Prospective Students

The IGERT Program on Adaptation to change in water resources: science to inform decision-making across disciplines, cultures and scales is recruiting exceptional students (Master’s preferred but all considered) with experience and interest in integrating science and application. Each IGERT trainee will do dissertation research in the headwaters of the Columbia River, in Idaho and Canada, while contributing to a project wide research integration effort. The figure below illustrates how we envision research integration at the scale of the Columbia River Basin system, and any smaller systems within. 

Conceptual model showing the framework for research integration across spatiotemporal scales

In your application, describe your research interest and what you would do for your dissertation, and specifically how you could contribute to research integration. In the first cohort, we plan to accept two trainees each in boxes A, B and C, from among the following disciplines:

  • hydrology and watershed management 
  • environmental science 
  • ecohydraulics
  • fisheries science
  • water resources engineering 
  • climate science 
  • ecology 
  • sociology/rural and community economics 
  • law
  • public policy & management

We are recruiting a total of 24 doctoral students – approximately six students per year for four years. We will recruit three to four cohorts of trainees over the life of the grant. 

Learn more about admission requirements for the IGERT Program.

Trainees are expected to complete the program in four years, and will receive a Ph.D. in Water Resources. Students can do the concurrent J.D./Ph.D. in Water Resources. IGERT funding would then start after three years in Law.


The National Science Foundation provides IGERT doctoral trainees with a stipend of $30,000/year, as well as paying tuition and fees, for the first two years of the program. In the following years, in addition to commitments from faculty mentors to provide additional funding, trainees will be mentored in grantsmanship and fellowship applications to help them identify other sources of funding to complete their doctoral degree.

Overview of Experience

IGERT Trainees will be enrolled in the University of Idaho Water Resources (WR) program, offered by Waters of the West (WoW). This is a university-wide degree program that grants doctoral degrees in Water Resources, with an emphasis in one of three areas - Engineering & Science; Science & Management; and, Law, Management & Policy, with an optional joint JD in partnership with the College of Law. 

Trainees will perform research in the headwater basins of the Columbia River Basin, whose waters serve seven US states, one Canadian province, and numerous indigenous populations. Trainees will work in teams to address four integrating research questions that pertain to the interacting physical, ecological and social systems in the CRB:

  1. How will projected human population dynamics including issues of growth, culture, socio-economics, and law change water demand and quality, and how will feedbacks between water resources (or their regional perceptions) influence human demographics?

  2. How do projected climate impacts on snow storage and stream flow change water availability and quality, and how do agriculture, hydropower, urban uses, and natural systems respond?

  3. What are key space and time scales to optimize both understanding and management of water resources, and how sensitive are they to lags in the physical, biological, and social systems?

  4. How does adaptation at the species or social level combine with feedbacks at the ecosystem level to confer resiliency or instability at generational time scales?

Questions? Please contact the Water Resources Program at (208) 885-2018 or