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July 7, 2006

$2.9 Million National Science Foundation Grant Funds New UMBC PhD Training Program in Urban Water, Environment

Grant to Provide Multidisciplinary Training for 20 PhD Students Over 5 Years

CONTACT: Chip Rose, UMBC News

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded UMBC a $2.9 million grant to establish a new doctoral student training program in “Water in the Urban Environment.”

The NSF funding, part of a highly competitive and nationally prestigious Integrated Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program, will provide 20 Ph.D. students with annual stipends plus assistance with tuition and fees as UMBC recruits and trains teams of graduate students in the ecology, economics, engineering, public health and policy impacts of urbanization on the Chesapeake Bay region’s water resources.

The “Water in the Urban Environment” Ph.D. training program will involve 32 faculty members from nine UMBC departments and six partner institutions. Like all IGERT programs, the UMBC training will emphasize an interdisciplinary team approach for Ph.D. students. The program includes internships in industry, government, and non-governmental organizations.

“The NSF IGERT program is nationally recognized as a mark of academic excellence,” said Claire Welty, director of the Center for Urban Environmental Research and Education at UMBC. “This grant puts UMBC’s environmental programs on the national map in graduate environmental education and offers Marylanders a superb environmental educational opportunity right in their own back yard.”

According to Welty, “We’ve already recruited four outstanding students for the Fall 2006 semester– from North Carolina, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Virginia -- and will recruit an additional five for fall 2007,”

The program takes advantage of UMBC’s longtime research partnerships with public agencies, nonprofits, and private consultants in the field of urban environmental and hydrology studies, as well as the proximity of Baltimore to the Chesapeake Bay. UMBC is home of the field headquarters of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, one of two urban sites in the NSF Long-Term Ecological Research network. In June, UMBC broke ground for the US Geological Survey’s Maryland/Delaware/District of Columbia Water Science Center new home at bwtech@UMBC, the university’s on-campus research and technology park.

The UMBC program is one of approximately 20 new IGERT awards granted this year by the NSF. For more information on the NSF’s IGERT programs, visit

Posted by crose at July 7, 2006 11:54 AM