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NSF Press Release


NSF PR 03-10 - January 16, 2003

Media contact:

 Bill Noxon

 (703) 292-8070

Program contact:

 Lawrence Goldberg

 (703) 292-8339

NSF Funds Unique Security Program Among 21 New Awards for Multidisciplinary Graduate Traineeships

A unique multidisciplinary program at the University of California (UC) will train a new generation of Ph.D. specialists in policy making, nuclear threats and international security analysis -- trained experts who will be prepared to replace a Cold War generation of strategic thinkers, analysts and policy leaders, many of whom are retiring.

A $2.9 million National Science Foundation (NSF) Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) grant will be the foundation of UC's collaborative six-year, multi-campus initiative designed to develop doctorate-level Public Policy and Nuclear Threats Fellows through the UC San Diego-based Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation.

NSF is an independent federal agency with a $5 billion budget that supports scientific research and education in science and engineering disciplines from K-12 through graduate-level programs.

UCSD is receiving one of 21 IGERT awards NSF is making in 2003, of which 18 were announced today in a milestone fifth year of the doctorate training program. Schools funded under IGERT agree to undertake a cultural change in graduate education by establishing new models for training Ph.D. candidates in a highly collaborative research environment allowing broad experiences for students that transcend traditional academic and research boundaries. Three more awards will be completed in the next few weeks, which will raise to 100 the total number of IGERT grants NSF has made to 65 institutions since the program began. The awards are for five years, and range between $2.7 million and $2.9 million each.

The IGERT award to fund fellows at the Institute for Global Conflict and Cooperation is unique in that it will provide a new generation of international expertise and leadership. According to the institute's research director, Susan Shirk, a political science professor at UCSD, the events of Sept. 11, 2001, require a "new community of scholars and practitioners trained in strategic analysis, nuclear policy and the role of arms control." The students in this IGERT-funded initiative will be trained in two, five-year cohorts during 2003 and 2004, graduating a group of new doctorate-level analysts and policy makers slated to become future leaders, particularly in foreign affairs.

"Whether it is to meet national needs in a post-Sept. 11 environment, or to provide Ph.D.s in more traditional scientific and engineering venues, IGERT is a flagship NSF program that is helping train doctoral-level scientists and engineers with experiences that both expand and mesh disciplines, and meet the career demands that relentless changes in trends, tools, technology and tasks have placed upon them," NSF director Rita Colwell explains.

An IGERT award to Drexel University in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania will lead to a new class of engineers and scientists educated and trained in another emerging field - nanoscale science and engineering. At Drexel, team-based research projects at the nanoscale will draw graduate students from both campuses to participate in: new course and seminar offerings; multi-disciplinary research; and internships with industry, federal labs, and leading universities in Europe, Asia and South Africa.

At the University of Maine, an interdisciplinary, inter-institutional degree program is being created in functional genomics of modern organisms. Future Ph.D. specialists emerging from this program will be trained to move beyond DNA sequencing to an understanding of how information encoded in a genome determines the development and functioning of living organisms. Students will obtain significant training in the physical and computational sciences. They will work with a program committee and a paired mentoring system - a primary mentor who is in the role of a traditional graduate advisor and a secondary mentor from the student's secondary discipline in order to develop a balanced program toward a Ph.D.

In another project, the University of Delaware is training graduate students in emerging biotechnology fields by pooling knowledge in scientific, engineering and business disciplines. This training will include laboratory experiences in various university departments, industrial internships and relationships with companies ranging from start-ups to large global leaders, and problem-solving projects employing teams of science, engineering and business students. Lectures and seminars on ethics bring into focus current social and political issues within the field.


Editors: Below is a list of the new 2003 IGERT awards with short summary descriptions. Details on each program may be seen by entering the NSF home page at: In the Quick Search space provided, enter the IGERT award number for each institution listed below.

For more general information on IGERT, see:


  • Boston University - Interface between graduate students, academic faculty and research labs provides students with access to state-of-the-art high performance computing facilities and research (0221680)
  • City University of New York (CUNY) City College - Joint program in soft materials at City College and Columbia University in areas spanning from complex fluids to soft solids (0221589)
  • Colorado State University - Program in interdisciplinary mathematics, ecology and statistics for ecology students interested in quantitative methods and math/statistics students with interests in ecology (0221595)
  • Columbia University - Program in applied mathematics and earth & environmental sciences. Graduate students must satisfy departmental requirements and earn a minimum number of credits in both mathematical and earth science courses (0221041)
  • Drexel University - Nanoscale engineering and science program in a one- campus, two-university program to establish a new class of scientists and engineers who will participate in multidisciplinary, team-based research projects (0221664)
  • Duke University - New curriculum in biologically inspired materials to help bridge the gap between research in current biomedical and bioengineering programs and to revolutionize the way engineering and life sciences are taught at the graduate level (0221632)
  • Georgia Tech - Team-based program to provide students: skills and multidisciplinary perspective to succeed in industry; ability to produce dissertations with technical merit and market relevance; capabilities in management, law and economics to improve understanding of how innovation works (0221600)
  • Ohio State University - Program will integrate the latest research developments in molecular engineering of microdevices (MEMD) into a practical curriculum and impart to students the necessary multidisciplinary skills and global awareness needed to promote broad impacts on society (0221678)
  • Texas Tech. University - Multidisciplinary program in wind science and engineering seeks to produce highly trained professionals in many facets of research, planning and decision making with emphasis given to economics and risk management (0221688)
  • University of California at San Diego - Trains fellows in public policy and nuclear threats to build a new cadre of scholars and practitioners in strategic analysis (0221706)
  • University of California at Santa Barbara (2 awards) - (1) An interdisciplinary program of research and education in computational science and engineering to address the multiscale nature of various problems in fluids and materials, and their computational requirements (0221715) (2) Graduate program in interactive digital multimedia in which students will study the creation, encoding and distribution of multimedia content and applications within education, communications, arts and entertainment (0221713)
  • University of Delaware - Program designed to prepare science and engineering doctoral students, and those seeking an MBA, to apply knowledge of different scientific, engineering and business disciplines to the rapidly growing field of biotechnology (0221651)
  • University of Florida - Program designed to serve as a model for solving critical usage and conservation problems facing tropical forests. Students study ecology, social science, history/culture of research regions and language (0221599)
  • University of Maine - Initiating an inter-institutional Ph.D. program in functional genomics and model organisms, moving students to a deeper understanding of molecular interplay through students' knowledge of genomics, molecular biology, biophysics and computational techniques (0221625)
  • University of Michigan - Program in conjunction with The Santa Fe Institute to train social scientists interested in institutional performance and design, increasing their understanding of how diverse agents behave and adapt when their interactions are structured by various institutional constraints (0221611)
  • University of South Florida - Ph.D. program in sensory knowledge and interface science, investigating the molecular structure of human skin, coupling advances in biomedical engineering, microsystems and information technology, leading to new developments in micro, nano and medical technologies (0221681)
  • University of Utah - Cross-disciplinary research training in mathematical biology that seeks to give students a Ph.D. in mathematics with a solid expertise in contemporary biology for use in numerous academic and industrial research settings (0217424)




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