New Sustainable Water Development Grad Program

IIHR graduate student Luiza Notini de Andrade explores a local miscanthus field—one source of biofuel used at the UI Power Plant. The Sustainable Water Development graduate program is another way the university is demonstrating its commitment to sustainability.

Luiza Notini stands in front of a miscanthus field, smiling and facing the camera.

Originally Posted on: June 9th, 2017

A new graduate program in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Iowa will offer a revolutionary new approach to engineering education: the Sustainable Water Development (SWD) Graduate Program. With $3M in funding from the National Science Foundation Research Traineeship program, the SWD program will prepare students to meet the resource challenges of communities most in need as a professional engineers, researchers, or educators.

“This is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ MS/PhD program,” says Michelle Scherer, a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “Students can tailor the curriculum to fit their unique interests and career goals — everything from politics to public health, chemistry to microbiology, and informatics to entrepreneurship and beyond — all while earning a generous student stipend.” Scherer is co-PI on the grant with David Cwiertny; both are faculty members in civil and environmental engineering.

SWD students will conduct innovative research at the food, energy and water nexus, focusing on the impacts of climate change, resource recovery from waste, technologies for sustainable and healthy communities, and more. Community service and professional development, including immersive internships with diverse project partners, will complement the research.

This is the only NRT-funded training program of its kind in Iowa. Learn more at the SWD website: