July 18, 2024

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WESEP: Wind Energy Science, Engineering, and Policy

Broader Impacts

The broader impacts of WESEP will be felt in five distinct ways:

What we accomplish: During the five years of the program, we will support at least 32 PhD students in WESEP, and we will graduate at least 12 of them within the five year timeframe. Their research efforts will result in at least 56 tier 1 journal publications and one textbook.

How IGERT participants are changed: WESEP fellows will (a) gain fundamental knowledge and experience in at least one WESEP research thrust; (b) acquire significant knowledge and experience in all WESEP research thrusts; (c) increase understanding of the benefits, challenges, and nature of effective interdisciplinary, cross-industry, and international work, including an appreciation of how fundamental thinking patterns differ between disciplines, organizations, nations and cultures; (d) develop a heightened awareness of ethical behavior and its significance; and (e) strengthen abilities to communicate to diverse groups.

How Iowa State University changes: Establishing a PhD program in WESEP will bring a new way of thinking about PhD training, creating synergies and alliances that will continue to grow. Unique components of WESEP, such as the real-time research collaborative (RTRC) and the weekend ethics retreats for faculty and students, will foster a sense of community and humanistic perspective novel to many graduate programs and serve as an attractive model for others. Our WESEP REU-site and a mentoring program whereby WESEP fellows mentor high school students will extend our IGERT activities into the undergraduate and the K-12 sectors.

How the state changes: The growth of wind energy in Iowa is such that it has extended the state’s manufacturing base, created jobs, and reduced the cost of non-CO2 emitting energy. Part of our mission is to build the intellectual capital necessary to motivate and support wind energy growth in Iowa to 60 GW by 2030. To this end, we will coordinate course sharing with the two other state’s public universities. In addition, Kate Cowles, the PI of a new University of Iowa IGERT titled “Geoinformatics for Environmental and Energy Modeling and Prediction or GEEMaP,” has agreed to serve as one of our external advisory board members, appropriate not only because of the inherent synergies present between any two IGERTS, but also because the two projects are located within the same state and can easily share resources for mutual benefits.

How the nation changes: We will extend education to the nation through our distance education program and through an effort to reach city councils, county supervisors, state legislators, state agencies, and congressional delegations and staff (Centers of Decision and Influence or CDIs). WESEP will become a sustainable source of innovative leaders for the next 40 years, particularly for the rapid build-out Midwest/Great Plains region. We expect 1/3 of our graduates to enter academia while 2/3 will join the industry or national labs. Our program will serve as a national model for the development of related programs at other universities.