Roots for Resilience (R4R) Research Assistantships

Catalina mountains on a cloudy day

The Roots for Resilience Program provides training and support to selected graduate students on open, reproducible science and computational infrastructure to enhance research focused on resiliency in the environment.

About the Program

Much as roots anchor plants and ecosystems, data are the roots of science and discovery.  The Roots for Resilience Research Assistantships in Data Science is co-led by the Arizona Institute for Resilient Environments and Societies (AIRES), CyVerse, and the University of Arizona Data Science Institute (DSI).  The program trains selected graduate students in the use of open science and computational infrastructure, such as CyVerse, to apply data science tools to their dissertation’s research and discovery, as well as increase their department’s data science capacity. Fellows meet twice each week to focus on training, exploration, and experimentation with tools supporting personal research activities within their group and across their departments. The second meeting of the week centers around discussion of the earlier learned topics. Students meet regularly with members of CyVerse, DSI, and AIRES.  Conclusion of the assistantship includes a required presentation to the student’s department on applications and uses of CyVerse and other open science and data science tools that enhance disciplinary and interdisciplinary research.

As a partner in this program, AIRES is interested in fostering new interdisciplinary research partnerships, leading to new proposals for external funding, that take advantage of UArizona's strengths in data science and resilience-based research to address challenges facing human and natural communities. By training graduate students as department-level ambassadors of information exchange, this program aims to better educate the AIRES departments on the capabilities and possibilities offered by CyVerse and the Data Science Institute and, in turn, help broker new research areas in which data science tools play a strong role.

Program Goals

  • Develop data science capabilities across the AIRES participating departments and research groups

  • Accelerate research projects of participating fellows and their home department research groups

  • Build professional networks for addressing large-scale challenges and research questions of interest to AIRES faculty

  • Develop new interdisciplinary collaborations across AIRES, DSI, CyVerse, and other academic units for writing new proposals

  • Develop a cohort among participants (and Data Science Ambassadors) to support each other in their own research and efforts to engage their departments

How to Participate

  • This is a competitive program targeting departments that support environment/resilience-focused research.  Departments must be invited to nominate a student for participation by the Arizona Institute for Resilient Environments and Societies.  
  • Selected departments may nominate 1 student. Department heads select/submit the nomination. Students based in one department but with their advisor in another may need to be considered against the advisor’s department’s candidate.
  • Our target students are enthusiastic, collaborative-minded PhD candidates who have completed qualifying exams, but others (including exceptional master's) will be considered. For best results (for your department), we'd like students who will be around past the end of the program so they can continue to be ambassadors between your department and CyVerse/Data Science Institute.
  • Each student will be awarded a $7,000 scholarship, with half disbursed at the start of the Fall/Spring semester and half at the end of the semester pending successful completion of the program, including presenting to the department. Students and their advisors will be asked to sign an Expectations Agreement acknowledging the time and work commitments expected of participants.

Questions regarding participation should be sent to Betsy Woodhouse (woohou1 [at]


The Roots for Resilience Research Assistantship program is funded by the Technology and Research Initiative Fund (TRIF) and is co-administered by AIRES, CyVerse, and the Data Science Institute.

Program Leads:

  • Maliaca Oxnam, Data Science Institute
  • Eric Lyons, CyVerse
  • Jim Buizer, Arizona Institute for Resilient Environments and Societies
  • Betsy Woodhouse, Arizona Institute for Resilient Environments and Societies

Program Coordinator:

  • Holly Ellingson


  • Greg Chism
  • Heidi Steiner
  • Carlos Lizarraga
  • Chris Reidy
  • Tyson Swetnam
  • Michael Culshaw-Maurer

CyVerse Mentors:

  • Michael Culshaw-Maurer, Tyson Swetnam