Dartmouth IGERT Tackles Pressing Polar Environmental Issues

Dartmouth Now

November 30, 2012

By Keith Chapman

With the last group of fellows arriving on campus this fall, one might think things are winding down for Dartmouth’s IGERT program. But in reality, research and collaboration are starting to truly cook now that all of the fellows are on campus.

“We’re really starting to move rapidly,” says Ross Virginia, the Myers Family Professor of Environmental Science and the director of Dartmouth’s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship program. As IGERT connects research to real world problems, Virginia says, “we’re trying to communicate science in insightful and meaningful ways.”

The program, which studies polar environmental change and supports Arctic research, is funded by a $3 million National Science Foundation grant. Since 2010, the program has facilitated collaboration across departments, conducted research in Greenland, and talked about climate change with diverse audiences—starting a conversation that’s expected to last for years.

IGERT provides two years of funding for PhD students at $30,000 per year. There are a total of 24 fellows—from the fields of engineering, ecology and evolutionary biology, and earth sciences—that connect through IGERT while working toward degrees in their home departments. Fellows take two IGERT core courses, which are taught by professors from different disciplines, and a five-week summer research trip to Greenland that serves as a capstone experience during their first year.

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