Thursday, August 30, 2012

CI-WATER Symposium to focus on research, collaboration and education

Receiving grants is often difficult and hard-earned, especially in states like Wyoming and Utah. This year however, all the hard work has paid off, as Wyoming and Utah were rewarded a $6 million dollar, three-year collaborative grant. The grant, called Cyberinfrastructure Water (CI-WATER), aims to develop high-performance cyberinfrastructure tools for simulating the effects of climate, land-use and population changes on future water availability in the upper Colorado River basin, and to transfer these tools to interested private and governmental stakeholders. Next week, it will host its first annual symposium in Salt Lake City. The Symposium, scheduled for September 5th and 6th, will get the water conversations flowing, the research projects rolling and outreach opportunities going.
CI-WATER is a shared grant between the University of Wyoming, Brigham Young University, the University of Utah and Utah State University. The Symposium will feature researchers from all universities involved as well as keynote speaker Brad Udall. Mr. Udall is the director of Western Water Assessment, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administratio (NOAA) funded program designed to help create forecasts about the climate.The keynote address will focus on the importance of modeling and model building within the scientific realm and the necessity of building models properly in order to gain insights into physical processes. Mr. Udall’s address will look at the ways models have been used in the recent past and what models are and are not capable of portraying. The address directly applies to CI-WATER because a huge part of the grant involves watershed modeling. The keynote address is scheduled for the afternoon of September 5th and will be followed by two sessions moderated by researchers from the University of Wyoming and Brigham Young University.
Dr. Chris Emdin
Dr. Fred Ogden from the University of Wyoming will moderate the Industry Panel. This panel will provide the science community and other western water stakeholders an industry perspective on the goals of the CI-WATER project. Following the panel, Norm Jones from Brigham Young University will moderate research team discussions. These discussions will highlight what the various research teams are working on and where the research is going.
Day one of the Symposium will end with a tour of the Natural History Museum of Utah and an educational event featuring Dr. Chris Emdin of Columbia University. Dr. Emdin’s talk will focus on teaching science to students and getting younger generations interested in science and the STEM fields.He was recently featured in a Utah public radio broadcast about his work and philosophy on science education.
The second day of the Symposium, September 6th, is primarily a work day for all members involved with the CI-WATER grant. Presentations and discussions regarding research and work on the grant will be shared for the rest of the Symposium.
Over the next three years, scientists from all four universities will collaborate on various aspects of the grant, which will not only find sustainable solutions to water resource problems, but also promote education, research and science. The Symposium will help facilitate all aspects of the grant.

By Kali S. McCrackin
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