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IGERT: Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship

Portland State University


January 15, 2014

School Location

Portland, Oregon

About the Award

  • Ecosystem Services for Urbanizing Regions is an Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) award by the National Science Foundation and a program of PSU's Institute for Sustainable Solutions.
  • The Ecosystem Services for Urbanizing Regions (ESUR) program is the first IGERT to focus on critical ecosystem service issues related to rapidly urbanizing areas. More than one half of the earth’s nearly seven billion human inhabitants now reside in urban areas and that figure is projected to rise to 70 percent by mid-century. At the same time, over half of the world’s natural ecosystems are declining in capacity, while the remaining healthy systems are threatened by anthropogenic changes. The confluence of urbanization growth pressures and ecological degradation creates environmental, social and economic problems involving complex system feedback loops and spatial and temporal diversity.
  • These are 'wicked' problems, problems so complex that any solution leads to new issues because of complex feedback effects, where even the best option cannot ultimately resolve the problem, but will expose further issues requiring attention. Wicked problems require interdisciplinary approaches and the engagement of community partners to mold solutions and to adaptively manage new issues. The ecosystem services framework - with ecological, social and economic dimensions - offers a holistic conceptual model to understand the science and find effective adaptive management for whole ecological systems. The disciplinary and cultural diversity of the trainees and the supporting faculty team enriches the learning experience for discovering innovative approaches to complex scientific and societal problems at local, national and international scales. The curriculum, research projects, and community partnerships integrate intellectual and experiential knowledge, allowing the ESUR program to create a new generation of scientists and engineers proficient both in frontier science and management approaches for sustaining ecosystem services vital to urbanizing regions.
  • Successful applicants receive IGERT funding for two years based on a competitive awards process. Funding includes a $30,000 annual stipend, fully paid tuition and fees, health insurance and up to $10,500 in research funding to support dissertation research. ESUR IGERT trainees will have dedicated office and common space to facilitate effective interdisciplinary education and research, and travel support to present professional papers. IGERT trainees who wish to conduct research in foreign countries will be assisted in securing funding to cover international travel expenses.


  • RPCV status.
  • Must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
  • Must be seeking a PhD degree in a participating PSU department, school, or program, and must have the support of an ESUR faculty advisor; preference is given to incoming PhD students. However, students currently in their first year of a PhD program at PSU may apply.
  • Other PSU PhD students may participate in the program without ESUR IGERT traineeship support.
  • Please indicate your intentions and eligibility on the application form.

Award Amount

$30,000 annually for two years.

Application Instructions

For more information and to apply, visit http://www.pdx.edu/esur-igert/apply.

Deadline: Applications are due January 15 for the following academic year. Late applications may be considered on a space available basis.

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