Superfund Research Program
Cross-Disciplinary Training "Without Borders"
Project Summary (2006-2010)
During the last decades human ingenuity and activity have unfortunately resulted in the proliferation and the release of new man-made chemicals into the environment. As we now know, such pollution problems are not isolated and local, but found in every nation and on a global level. This poses a magnitude of new questions. For example, are these pollutants transported by air or water to distant locations? Are these chemicals harmful to human health? Do they threaten more sensitive wildlife species? How can we detect contamination in the environment? What can we do to hasten their destruction? Since environmental contamination touches everyone's life, it also raises other issues for scientists and engineers such as which laws deal with this issue? Which state, federal or international agencies should be involved? How can scientists and engineers inform and work with the public to alleviate fear and/or prevent harm? Solutions to environmental problems are therefore a team effort. Thus, future scientists and engineers need (i) thorough training in their specific field, (ii) basic knowledge about socioeconomic, legal, engineering and science aspects outside their field, and (iii) an ability to communicate and cooperate with specialists in other disciplines and societies. These are the goals of the Cross-Disciplinary Training "Without Borders" core project. This training core builds on successful collaborations among the ISBRP faculty and with international colleagues. It enhances or establishes new activities among these scientists that promote crossdisciplinary education, and uses new information technology to connect students and faculty around the world. Graduate students are recruited into the program on the basis of their ability, motivation and academic record. Emphasis is placed on identifying and recruiting qualified individuals from underrepresented groups in science and engineering. Other students, post-docs and professionals are encouraged to participate by using modern information technology. This SBRP has the ideal basis to develop such a training program for the scientist of the 21st century.