Funded through an NSF Germination grant , PI Alexander Dowling is partnering with the Center for Civic Innovation and with INVATI, a local startup incubator, to lead an effort with faculty in the CoE and CoS to build a new learning framework, named the Immersive Training Studio for the Technology-Water-Energy-Environment-Society (TWEES) Grand Challenges, for early doctoral students.
The TWEES program develops an innovation ecosystem for formulating transformative research questions leading to societally-relevant solutions through 1) delivering an interdisciplinary integration seminar; 2) providing an 8-week immersive community engagement experience; and 3) leveraging and expanding trans-disciplinary research culture to recruit and mentor graduate fellows. Through the integration seminar, graduate fellows will be introduced to community-engaged problem-solving, human-centered design, convergence science, and systems engineering to prepare them for the immersive summer experience.
The immersion experience is a facilitated process to engage graduate fellows with community partners to learn the process of developing understanding of the problem, develop hunches, identify barriers, and formulate research questions. The central aim of this program is to develop STEM researchers equipped to tackle the grand challenges of our time. Campus partners include CCI, the Environmental Change Initiative (ECI), the College of Engineering, the Integration Lab (i-Lab), and the GLOBES Certificate Program.