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NSF awards $500K for the Household Water Insecurity Experiences Research Coordination Network (HWISE-RCN)

The National Science Foundation, Geography and Spatial Sciences Program, recently awarded $500,000 to support the Household Water Insecurity Experiences (HWISE) Research Coordination Network to operate at the strategic intersection of social science discovery, policy, and practice to address the complex dynamics of household water insecurity across the globe.  The RCN’s mission is to build a community of practice and collaboration that fosters key analytics and theoretical advances coupled with the development of research protocols and standardized assessments to document, benchmark, and understand the causes and outcomes of water insecurity at the household scale.  Our work advances the goal of sustainable and socially equitable water policy and interventions through the robust evaluation of key water security problems. We pay explicit attention to causes and outcomes of household water insecurity and translation of research outcomes into meaningful and useful products for practitioners, communities, and decision-makers.

Lead by Wendy Jepson (Texas A&M), Justin Stoler (University of Miami), Amber Wutich (Arizona State University), and Sera Young (Northwestern University), the RCN developed from an existing interdisciplinary collaboration among the key personnel on the HWISE Scale (link) and broadened collaborative publication and research relationships, that includes Leila Harris (UBC, EDGES), Jessica Budds (University of East Anglia), and Chad Staddon (UWE Bristol), among many others.  Current HWISE collaborators, which have grown organically around ad-hoc workshops (funded by our respective institutions and institutes) and sponsored projects to develop a household water insecurity scale, now include over 40 scholars from 25 U.S. and international institutions across the career spectrum (post-doctoral researchers and early career scholars to middle and advanced researchers) and social science disciplines.  In short, our effort to date is only the beginning of a productive research collaborative network to advance conceptual and methodological frontiers in water security and environmental social science, more broadly.

The National Science Foundation support will expand our ad-hoc HWISE community of scholars into the HWISE Network in order to significantly advance discovery and research infrastructure in geography and environmental social sciences as related to water. Objectives that we will advance in this five-year funding cycle include, but are not limited to, three major objectives:

  1. Integrate geospatial methodologies into existing HWISE research.
  2. Evaluate how HWISE methods and concepts can be translated to household water insecurity experiences in high- and middle-income regions (e.g. North America, Europe).
  3. Establish and cultivate key pathways to translate HWISE discoveries to NSF research priority efforts.

The scope of the HWISE Network proposed activities is global and cross cultural, as we recognize the important advances in water sustainability and policy development that originate in diverse environmental contexts and regions. Consequently, the HWISE Network will draw from scholars, policy makers, and practitioners globally. 

Steering Committee Members include: Ellis Adjei Adams (Georgia State University), Alexandra Brewis (Arizona State University), Jessica Budds (University of East Anglia), Vanessa Empinotti (Universidade Federal do ABC, Brazil), Ed Frongillo (University of South Carolina), Halla Ghattas (American University of Beirut), Leila Harris (University of British Columbia), Michelle Kooy (IHE Delft Water Education), Katie Meehan (University of Oregon), Roseanne Schuster (Arizona State University), Chad Staddon (UWE Bristol), Farhana Sultana (Syracuse University), Michael Tiboris (Chicago Council on Global Affairs), and Cassandra Workman (Workman Consultants, Tanzania).

Our new program coordinator is Amy Uyen Truong (Texas A&M University). For more information, please contact hwise.rcn@gmail.com.

More information to come on our workshops, training, and collaborative opportunities! We hope to have a web platform up soon!

In the meantime, you can find the HWISE Scale research (PI Sera Young) at the following site: https://sites.northwestern.edu/hwise/

 

 

Society of Women Geographers Awards Swetha Peteru Prestigious Pruitt Fellowship

Society of Women Geographers has awarded Swetha Peteru, one of my doctoral candidates and Applied Biodiversity Science Associates, the prestigious Pruitt Fellowship for her dissertation research.  Swetha’s doctoral research examines how tropical agroforestry regimes create divergent biotic landscapes, looking at both plant species and genetic diversity.  Her cutting-edge work ties human activity to genetic diversity by her novel integration of mixed methods in social science, biogeography, and landscape genetics. Her study requires interviews, mapping as well as the next generation sequencing (NGS) technology to analyze the relationship between agroforestry practices and biodiversity outcomes. Her work tests the long-claimed but difficulty to verify benefits of agroforestry as a viable conservation with development model.

Swetha investigates how agroforesty reshapes landscapes at the genetic level in the Chanchamayo province of Junin, Peru.  She will be spending the fall semester in the field collecting the last data required so that she can begin writing the dissertation.

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Highland Amazonian forests near the Chanchamayo River.

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Congratulations Audrey and Heather!

I am pleased to announce that Audrey Joslin, a recipient of the NSF DDRI award, also accepted the Texas A&M University Dissertation Year fellowship to complete her doctorate by August 2015!

Heather Lee also heard that her project on the water soft path in Central Mexico is to be recommended for funding through the NSF DDRI competition.

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