From Science and Technology to Entrepreneurship and Policy
The most important challenge facing civilization is energy for global prosperity delivered with responsible environmental stewardship. Renewable energy from the sun is the most likely long-term answer. However, scientific and engineering breakthroughs need to happen to make this approach the right answer. In addition, the need to train the next generation of science, technology, entrepreneurship, economics, and policy leaders in systems-level analysis of the problem is particularly acute.
The NSF Integrative Graduate Education Research and Traineeship (IGERT) program has been developed to meet the challenges of educating U.S. Ph.D. scientists and engineers who will pursue careers in research and education, with the interdisciplinary backgrounds, deep knowledge in chosen disciplines, and technical, professional, and personal skills to become, in their own careers, leaders and creative agents for change. The program is intended to catalyze a cultural change in graduate education, for students, faculty, and institutions, by establishing innovative new models for graduate education and training in a fertile environment for collaborative research that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries. It is also intended to facilitate diversity in student participation and preparation, and to contribute to a world-class, broadly inclusive, and globally engaged science and engineering workforce. To date, over 250 programs have been funded through the IGERT mechanism.