07.20.20 – Ames, Iowa: The Iowa Water Center invites faculty, research staff, and graduate students from all colleges and universities located in Iowa to join the Water Scholars Program. Through this program, we seek to bring together interdisciplinary scientists for professional development, networking, and to expand the boundaries of water resources research for the benefit of science and the public.

Water is one of our most valued resources – without it, there would be no life. Degradation of water quality and increased flooding in some areas in the state are often sourced from cities and farms that are managed without watershed management in mind. In Iowa, we have areas with swelling rivers and parched soil. Water touches all disciplines, requiring many perspectives to solve complex water resource management problems, making it a top priority for many interdisciplinary research opportunities.

Water Scholars Learning Community topics include science communication to the public and policymakers, building competitive and diverse research teams, grant writing, arts and the environment, and more. The community is developed so that members meet faculty and staff across a variety of disciplines and institutions as well as to encourage discourse regarding science and information dissemination to the public. Participation in this program is free. In accordance with public health guidelines for COVID-19, all 2020-2021 programming will be held virtually through video conferencing.

Year-round programming includes:

  • Monthly newsletters with grant opportunities and news specific to water resource researchers
  • A monthly book club to discuss water resource literature
  • Spring professional development and networking sessions with guest presenters

Water Scholars started as a pilot program at Iowa State University for the 2019-2020 academic year. Approximately 37 faculty, staff, and graduate students from 14 departments on campus within 23 different areas of water resources participated in the program. As a result of the program, several new research teams were developed. Feedback from program participants stated that these presentations provided new information and new ways to consider those topics, including using new strategies to connect with policymakers regarding publicly funded research and how to encourage legislator awareness of field research projects occurring within their political districts.

Signups for Water Scholars are welcomed on a rolling basis, but to get the most out of programming, we encourage faculty and staff to sign up by September 1st. Sign up here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6GYSKXR

Questions can be directed to Hanna Bates, Program Coordinator, Iowa Water Center at hbates@iastate.edu.

The Iowa Water Center is a federally funded organization, part of the National Institutes of Water Resources. Located on the Iowa State University campus, it is one of 54 institutes located throughout the United States and U.S territories. The purpose of the Iowa Water Center is to identify water-related research needs, provide outreach and education opportunities, and disseminate information about Iowa’s water resources to the public to form better policies and everyday practices.