LINCOLN, Neb. — The Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska has awarded grants to eleven University of Nebraska–Lincoln faculty to provide assistantships to graduate students doing research that contributes to global water and food security. The projects range from empowering smallholder farmers in Haiti to examining how uranium moves through soil to reach Nebraska’s groundwater.
The grants program, now in its fourth year, supports interdisciplinary faculty research while enriching the education of students who will one day be scientific leaders in the effort to feed the world’s growing population with limited natural resources. The annual grants, totaling $183,000, will support eleven students during the 2017-2018 fiscal year. The grants include matching funds from the faculty, all Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute Faculty Fellows.
“Education and capacity building are essential to the institute’s mission, said Christopher Neale, director of research. “We are pleased to start the fourth year of our student support program and to continue helping Nebraska faculty and their students pursue projects that offer solutions to complex water and food security issues.”
Several YouTube videos are available to learn more about the students and their research:
Nebraska faculty receiving the awards are:
- P. Stephen Baenziger, professor and Wheat Growers Presidential Chair, UNL Agronomy and Horticulture, for the project: Genetic Architecture of Male Traits for Hybrid Wheat Seed Production. Ph.D. student: Nicholas Garst, UNL Agronomy and Horticulture. (See video)
- Yufeng Ge, assistant professor, UNL Biological Systems Engineering, for the project: Integrated Crop and Soil Water Sensor Network to Assist UAS and Soil Water Simulation Modeling in Variable Rate Irrigation. Graduate student: To be recruited.
- James D. Goedert, professor, UNL Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction, for the project: Growing Haiti. Ph.D. student: To be recruited.
- Jesse Korus, assistant professor, UNL School of Natural Resources, for the project: Improving Groundwater Characterization and Management through Integration of Airborne Electromagnetics (AEM) and Borehole Data. Graduate student: Jaqueline Polashek, UNL School of Natural Resources.
- Xu Li, associate professor, UNL Civil Engineering, for the project: Determination of Setback Distance Requirements for Reducing Contaminants in Agricultural Runoff Following the Land Application of Swine Manure Slurry. Graduate student: Maria Cecilia Hall, UNL Civil Engineering.
- Yusong Li, associate professor, UNL Civil Engineering, for the project: Influence of Climate and Agricultural Clustering on Groundwater Contamination by Trace Organics. Ph.D. student: Chuyang Liu, UNL Civil Engineering.
- Adam Liska, associate professor, George Dempster Smith Chair of Industrial Ecology, UNL Biological Systems Engineering, for the project: Livestock Thermodynamics and Agricultural Energy Productivity Gaps in Sub-Saharan Africa. Graduate student: Calvin Harman, UNL Biological Systems Engineering. (See video)
Taro Mieno, assistant professor, UNL Agricultural Economics, for the project: Farmer Adaptation to Low Well Yields in High-productivity Irrigated Agriculture. Graduate student: Paloch Suchato, UNL Agricultural Economics.
- James C. Schnable, assistant professor, UNL Agronomy and Horticulture, for the project: Optimizing the Water Use Efficiency of C4 Grain Crops Using Comparative Phenomics and Crop Models to Guide Breeding Targets. Ph.D. student: Daniel Santana de Carvalho, UNL Agronomy and Horticulture. (See video.)
- Karina Schoengold, associate professor, UNL Agricultural Economics, for the project: The Effects of Institutions and Hydrological Conditions on Optimal Management of a Shared Aquifer: a case study of the High Plains. Graduate student: Qianyu Zhang, UNL Agricultural Economics.
- Karrie Weber, associate professor, UNL Biological Sciences and Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, for the project: Mobilization of Naturally Occurring Uranium into Groundwater. Ph.D. student: Jeffrey Westrop, UNL Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. (See video.)
The Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska was founded in 2010 to address the global challenge of achieving food security with less stress on water resources through improved water management in agricultural and food systems. It is committed to ensuring a water and food secure world while maintaining the use of water for other human and environmental needs.
DWFI is one of four interdisciplinary, university-wide institutes that leverage talent and research-based expertise from across the University of Nebraska system to focus on complex state, national and global challenges.