Roots for Resilience (R4R)

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


Much as roots anchor plants and ecosystems, data are the roots of science and discovery.  The Roots for Resilience research fellowship program in data science is led by the Arizona Institute for Resilience (AIR), CyVerse, and the Data Science Institute (DSI).  The program trains select graduate students in the use of open science and computational infrastructure to apply data science tools to their dissertation’s research and discovery and to increase their department’s data science capacity.

AIR is interested in fostering new interdisciplinary research partnerships leading to new proposals for external funding that take advantage of the strengths in UArizona data science and resilience-based research to address challenges facing human and natural communities. By training graduate student fellows as department-level ambassadors of information exchange, R4R aims to educate the AIR departments on the capabilities and possibilities offered by CyVerse and DSI while brokering new research areas in which data science tools play a strong role.


Fellows meet virtually and in-person Tuesdays and Thursdays each week during the semester. Fellows will make two presentations by the end of the semester:

  • Tuesdays: August 29 - December 12, 2023 (11:00 AM -1:00 PM) virtual and in-person sessions with members of CyVerse, DSI, and/or AIR. Select in-person sessions will be determined by the cohort.
    • Review and discussion about the learned training and applying skills.  
  • Thursdays: August 31 - November 30, 2023 (11:00 AM - 1:00 PM) meetings cover training, exploration, and experimentation with tools supporting individual research activities within research team and across departments.
    • The training schedule includes 9-weeks of CyVerse Foundational Open Science Skills (FOSS) virtual sessions. The required September 7 session is a brush-up on Git and Unix with an intro to ChatGPT.
    • Final sessions include group capstone project presentations.

At the conclusion of the R4R semester-long program, each fellow will make a required individual in-depth presentation to their department. The presentation will discuss applications and uses of CyVerse and other open science and data science tools that enhance the department's disciplinary and interdisciplinary research. The fellows must share and make available their presentation material in support of open science.


  • Develop data science capabilities across the AIR 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 AIR faculty
  • Develop new interdisciplinary collaborations across AIR, 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 AIR.  
  • 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 advisoring department’s candidate.
  • Successful program candidates are enthusiastic, collaborative-minded, PhD candidates who have completed qualifying exams. But others (including exceptional master's students) will be considered. It helps to have students who will be around past the end of the semester-long program so they can continue to be ambassadors between their department and CyVerse/Data Science Institute.
  • Each student will be awarded a $7,000 stipend.  Half of the stipend will be disbursed at the start of the semester and half at the end of the semester upon successful completion of the program, including making the required presentation to the department and submitting the presentation material.
  • Students and their advisors will be asked to sign an Expectations Agreement acknowledging the time and work commitments expected of participants

Questions regarding R4R nominations should be sent to Anna Seiferle-Valencia (seiferlevalencia [at] Forward R4R participation and program questions to Tina L. Johnson (tina[at]


The Roots for Resilience research fellowship program is funded by the Technology and Research Initiative Fund (TRIF) and is administered by AIR, CyVerse, and the Data Science Institute.

Program Leads

Sharon Collinge, AIR
Tina L. Johnson, DSI
Maliaca Oxnam, DSI
Anna Seiferle-Valencia, AIR


Jeff Gillan, CyVerse
Carlos Lizárraga, DSI
Chris Reidy, UITS
Tyson Swetnam, CyVerse

CyVerse Mentors

Michele Cosi
Jeff Gillan
Tyson Swetnam