‘Ike Wai EPSCoR program leverages $1M cybertraining grant to empower cyberinfrastructure training for climate scientists and students in the Hawaiʻi-Pacific region

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a 3 year, nearly $1-million grant to the University of Hawaiʻi (UH) to create workshop and curriculum models for undergraduate and graduate students to increase their cyberinfrastructure skills across the climate science domain.

“We are delighted to see this project funded,” notes Dr. Gwen Jacobs, Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) principal investigator (PI) and the PI of the new cyberinfrastructure (CI) training grant. “This program is entitled ‘Cyberinfrastructure Training to Advance Climate Science’ (CI-TRACS), and it is a collective effort of EPSCoR-affiliated faculty, the Hawai’i Data Science Institute (HI-DSI) and partners across the state to commit to the preparation of a new generation of climate scientists for whom cyberinfrastructure and data science skills are second nature.”

Cybertraining co-PI, EPSCoR co-PI and co-author of the Hawai’i Statewide Science and Technology plan Dr. Helen Turner emphasized the relevance of the new program to Hawai’i state priorities. “This program reflects the vision for EPSCoR in Hawai’i to work at the interface of climate science and data science in support of a resilient future and a generative economy. This new award demonstrates the NSF’s recognition of the foundations laid by ‘Ike Wai and HI-DSI over the last five years to advance domain science using data and CI, as well as fostering new system-level educational pathways and opportunities.”

“This project will bring together climate scientists and computer scientists,” said UH Mānoa Assistant Professor of Information and Computer Sciences Peter Sadowski, who serves as a fellowship mentor on the project. “I’m particularly excited about the opportunities to use artificial intelligence to understand climate change, and it’s a great opportunity for students to get involved in interdisciplinary research.”

The CI-TRACS program will offer 36 undergraduate and 12 graduate student training experiences and 10 new publicly available workshops to increase CI awareness and skills. “We are particularly excited about the summer undergraduate program,” notes HI-DSI faculty Dr. Alexander Stokes who will direct CITRUS, the CI-TRACS summer undergraduate research program. “We will offer a one-month immersion in climate science, CI and data science. This program will be open to UH students, our partner undergraduate institutions like UH Hilo and Chaminade University and to two and four-year college students from the Pacific LSAMP network.” Building from Chaminade’s NSF INCLUDES-funded summer data science program and UH Hilo’s EPSCoR-funded summer DS enrichment, CITRUS will engage students in workshop-based upskilling in CI and then they will perform a mini-research project on a climate science issue of importance to them and their communities.

“These skill sets are preparative for the jobs of the future,” explains Jacobs “and we are excited to get started on this program and watch our students soar.”

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