A University of Montana program called UM BRIDGES was awarded nearly $3 million from the National Science Foundation to focus on interactions among food, energy and water. Program Director Laurie Yung explains the type of jobs they hope students will receive upon completion of this degree program.

“What we really envision is that some of them will become scientists, some of them will go into policy making and some of them will work for national laboratories,” said Yung. “Others will work in communities on food, energy and water issues. Many of them will hopefully work in Montana, but some of them will work internationally. We are really looking at multiple career paths.”

Yung hopes that most of the graduate students will be conducting their research right here in Montana.

“Our state really provides this incredible location for looking at connections between energy production, between agriculture, and water use,” Yung said. “When you think about Montana, we have significant fossil fuel and renewable energy resources. Agriculture is really important to the state’s economy and to rural livelihood. Our water is critical both to ecosystems and to human communities.”

The National Science Foundation funded just three programs focusing on food, energy and water this year. UM BRIDGES hopes to enroll 12 to 15 students in the fall of 2017.