Superfund Research Program
Research Experience and Training Coordination Core
Project Summary (2020-2025)
The overarching goal of the University of Arizona Superfund Research Program (UA SRP) is to improve human health and the environment by investigating the impacts of metal mining. Achieving this goal requires socially responsible mining and the development of transdisciplinary, research-based, paradigm-shifting solutions to the multifactorial problems associated with the increased demand for metals. Such solutions require the continual development of new research capacity. The UA SRP Research Experience and Training Coordination Core (RETCC) supports this effort by preparing interdisciplinary graduates who are equipped to address and mitigate complex 21st century hazardous waste challenges. The success of the UA SRP trainee experience is evidenced by the number of awards trainees receive and by their successful placement upon graduation into sought-after academic, regulatory, and industry positions. UA SRP researchers involve undergraduate and graduate students, as well as postdocs, in their training mission. In addition, their trainees are intimately involved in the scientific discoveries made by the UA SRP and in presenting these discoveries to the scientific community and the general public. The goal of the RETCC is to provide comprehensive training opportunities in science, research translation, community-engaged research, and data management supported by interdisciplinary collaborations among the research projects and cores. To this end, the RETCC provides career enhancement stipends to up to ten trainees each year to participate in:
- A cohort development retreat;
- A new innovative year-long course that combines a monthly colloquium with professional development, data analysis and management, and science communication activities; and
- A community engagement or research translation activity.
Any student or postdoc affiliated with or supported by a UA SRP project/core is eligible to be an official trainee and participate in formal RETCC activities. To achieve its goal, the RETCC has devised the following objectives:
- Provide trainees access to intensive and extensive training opportunities in biomedical and environmental sciences as well as data management and analysis;
- Require trainees to become familiar with the language and culture of multiple scientific disciplines through its colloquium and professional development, data analysis, and science communication curriculum, as well as attendance at professional meetings encompassing different disciplines;
- Require trainees to participate in one research translation or community engagement activity related to the Center’s goals;
- Require trainees to understand best practices in the responsible conduct of research;
- Incorporate community-engaged research concepts and experience into each trainee’s education; and
- Provide multi-mentor apprenticeship opportunities to trainees.
By addressing its objectives, the RETCC is producing passionate, mission-driven, environmentally aware scientists trained to address the social and ethical aspects of resource extraction and to consider the impacts of mining on community health and well-being as well as the production, use, and reuse of metals.