Sustainability - New England Sustainability Consortium (NEST)
NEST position opening: Postdoctoral Research Associate
Strengthening the scientific basis for decision-making to improve the management of coupled coastal systems
Led by the University of Maine and the University of New Hampshire, the New England SusTainability Consortium (NEST) is a regional research partnership focused on strengthening the scientific basis for decision-making regarding the management of coupled coastal systems. NEST will mobilize cutting-edge theory and methods from the emerging field of sustainability science and a range of disciplines to tackle problems related to the closure of shellfish beds and posting of beach advisories due to high levels of pathogenic bacteria in coastal regions. Given that the estimated annual value of coastal recreation amounts to as much as $20 billion nationally and $400 million in ME and NH, these coastal closures represent a significant sustainability problem with complex and interacting economic, social and environmental dimensions.
Using the Gulf of Maine as a laboratory for investigating interactions between coupled natural and human systems, NEST’s interdisciplinary team of natural scientists, social scientists and engineers will investigate: 1) how natural processes and human activities in coastal waters and watersheds influence bacterial dynamics; 2) the reciprocal interactions between such scientific knowledge and the processes that influence closure decisions; and 3) the potential role of social feedback processes in reducing the frequency and magnitude of closures. Building on a tradition of durable partnerships with diverse stakeholders, UMaine and UNH researchers will collaborate with all levels of government, the private sector, tribal communities, non-governmental organizations, and citizen scientists. In addition to helping understand and solve problems involving coastal closures, NEST will expand New England’s collective research capacity to conduct solutions-focused research on other sustainability problems and help train a highly skilled 21st century STEM workforce.
Maine academic partners
Maine EPSCoR at the University of Maine is part of the Sustainability Solutions Initiative (SSI) at the Senator George J. Mitchell Center. Work is accomplished through an extensive network of statewide collaborations that involve over 350 researchers and students, as well as 200+ community-based stakeholders.
Additional academic research partners for NEST include College of the Atlantic, the University of New England, and the University of Southern Maine.
NH academic partners
The University of New Hampshire is a national leader in sustainability and environmental research. Key investments include an EPSCoR statewide project on the impact of land use and climate change on ecosystem services, the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space, the Environmental Research Group, the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping and the Sustainability Institute.
Plymouth State University’s Center for the Environment addresses the science, policies, culture and economics of the natural environment in northern New England through research, education and collaboration.
Faculty and students at Keene State College, a public liberal arts college, and Great Bay Community College, a two-year institution, participate in the NSF EPSCoR and NIH INBRE research projects in New Hampshire.