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University of California-Davis

Superfund Research Program

Interdisciplinary Training Core

Project Leader: Nipavan Chiamvimonvat
Co-Investigator: Frank J. Loge
Grant Number: P42ES004699
Funding Period: 1995-2023

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Project Summary (2017-2022)

Effective scientific training in environmental health now demands cooperation across disciplinary boundaries and engagement of scientists with affected communities. To this end, trainees receive a structured environment where disciplinary research is enriched to provide a working knowledge of disciplines beyond their own so they can cooperate effectively in teams with scientists in other disciplines. They also develop communication skills to exchange technical ideas clearly with scientists and nonscientists alike.

The Training Core of the University of California (UC) Davis Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center supports team-based interdisciplinary research focused on the complex research problems posed by hazardous waste sites and provides professional development and enrichment opportunities for graduate student and postdoctoral trainees. On a competitive basis, the Core provides support for travel to national scientific meetings, for supplies for innovative experiments and for collaborative research with other SRP Centers, especially at Oregon State University. The Core also selects a predoctoral candidate that will funded by campus support funds. Trainees are encouraged to incorporate innovative approaches, new technology and trans-disciplinary science into their research, factors that will influence trainee selection for financial support.

In addition, SRP trainees receive specialized training to develop technical and community engagement skills from Superfund-investigator designed courses, and they receive training in responsible conduct of research, writing, educational outreach, biotechnology, entrepreneurship, media interactions and other career building skills. They participate in national and regional scientific meetings, policy forums, community engagement, and teaching about SRP Center activities to diverse audiences. The extensive cross-training in laboratory research in the projects, the availability of many enrichment activities, and the integration of the Training Core with the Community Engagement Core and Research Translation Core provides a structure for maximal effectiveness of trainee experience. The expected outcome of this Core is to augment the supply of talented environmental scientists who are capable of addressing the multidimensional challenges of toxic substances to which human exposure occurs.

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