Graduate Student Workshop on Socio-Environmental Synthesis: Interdisciplinary Skill Building, Proposal Writing, & Collaborating

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May 31, 2019


Request for Proposals


The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) invites applications for the 7th Graduate Student Workshop on Socio-Environmental (S-E) Synthesis, to be held August 6-9, 2019, in Annapolis, Maryland, USA. Workshop goals are to:

  • Energize and engage students in innovative, team-based, and use-inspired S-E synthesis research
  • Increase student capacities through S-E synthesis training, skill-building, and networking
  • Prepare students for upcoming S-E synthesis research and leadership opportunities at SESYNC

Attendees of this workshop will join 30 of their peers from around the world and across scholarly disciplines. Attendees will participate in highly interactive activities and facilitated discussions as individuals, but will also be given the opportunity while in Annapolis to form the beginnings of diverse, interdisciplinary research teams. 

Workshop sessions and activities will be led by noted S-E synthesis scholars and practitioners, and will range from synthetic proposal writing and research design, to the science of team science, to science communication and delivering actionable outcomes for stakeholders and decision makers. 

Cost & Travel:

There is no cost to attend, but space is limited. Travel to SESYNC will be provided along with private accommodations for up to four nights in accordance with University of Maryland’s travel policies. SESYNC will additionally provide lunch each day and reimburse participants for the costs of breakfasts and dinners during the workshop. 

Graduate Pursuits:

Workshop sessions and topics will equip graduate students with skills, knowledge, networks, and resources integral to advancing interdisciplinary science and collaboration. The workshop is additionally designed to prepare graduate students to lead and/or otherwise participate as part of a Graduate Pursuit team.

The SESYNC Graduate Pursuits Program is a first-of-its-kind program that supports independent research teams composed of 5-7 PhD students from diverse backgrounds and disciplines. Simultaneous to but outside of students’ doctoral degree programs, supported teams conduct data-driven synthesis research under one of SESYNC’s research themes over a 12–18 month period, with a focus on contributing fundamental scientific knowledge, solving synthetic problems, producing peer-reviewed products, and developing actionable outcomes. The Graduate Pursuits Program involves a series of multi-day meetings in Annapolis, MD, long-term and structured engagement with SESYNC staff, and tailored cyberinfrastructure and computational support. Since 2013, SESYNC has supported 28 Graduate Pursuit teams. A list of supported Pursuit teams can be found here.

Submission Instructions: 


The deadline to apply is May 31, 2019 at 5:00pm Eastern Standard Time (EST). Workshop attendees will be selected based on background, academic excellence, motivations, and interests. Non-US citizens and US citizens studying at institutions abroad are encouraged to apply.

Applicants must be currently enrolled first or second-year PhD students. Students from any discipline relevant to S-E research are welcome to apply, but selected attendees will demonstrate strong interests in bridging scholarly disciplines and conducting data-driven, use-inspired synthesis research. Selected attendees will also display a genuine interest and ideally an intent to participate in a SESYNC Graduate Pursuit, and will commit to spending the entirety of the 3.5-day workshop at SESYNC.

Applicants must submit proposals as ONE PDF document via SESYNC’s online form, including:

  • CV (max. 2 pages, including date of enrollment); and,
  • Statement of interest (max. 2 pages)
    • Clearly states the nature and goals of the applicant’s doctoral research and situates that research within the broader mission of SESYNC
    • Articulates the applicant’s motivations for attending the workshop and learning about, developing skills for, and contributing to interdisciplinary, synthetic, actionable research at SESYNC
    • Indicates the SESYNC priority areas (max. 2) under which the student is applying. The following 4 areas will be used to assure a diversity of interests are represented at the workshop and to loosely form affinity groups for interactive sessions:
        • Social and Environmental Dimensions of the Food-Water-Energy Nexus
        • Global Change and Health
        • Freshwater and Ecosystems in a Changing World
        • Socio-Environmental Implications of Large-Scale Infrastructure Projects
      • Briefly outlines a project idea, pressing S-E problem, or available dataset that corresponds to the applicant’s selected research theme(s), and which could serve as a basis for collaboration and/or potentially inspire or otherwise contribute to the development of a Graduate Pursuit.

Questions & Details:

For more information about the workshop and the Graduate Pursuits, visit or email Dr. Nicole Motzer, Graduate Program Coordinator:

EXAMPLE Agenda Outline:


Interactive session: Establishing motivations, expectations & opportunities

Presentation: Introducing S-E synthesis & interdisciplinary collaboration

Interactive presentation: Kick starting S-E synthesis & interdisciplinary collaboration

Interactive session: Practicing S-E synthesis & interdisciplinary collaboration

Interactive session: Building interdisciplinary networks through “speed dating”


Interactive session: Pitching synthetic, interdisciplinary & collaborative research projects

Interactive session: Designing synthetic, interdisciplinary & collaborative research projects

Interactive presentation: Writing synthetic, interdisciplinary & collaborative research proposals

Interactive session: Outlining synthetic, interdisciplinary & collaborative research proposals

Interactive session: Building interdisciplinary networks through “speed dating”


Interactive presentation and session: Communicating synthetic & interdisciplinary science to diverse audiences & across divides

Interactive session: Developing synthetic, interdisciplinary & collaborative research projects & proposals

Presentation: Challenges and opportunities of synthetic, interdisciplinary & collaborative science

Presentation: The art and science of scientific leadership


Interactive session: Refining synthetic, interdisciplinary & collaborative research projects & proposals

Presentation: Presenting projects to panel of peers

Interactive session: Reflecting on motivations, expectations & opportunities


The University of Maryland is an Equal Opportunity Employer
Minorities and Women Are Encouraged to Apply

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