This IGERT program is part of the flagship effort by the National Science Foundation to educate U.S. Ph.D. natural and social scientists and engineers beyond their normal disciplinary boundaries to help solve some of the world’s most complex problems.
National studies have documented the advantages of IGERT training for Ph.D. students. Completion of their programs takes one half year less on average than comparable non-IGERT programs. IGERT graduates surpass non-IGERT graduates in integrating disciplines and place high value on their training. For these and other reasons, graduates of IGERT programs report their training gave them a competitive edge in the job market. Learn more at: www.igert.org

‘Disciplinary Plus’ Training

ESUR trainees will be trained to apply interdisciplinary natural and social science and engineering theory, methods and management approaches. An experienced interdisciplinary faculty team offers a pedagogically innovative curriculum that integrates ecological, social, and economic concepts and explicates the crucial role of values and ethics. The ESUR educational program comprises six inter-related components:(1) a two-week summer IGERT Field Institute (ESR 690); (2) three core courses; (3) a series of discussion-based seminars; (4) a proposal writing seminar; (5) a field internship; and (6) an opportunity to co-teach an undergraduate course on ecosystem services. The core courses include:

  • ESR/ SOC  692: Foundations of Ecosystem Services
  • GEOG/ MGMT 694: Methods and Models in Ecosystem Services
  • ESR/ USP 696: Applications of Ecosystem Service Analysis

By organizing the components tightly around the ecosystem services theme, our structure allows doctoral students to build capacity each academic term and meet their disciplinary requirements in two years, while providing exposure to multiple career opportunities, including those outside the academy. IGERT trainees also have the opportunity to enroll in Portland State University’s Graduate Certificate in Sustainability to contextualize and broaden their Ph.D. programs. In addition to the formal coursework, ESUR trainee dissertations will include at least one co-authored chapter on an interdisciplinary topic, deepening student understanding of the mutually supportive relationship between the natural and social sciences, and providing training for collaborative projects.

Engaged Scholarship for Sustainable Solutions

Frontier sustainability science emphasizes the importance of problem-based scholarship in interdisciplinary research, education and training. Portland State University is a national leader is fostering student success through engaged service and learning. The ESUR IGERT program features extensive community engagement in the Portland, Oregon region, one of the world’s leading sustainability laboratories.  A diverse array of collaborating local, state and national government agencies and private non-profit and business partner organizations (see below) offer varied internship opportunities to ESUR trainees. Students from multiple disciplines work in teams on internships and research projects with the partner organizations to create an interdisciplinary approach that integrates the latest on-the-ground knowledge of the issues. ESUR trainees who wish to pursue an internship or project in an international setting will be assisted in seeking funding support to complete the project.

Career Opportunities

Building on their comprehensive educational program and internships, ESUR trainees will participate in collaborative interdisciplinary team research projects to prepare them for leadership roles in scientific and management organizations.  Career paths include academic appointments in their field disciplines or interdisciplinary programs, research and management positions with local, state and federal government agencies, and applied research and administrative responsibilities with non-governmental and business organizations.

Participating Ph.D. Programs

    Portland State University offers an array of Ph.D. fields of study to complement the ESUR IGERT training:
    • School of the Environment:
      • Environmental Science and Management
      • Geography
      • Geology
    • Civil and Environmental Engineering
    • Community Health (in collaboration with Public Administration)
    • Economics (in process; 2014)
    • Public Administration
    • Urban Studies and Planning
    • Sociology

    Applicants must apply to the participating field department or program for admission as well as the ESUR program. If admitted into the ESUR program, students must have at least two IGERT program faculty members, including their advisor, on their examination and dissertation committees. As mentioned above, the student’s dissertation must contain at least one co-authored chapter with another ESUR Fellow.