Summer 2023 NSF-REU Application Now Open – Apply Today!

This project is funded from the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Sites program in the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE). The REU program has both scientific and societal benefits integrating research and education. This REU Site award to University of Tennessee Chattanooga, located in Chattanooga, TN, and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in Edwardsville, IL, will support the training of 10 students for 10 weeks for three years. Accepted undergraduate students will conduct research at the following places:

  • YEAR 1 (SU2023): Chattanooga, TN – hosted by the University of Tennessee Chattanooga; apply today!
  • YEAR 2 (SU2024): Edwardsville, IL – hosted by Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
  • YEAR 3 (SU2025): Cleveland, TN – hosted by the University of Tennessee Chattanooga

It is anticipated that over the 3-year duration of this program that a total of 30 students, primarily from schools with limited research opportunities or from an under-represented group, will be trained in the REUs. Students will learn how policy decisions are made and how interdisciplinary research is conducted, with many presenting the results of their work at scientific conferences and to local policymakers and community stakeholders. The research will integrate greenway networks into the broader field of urban science and improve our understanding of the environmental and human associated impacts of greenway networks in urban areas. Assessment of the program will be done through the online SALG URSSA tool. Students will be tracked after the program in order to determine their career paths.

The theme for this 3-year research experience focuses on enhancing environmental resilience and sustainability by examining the interaction between human and natural systems within urban greenway networks. The research is grounded in three fundamental questions: 1) What are the human and ecological drivers of microclimate? 2) What are the human usage patterns in urban greenway networks? 3) How can empirical evidence on urban greenway dynamics inform the broader scientific community and local community stakeholders on ways to mitigate environmental impacts and social disparities in cities? Students will work in interdisciplinary teams and assess how greenways vary based on social and ecological characteristics of the greenway in each respective city. Results from each team will be combined into a larger dataset which will be used to assess greenway characteristics in varying city sizes. The findings will be shared with community leaders and stakeholders to inform them of the current impacts of their greenway system and potential opportunities for expanding the greenway network. Students will learn and apply skills related to: biodiversity; data collection, analysis, and visualization; geographic information systems (GIS); and, evidence-based policymaking. These skills will then be used to better understand the human and biological drivers of microclimate variation within greenway networks and inform policymakers as to the best ways to mitigate environmental impacts and social disparities in order to create more resilient cities.

This award reflects NSF’s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation’s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

REU applications for SU2023 are due by February 28, 2023apply today!

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