UNK students get Daugherty grants for water use, food production research

Two students at the University of Nebraska at Kearney are working on projects to contribute to a more water and food secure world, thanks to grants from the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska.

Alyssa Dillon

Biology majors Alyssa Dillon and Seth Springer, both of Fremont, each received grants for their research projects. Amounts of the grants are not being disclosed.

Dillon and Springer are characterizing abiotic and biotic components of lakes in the Willow Creek drainage of Brown County and working with faculty fellow Julie Shaffer, professor of biology.

In total, the institute awarded eleven grants to University of Nebraska faculty for student-led projects.

Seth Springer

The $310,000 grants program, which is in its first year, supports the interdisciplinary research of the institute’s Faculty Fellows while enriching the education of students who become scientific leaders in the effort to feed the world’s growing population with limited natural resources.

The funding covers two postdoctoral fellows and nine graduate and undergraduate student research assistantships from July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015. The projects range from testing the drought tolerance of wheat roots to deploying robots for aerial water sampling.

“Education is an essential part of the institute’s mission,” said Christopher Neale, director of research. “We are excited to roll out our student support program and help faculty and their students pursue projects that will advance the University of Nebraska’s efforts to provide solutions for global water and food security.”

Profiles of the students’ research are available on the institute’s website at http://waterforfood.nebraska.edu/2014-2015-student-and-postdoctoral-grantees.


The Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska was founded in 2010 to address the global challenge of achieving food security with less stress on water resources through improved water management in agricultural and food systems. We are committed to ensuring a water and food secure world while maintaining the use of water for other human and environmental needs.
The University of Nebraska has invested in four interdisciplinary, University-wide institutes — including the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute — that leverage talent and research-based expertise from across the University of Nebraska system to focus on complex state, national and global challenges.

Contact: Molly C. Nance, director of communication and public relations, 402.472.5512 or mnance@nebraska.edu

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