A major source of support for the Center for Water and the Environment has been provided by the Centers for Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) program at the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF CREST grant provides $5 million in research and education funding over a 5-year period.
The UNM CREST Center is focused on increasing the participation of underrepresented minorities (URM) in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professions while conducting cutting-edge research into technological and engineering-based solutions to problems with water and the environment. The research is organized around 4 themes, as shown in the figure at right.
• The Watersheds theme will investigate impacts of watershed management on hydrologic processes and ecosystem services and how watershed management may need to change in light of declining water availability.
• The Treatment Technologies theme will investigate biofilm-based wastewater treatment to protect receiving waters from nutrients and micropollutants and membrane-based water treatment to allow poorer quality sources like brackish groundwater and wastewater to be used for the potable water supply.
• The Water and Energy theme will investigate the interrelationship between energy resource development (such as in-situ uranium mining and hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas production) and water availability and contamination.
• The Integration and Decision-Making theme will incorporate decision-making processes and integrate non-technical issues into the other themes, to address water quality and quantity issues that accounts for societal, economic, policy, regulatory, and legal factors.
Descriptions of specific research projects can be found on our Projects page.
An integral part of the CREST Center is to increase the participation of underrepresented minorities in STEM professions. An integrated, coordinated set of activities to recruit, retain, and graduate students from underrepresented groups will be implemented, as reflected in the diagram below. The Center will leverage existing programs at UNM, including advising, tutoring, scholarships, and multicultural programs. The Center will also developing new capabilities, including the WAVE, a high-school introduction to engineering course, a summer field class, and a water competition.
Descriptions of these activities can be found on our Outreach page.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number 1345169. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.