A new University of Saskatchewan-led (U of S) program that will train leaders to help solve Canada’s current and future water security problems has been awarded $1.65 million over six years through the Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) program of the federal Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).
“This major partnership investment will help prepare young scientists to address pressing global water security challenges such as flooding, drought and reduced water quality,” said U of S Vice-President of Research Karen Chad. “This unique program fills a critical need for improved mentoring and training of leaders in water resource protection and underscores our university’s national and international strength in water security research.”
The university’s NSERC CREATE water security program will receive more than $2.8 million in additional funds from the U of S, University of Waterloo, University of Calgary, University of Manitoba, McMaster University and various industry collaborators.
The program will be aimed at graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from Canada and abroad. The program will prepare more than 60 graduates for diverse careers in government, industry and academia. Participating students may train in programs at the contributing universities.
“We developed the program in co-ordination with many key Canadian water security employers to meet their needs for highly skilled workers where there is currently a shallow candidate pool,” said Cherie Westbrook, project leader and associate professor in the department of geography and planning at the U of S.
The program’s development team includes experts from the disciplines of geography, civil engineering, geoscience, atmospheric science, biology and public policy. All will mentor students through the program, which consists of interdisciplinary courses, internships, lab exchanges and research.
“Through this program, we will establish a new, integrative training model that addresses significant science challenges of water security and enables the transition of students to research careers or productive practitioners in the Canadian workforce,” Westbrook said.
The program involves representatives from the U of S College of Arts and Science, Global Institute for Water Security, School of Environment and Sustainability, College of Engineering, College of Agriculture and Bioresources and Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy. Other public sector agencies and industrial partners will contribute through work experiences and research collaborations.
The first students will begin training in September. Qualified applicants can enter the program as graduate students or postdoctoral fellows at the U of S and at partnering universities in Canada.
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