NASA-MSU Professional Enhancement Award

The NASA-MSU Professional Enhancement Awards are made possible by support from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Michigan State University (MSU). The program has supported more than 440 students from approximately 170 institutions worldwide since 1998 to present their research and interact with leading scientists and other attendees at meetings of US-IALE and IALE.

Besides providing financial support to the awardees, the program also has invited over 200 nationally and internationally renowned scientists to meet and mentor awardees at special dinner gatherings over the years. Numerous former awardees have made outstanding achievements. For example, at least 15 former awardees have won the “Best Student Presentation” awards at the US-IALE meetings. Many former awardees have emerged as leaders in US-IALE, IALE-NA and IALE, including 16 student representatives on the US-IALE Board (one each year), 12 councilors-at-large, 11 hosts of US-IALE meetings and world congress, five program chairs of US-IALE meetings and world congresses, one president-elect of IALE-NA, and two vice presidents of IALE.

Many collaborative publications have been published. A paper in Science was widely covered in the global news media and featured in “Biden’s Briefing” (a podcast by Joe Biden – former US Vice President). The NASA-MSU program has also inspired the establishment of other similar programs

"Many promising junior scholars who are interested in research on landscape ecology may not be able to attend conferences and other professional events without financial assistance. This award program was set up to help them connect with leading researchers at an international and national event." 

-- Jianguo "Jack" Liu, MSU Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability and CSIS director, who founded and administers NASA-MSU.

NASA-MSU Professional Enhancement Awards (up to $700 each) are given each year to cover expenses associated with attending the symposium. Applications are judged based on the merits of the applicants' abstracts, financial needs, and professional backgrounds and goals. 

Special consideration will be given to presentations related to telecoupling (environmental and socioeconomic interactions over distances, such as human and animal migration, species dispersal, species invasion, disease spread, sound/noise transmission, spread of pollutants and wastes, trade of goods and products, flows of ecosystem services, environmental and hydrological flows, foreign investment, technology transfer, water transfer, and tourism), and/or metacoupling.

Topics may include applications of the telecoupling framework or metacoupling framework to address issues across landscapes or coupled human and natural systems (e.g., cross-scale and cross-border dynamics, pattern, process, structure, function, and sustainability). For more information about CHANS, see: Science Magazine and AMBIO.  

The NASA-MSU program has been on hold since 2020 due to COVID-19