Now entering its fifth year, DWFI’s student support program has distributed nearly two-million dollars to support undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral research across all four University of Nebraska campuses. The awards provide stipends to students working on projects that contribute to the institute’s mission of achieving food security with less pressure on scarce water resources.
With a gift to the University of Nebraska Foundation, The Ivanhoe Foundation established a fund that provides fellowship awards and research assistance for international graduate students pursuing careers in water management, especially in economically emerging countries. Two supported graduate students are researching wheat residue management to enhance soil water conservation, and the role of climate information in making agricultural water management decisions in sub-Saharan Africa, respectively.
The grants program supports interdisciplinary faculty research while enriching the education of students who will one day be scientific leaders in water and food security. Thanks to a matching grant from the Robert B. Daugherty Foundation, the institute can double a donor’s gift to help even more students conduct research and study abroad, as shown in the following examples:
- Robert and Karla Baltzell’s student fund focuses on innovations to improve water usage connected to raising livestock. To date, two undergraduate and two graduate students have received the Baltzell Student Innovator Award for their research in this important area of improving water productivity.
- UNL and UNMC alumna, Dr. Carol Swarts, established the “Exploring New Directions with DWFI and Public Health” student support endowed fund, focusing on medical research, public health and mentoring students. This fund strengthens collaboration between DWFI and the College of Public Health as it relates to water quality and its effects on public health.
- Many students have had the opportunity to pursue advanced research related to improving water use in agriculture, thanks to funding from generous donors, such as Elanore and Dan Decker and Robert and Angenette Meaney. Gifts from these families have supported student research, study abroad experience in Rwanda for the SEEDS Learning Community, and the Rogers Student Poster Competition at the 2019 Water for Food Global Conference, named in honor of International Advisory Panel member Peter Rogers who passed away in 2018.
In collaboration with the University of Nebraska and the Robert B. Daugherty Foundation, the institute has developed a long-term sustainability plan, which will ensure the institute’s work will continue well into the future.