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Seeing a critical need in Earth and space sciences for a steady pipeline of creative, knowledgeable, and diverse students, the American Geophysical Union (AGU) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR). The new agreement aims to further the two organizations’ shared goals of building and sustaining the global science talent pool. Founded in 1978, CUR supports and promotes high-quality undergraduate student-faculty collaborative research and scholarship.

The new agreement aims to further the two organizations’ shared goals of building and sustaining the global science talent pool.

The MOU is focused on developing and growing programs and activities to strengthen research opportunities in the Earth and space sciences at the undergraduate level. That includes expanding research experiences at 2-year colleges. The joint undertaking will also seek to enhance diversity in the undergraduate geoscience talent pool, as well as create opportunities for students who are low-income, first-generation college students or members of traditionally underrepresented groups in their sciences to present their work to the broader scientific community and beyond.

“The initiative is in line with the strategic goals of CUR, not only to expand and retain undergraduate research opportunities, but to do so in a way that diversity is sought and achieved,” said CUR executive officer Elizabeth Ambos. “I am thrilled about the opportunities that this relationship will represent to the members of the two organizations.”

Presenting Research Virtually

One of those opportunities is AGU’s Virtual Poster Showcase, a means for students to participate via a virtual electronic presence in presenting research. “The showcase will, no doubt, help broaden participation in research by providing many more students the opportunity to present the results of their inquiry without the added expense of travel,” said CUR’s geoscience division chair Lee Phillips. “As we all know, presentation of one’s research has tremendous potential to be an incredibly transformative experience for aspiring scholars.”

“Our combined efforts should broaden the pathways to careers in the geoscience community.”

“From helping us to understand how and why natural hazards threaten our families and homes, to adaptation and mitigation strategies for the growing impacts of climate change, we know that Earth and space science research plays an important role in public health and well-being and the competitiveness of our economy,” said AGU executive director/CEO Christine McEntee. “That’s why it’s so important that we develop and support a steady and diverse pipeline of creative and knowledgeable students who are well prepared to meet society’s demands for scientific knowledge. It’s also why AGU is so pleased to be able to partner with a respected and knowledgeable organization like CUR as we work to advance this important goal.”

The MOU outlines the organizations’ commitments to promoting undergraduate research opportunities, enhancing diversity in the geosciences, and supporting the geoscience talent pool. “Our combined efforts will help promote the offerings of each organization, which should broaden the pathways to careers in the geoscience community,” said Phillips.

Joan Buhrman, Strategic Communications Manager, AGU; email:

Correction, 3 February 2016: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified venues at which Virtual Poster Showcase presentations are displayed. This article has been updated to remove those venues.

Citation: Buhrman, J. (2016), AGU signs agreement with Council on Undergraduate Research, Eos, 97, doi:10.1029/2016EO044659. Published on 26 January 2016.

Text © 2016. The authors. CC BY-NC 3.0
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