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NSF Awards UMD $3M to Launch Global STEWARDS Program

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NSF Grant

The National Science Foundation has announced that the University of Maryland received $3 million to establish a new graduate training and research program aimed at creating innovative and sustainable solutions for global food, energy and water systems. Center for Global Sustainability Director Nathan Hultman is serving as one of the co-principal investigators on the Global STEWARDS (STEM Training at the Nexus of Energy, WAter Reuse and FooD Systems) leadership team.

The program will enable UMD to recruit and train more than 60 doctoral students in life sciences, earth system sciences, engineering and computational sciences, natural resource management, and energy and environmental policy.

Trainees in the program will work with faculty mentors from multiple schools at UMD, including the School of Public Policy, A. James Clark School of Engineering, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, School of Public Health and potentially other schools and colleges.

The $3 million award is one of 17 projects that the NSF’s Research Traineeship funded, totaling $51 million, to develop and implement graduate education traineeship models in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

UMD Global STEWARDS will be exposed to a range of topics in three research areas: agricultural resilience through energy-efficient water reuse; food safety and security in variable climate scenarios; and decision support systems to advance food-energy-water adaptation strategies.

Some of the students in the program will also conduct research as part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded program known as CONSERVE: A Center of Excellence at the Nexus of Sustainable Water Reuse, Food & Health.

At least half of the doctoral students selected for the Global STEWARDS fellowship will receive full stipends to support their education and research, and all will benefit from one or more aspects of the NRT program.

Along with coursework, students will participate in internships, workshops and a summer trip to work with partner organizations in Israel or Nepal. To enhance the mentoring and leadership skills of UMD Global STEWARDs, trainees will be paired with undergraduate student mentees.


Global STEWARDS leadership team 

Principal Investigator

Professor Amy R. Sapkota (SPH, Applied Environmental Health)

Co-Principal Investigators

Associate Professor Nathan Hultman (SPP), Director, Center for Global Sustainability

Research Associate Professor Gili Marbach-Ad (CMNS)

Professor Allen Davis (ENGR), Charles A. Irish Sr. Chair in Civil Engineering

Professor Xin-Zhong Liang (CMNS, Atmospheric and Oceanic Science)

Professor Jianghong Meng (AGNR), Director of Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN)

Associate Professor Shirley Micallef (AGNR, Plant Sciences and Landscape Architecture)

Professor Mihai Pop (CMNS, Computer Science)

Associate Professor Amir Sapkota (SPH, Applied Environmental Health)

For Media Inquiries:
Shannon Kennedy
Strategic Engagement Manager, CGS
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