A new initiative by the University of Nevada, Reno to foster creative, interdisciplinary research aimed at answering critical questions related to water resource management and sustainability was approved by the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents.
"The issues surrounding water resources, water quality and ecosystems aren't just single-focus that can be solved by isolated scientific disciplines or individual scientists - they are multidimensional and need collaborative data-driven solutions," said Sudeep Chandra, a College of Science professor who has been leading the formation of the new center.
"The Global Water Center: Solutions for Sustainability" is a response by Nevada scientists to address the increasing pressure put on the Earth's water resources by climate change, invasive species, dam development and diversions, pathogen occurrence, nutrient deposition, pollution, toxic chemicals and increasing human demands for water.
"The Water Center goes beyond research, including teaching and integration with public agencies so as to better inform policy makers who can implement solutions to protecting water resources," Chandra said. "We are promoting a highly active, interdisciplinary unit, which will also educate the next generation of scientists to tackle emerging water issues by providing them with a wide breadth of knowledge and conceptual thinking related to the implementation of projects."
Undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars will work on interdisciplinary research projects, which contributes to experiential learning and augments classroom instruction for specific disciplines.
"We seek faculty for the Global Water Center who are committed to promoting research and training of the next generation of scientists," Chandra said.
The Center invites faculty with relevant research projects to join the effort. So far there are 19 faculty members across colleges, including the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources, the College of Science, the College of Business and the College of Engineering. Members will also include public agency and non-governmental organization representatives.
Projects based in the Global Water Center are in places such as Mongolia, Chile, Antarctica, Guatemala, Mongolia, Vietnam/ Laos, Italy, Hawaii and Uzbekistan. United States locations include the Great Lakes, Crater Lake in Oregon, Lake Tahoe, Shasta Lake, Castle Lake near Mt. Shasta, the Truckee River between Lake Tahoe and Reno, and Alaska.
The Water Center, located on the southeast edge of campus on Evans Street, provides a physical venue, organizational structure and collaborative culture to bring together experts from diverse disciplines across the University, nongovernmental organizations and governmental agencies with the goal to solve large-scale, complex and long-term problems related to water sustainability.
"There is an urgent need to translate basic science and research into actionable solutions accessible to stakeholders at local, regional, national and global scales," Chandra said.