RENEW Initiative supports 40 Minority-Serving Institutions
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced $70 million in funding to support research by historically underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and to diversify scientific leadership.
Through DOE’s Reaching a New Energy Sciences Workforce (RENEW) initiative (BER-RENEW – FOA-0002929), the funding supports internships, training programs, and mentoring opportunities at 65 institutions, including 40 higher-learning institutions that serve minority populations. The initiative aims to ensure that the best and brightest students in the United States have pathways to STEM fields and will have a role in achieving key energy and climate goals.
There were eight awards through the DOE Biological and Environmental Research (BER) program:
- Ernst Cebert, Alabama A&M University: “Strengthening Educational and Research Capacity for Bioenergy Science at Alabama A&M University through a Combination of Education, Research, and Partnerships”
- Barry Hibbs, California State University, Los Angeles: “Catalyzing STEM Training and Partnerships through Comparative Analysis of Transferable Watershed Function in East River and Southern California Watersheds”
- Marina Kalyuzhnaya, San Diego State University: “New Energy Sciences Workforce to Advance Innovations in Sustainable Arid Vegetation”
- Ranjani Kulawardhana, Alabama A&M University: “Applied Geospatial Data-science Initiative for Urban Climate Change Studies”
- Ademe Mekonnen, North Carolina A&T State University: “Sub-Seasonal to Interannual Variability and Predictability of Rainfall Over East Africa”
- Suzanne Sindi, University of California-Merced: “Bridging Disciplines, Empowering Students: A JGI-UC Merced Data Science and Genomics Training Program for the Energy Sciences Workforce”
- Daniel Vrinceanu, Texas Southern University: “Partnership for Fostering Graduate Training in Atmospheric Sciences at Texas Southern University”
- Joseph Wilkins, Howard University: “Co-Designing Foundational Capabilities to Diversify the Scientific Workforce”
“To compete on the global stage, America will need to draw scientists and engineers from every pocket of the nation, and especially from communities that have been historically underrepresented in STEM,” says U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “The RENEW initiative will support talented, motivated students to follow their passions for science, energy, and innovation, and help us overcome challenges like climate change and threats to our national security.”
RENEW leverages DOE’s national laboratories, user facilities, and other research infrastructure to provide training opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty at academic institutions currently underrepresented in the U.S. science and technology ecosystem.
Awards focus on basic research in the physical sciences, including physics, chemistry, materials science, applied mathematics, computer science, biology, and earth and environmental sciences. The projects were selected by competitive peer review under the fiscal year 2023 RENEW Funding Opportunity Announcements. The list of projects and more information can be found on the RENEW website.
Editorial note: In the near future, ASR will write and publish features on RENEW awardees Vrinceanu and Wilkins.# # #
This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, through the Biological and Environmental Research program as part of the Atmospheric System Research program.