Trainees will be engaged in a number of programmatic activities beyond those listed above.  For instance, new Trainees will be required to participate in an a 5-day immersion experience in August before classes begin that will provide an engaging experience about climate impacts in the region.  Additionally, Trainees are required to participate in project workshops that will take place about once a semester.  Trainees will also meet with the project PI and Coordinator bi-weekly as a group.  Other activities such as attending project related seminars, public outreach events, and other activities will occasionally be required.  

All Trainees are expected to make progress towards their degrees as a Trainee. Trainees must be in good standing with their home degree program, the graduate school, and with the NRT program in order to continue as a NSF Trainee (funded or unfunded).