RENEW aims to build foundations for research at institutions that have been historically underrepresented in the Office of Science (SC) research portfolio. The initiative provides opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty at academic institutions not currently well represented in the science and technology fields to gain hands-on science training and experience.

All proposals include the development of teaching materials and detailed plans of how to foster and maintain the new programs and collaborations that focus on supporting institutions with a large number of students from communities underrepresented in the STEM fields. They also emphasize the need to encourage and prepare younger generations of scientists to tackle the energy, water, and ecosystem challenges that the climate crisis will bring.

EESA Senior Scientist Benjamin Gilbert collaborated on one of the awarded proposals with scientists (Liaosha Song, PI) from California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB). The proposal, titled “Nanopore Characterization for Geologic Storage of H2 and CO2,” emphasizes the need to transition away from fossil fuels and towards carbon-free energy sources and acknowledged that the energy transition will require a new generation of skilled geoscientists. The award will help the team develop a program to provide students at CSUB with opportunities for geoscience education, hands-on research experience, and mentoring, with a goal of increasing the number of students pursuing graduate degrees from this university that has one of the most diverse student populations in the California State University System.

EESA Research Scientist Alan Rhoades collaborated with scientists (Laurie Huning, PI) from California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), on another awarded proposal, titled, “Climate-Ready Engineers for Water Resources Applications (CREW-RA).” The proposal details how climate change is expected to intensify the hydrological cycle and change the frequency and severity of extreme events such as drought, flooding, and heatwaves. The project will create a four-year CREW-RA program at CSULB, a Minority Serving Institution, in collaboration with the EESA Calibrated & Systematic Characterization, Attribution & Detection of Extremes (CASCADE) Science Focus Area (SFA). The program will prepare historically underrepresented groups for STEM careers that can help address challenges to freshwater resources caused by climate change in the coming decades.

EESA Senior Scientist Ken Williams collaborated with scientists (Jonathan Coop, PI) from Western Colorado University (Western) and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory on the awarded proposal titled, “From forests to floodplains to functioning watersheds: Catalyzing collaborative research and inclusive training partnerships between Western Colorado University and DOE’s National Laboratory system.” This proposal explains how the climate crisis is vastly affecting Earth’s forested biomes, and how understanding changing environmental processes and functions is critical to mitigating and adapting to changes in these critical ecosystems. The project aims to develop collaborative research and inclusive training programs at Western, an institution that serves disadvantaged and diverse students, that will help engage faculty, undergraduate, and graduate students with National Lab scientists, with a focus on land management’s impact on ecosystem health and resilience to climate change.

Click here to learn more about DOE’s RENEW Initiative.