Arizona State University, Tufts University, and the University of Maryland are each offering a PhD through NSF INFEWS/T1: Decision-Driven Advances in Integrated Assessment Modeling of the Food-Energy-Water Nexus. The Graduate Research Assistant Position will focus on developing innovative approaches to integrated planning of FEW systems in the context of major international sustainability challenges in Argentina and Uruguay.
Arizona State University
Within the context of the broader project, the specific goal for this research is to advance social scientific understanding of the role of institutions and associated systems of knowledge production, exchange and use on the co-development and application of integrated assessment models for subregional food-energy-water decision making. The research team will use institutional and social network analysis to understand institutional connectivity among FEW managers. Also, the project will include a knowledge-to-action analysis to understand managers’ mental models of FEW systems as well as their evaluations of the modeling framework. This research is designed to promote effectiveness of sciencepolicy interactions by enhancing scientific credibility, decision-relevance, and perceived legitimacy of the modeling activities as well as the applicability, comprehensiveness, timing, and accessibility of the research for decision making.
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Within the context of the broader project, the specific goals for this research are to identify and characterize uncertainties confronting sub-regional infrastructure decisions, to identify planning portfolios that are robust to those uncertainties, and to communicate FEW system vulnerabilities to stakeholders. The research will include exploration of how uncertainties acting at vastly different scales interact and propagation to impact sub-regional FEW systems in different Latin American contexts. The research will also include multi-objective robust decision making (MORDM) analyses for sub-regional planning problems in Argentina and Uruguay, culminating in a web-deployable tool for stakeholder engagement. This research aims to understand which factors, from global to regional, are most important for regional FEW system decision making, and to facilitate joint institutional decision making.
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University of Maryland
Some of the most important challenges that society faces, such as climate change and sustainable development more broadly, are strongly shaped by FEW system decisions made at the scale of river basins and sub-basins. However, regional FEW system planning is also shaped by national and global dynamics, such as climatic and socioeconomic change. The student will contribute to developing a novel modeling platform that can effectively couple sub-regional FEW resource and infrastructure systems together at the regional level and connect them to national and global socioeconomic and climatic forces to allow for comprehensive scenario exploration and uncertainty analysis. A unique aspect of this research will be to incorporate representations of multi-sector human institutions and decision making (e.g., regarding resource allocation and infrastructure deployment) into the computer modeling tools. The student will work with stakeholders in Argentina and Uruguay to co-develop these decision-relevant modeling advances.