We have partnered with several companies, NGOs and government agencies to serve as advisory members, help guide our research efforts, propose collaborative research topics and apprenticeship opportunities, etc. If you are interested in partnering with InTERFEWS, please contact us.
Many of our partners provide apprenticeship opportunities allowing trainees to gain new skills and knowledge relevant to FEWS, and provide exposure to real world FEWS problems with potential to stimulate novel research ideas. The apprenticeships are intended to be career path experiences and can vary in duration from 3 weeks to 4 months. The experience is meant to be flexible so that it may be tailored to each trainee in order to provide them with skills outside of those they gain via their dissertation research activities. Paid positions are very welcome and encouraged, especially for unfunded trainees, but not a requirement of supervisors.
Once the InTERFEWS leadership team and the entity supporting the apprenticeship agree to the tailored experience for the trainee, the apprenticeship supervisor and the trainee will review a list of of 21st Century competencies important for doctoral degree recipients to enter diverse careers (e.g. work collaboratively in team settings with diverse colleagues; Acquire literacy in the conceptual and methodological approaches needed to address the apprenticeship project in the professional field; etc.). The list will be used as a guide to define the knowledge and skills the student is expected to gain during the apprenticeship. Note that the apprenticeship does not need to address all of the 21st Century competencies listed, but most of the competencies should be addressed. Additionally, the student’s responsibilities, expectations, and workplace requirements should be discussed at this time. Both the apprenticeship supervisor and trainee will sign a contract agreeing to above mentioned items.
Following completion of the apprenticeship, the student will write a short report (1 – 2 pages) documenting their experience and achievement of the agreed upon goals, including any changes made to the goals and the reason for the change. The supervisor will approve the report or require revisions as necessary.
- The trainee is assisted Trees, Water, & People (TWP) in conducting an educational workshop on solar energy for middle schools in US tribal communities. The project emphasizes both technical and social elements of just energy transitions, including the conceptual basics of photovoltaics and the empowerment of youth-led authority over energy futures. The trainee gained competencies in community engagement, oral and written communication with the public, virtual coordination skills, flexibility, and creativity.
- The Colorado Collaborative for Healthy Soils (CCHS) has brought together a diverse group of stakeholders in the agricultural community to inform decision-making surrounding a new soil health bill in Colorado, and new soil health programs which may be established with the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA). The trainee has partnered with CCHS to produce a report for the CDA which synthesizes conclusions and recommendations generated in stakeholder meetings. The report will include a finalized list of soil health indicators, recommended sampling protocols, and recommendations for potential research efforts centered around a statewide health database. The trainee will also develop a sustainability rating scale for farmers, tailored to specific regions and cropping systems. The trainee is expected to gain competencies in team-building, leadership, communication, adaptation of scientific findings to a practical setting, and applied research skills (identifying pertinent research questions, participatory research process, and communication of scientific results across sectors and disciplines).
- The trainee will work with the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) to evaluate ecosystem services provided by peri-urban agriculture and open space. As population grows in the South Platte River Basin (SPRB), urban development will continue to place pressure on peri‐urban land. In order to better understand the trade‐offs between land‐development approaches in the SPRB and inform state‐led land and water conservation initiatives, it is important to fully evaluate the implications of different urban development scenarios. However, ecosystem services provided by peri-urban agricultural and open land are underrepresented in current evaluations of such scenarios. To better inform the update of Colorado Water Plan and other state planning objectives concerning private land conservation, the trainee will work with the CWCB to address the question, “To what extent would ecosystem services provided by peri-urban agricultural and/or open land be altered or diminished if the land was developed?” In addition to ecosystem valuation, the trainee will act as a technical consultant on relevant visualization and mapping approaches that may be used to inform state policy and planning priorities. The trainee is expected to gain competencies in written and oral communication, acquiring literacy in new concepts and methods, identifying policy-relevant research questions and a strategy to answer them, and working collaboratively with colleagues in diverse areas of expertise.
- More coming soon!
External Partner Mentors
InTERFEWS trainees may choose an external mentor to advise their research to include pragmatic outcomes for FEWS topics related to the partner mentor’s industry/organization. The inclusion of external mentors not only aids the program to conduct stakeholder engaged research, but supports trainees to further the interdisciplinary aspects of their research by including ideas and insights from the mentor’s profession. Although the inclusion of an external mentor on the trainee’s team is not required, the InTERFEWS program highly encourages it to get the most out of this interdisciplinary experience.
Below is guidance for the role of external mentors:
- Advise student on research to include components that raise all pragmatic outcomes for FEWS topics related to industry/organization.
- Provide mentorship on professional development skills.
- Provide networking opportunities, if possible.
- Meet (phone or in-person) at least 1-2 times/year to discuss research.
- Sit on student’s dissertation committee as external member, if possible.
The InTERFEWS Program is always looking to collaborate with new partners! Please contact us for more information, or industry partners interested in proposing Food-Energy-Water research projects or ideas for apprenticeships are encouraged to submit using the links below.