Center for Social and Environmental Futures, C-SEF
Conducting cutting-edge research, education, and outreach activities focused on human dimensions of environmental problems
The mission of the Center for Social and Environmental Futures (C-SEF) is to conduct cutting-edge research, education, and outreach activities focused on human dimensions of environmental problems, with specific emphases on two broad areas, focusing on long-term and short-term futures, respectively.
- Activities focused on ‘the big picture’ will address questions pertaining to long-term and large-scale futures, such as how economic growth, geopolitics, global security, inequality, migration patterns, and other development trends will be affected by environmental problems, and how they will affect humankind’s ability to achieve environmental goals.
- Activities focused on ‘the here and now’ will address questions pertaining to how we can move forward in addressing environmental problems immediately, such as coalition building across partisan and other divisions, adaptation, environmental policy, links between public and private sectors, resource management, and resilience, among others. C-SEF will also serve as a hub for environmental social science research in CIRES and on campus, catalyzing collaboration between social and natural environmental scientists.
Rationale for the Center
There are large gaps in knowledge, and unvetted assumptions about how social systems will evolve in the 21st century, with very different outcomes for various environmental goals as well as human well-being in general. There are also large knowledge gaps regarding nearer-term and more local issues such as how communities can adapt to the environmental challenges they face immediately, and how society can quickly scale up sustainable infrastructure, among others. Social science is crucial for an accurate and empirically-based characterization of human-environment interactions, defining problems and solutions, and ensuring that science and technology are applied in ethical and equitable ways. Science that is aimed at informing decisions to support human well-being is best pursued as a multidisciplinary, integrated, societally-engaged effort.
C-SEF will be unique on campus in at least three ways. First, through its focus on futures, it will connect local and global, and near-term and long-term, issues in explicit and innovative ways. Second, it will connect topics and challenges that are seldom connected explicitly, such as security and equity, in the context of sustainability. Lastly, it will connect quantitative and qualitative, and social and natural, sciences within CIRES and on campus.
C-SEF Seminar Series
C-SEF will host a regular series of seminars addressing four themes, with one seminar from each series occurring once per semester.
- The Big Picture: These seminars will highlight research and difference-makers related to the center's 'big picture' theme.
- Here and Now: These seminars will highlight research and difference-makers related to the center's 'here and now' theme.
- Get Serious: Conversations about environmental problems too often focus on sweeping and vague solutions. In contrast, these seminars will highlight people working on important but often-overlooked details of solving environmental problems. They will give students a sense of the many different possible ways to make a difference in sustainability.
- Come Together: Solving major environmental problems requires coalition building. This series will highlight research and people working towards building coalitions, between political parties, stakeholders and scientists, different levels of government, industry and public, etc.
Information on upcoming C-SEF events plus event recordings can be found on the Meetings tab.
Please check out the current open positions at C-SEF on the Opportunities tab.
Current open positions at C-SEF
C-SEF Research Fellows
We seek at least two scholars who are currently researchers in CIRES who wish to collaborate with C-SEF on a grant proposal, with an environmental social science focus related to C-SEF's mission. The mission is stated below. Fellows will receive one month of salary support. Fellows will also be expected to participate in CIRES programming related to C-SEF during their appointments.
Please note: Candidates from DSRC should discuss their interest with supervisor and lab leadership prior to application.
To apply: please send a cover letter that includes a short (~2 paragraph) description of your proposed project, and a CV, to Jennifer Katzung: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fellows will be selected and notified shortly thereafter. If you have any questions, please contact Matt Burgess: email@example.com.
These positions will remain open until filled.
Ensuring the well-being of humans and all living species on this planet depends on understanding how humans and the environment interact. The purpose of the Center for Social and Environmental Futures (C-SEF) is to conduct cutting-edge research, education, and outreach activities focused on human dimensions of environmental problems, with specific emphases on two broad areas, focusing on long-term and short-term futures, respectively. (i) Activities focused on ‘the big picture’ will address questions pertaining to long-term and large-scale futures, such as how economic growth, geopolitics, global security, inequality, migration patterns, and other development trends will be affected by environmental problems, and how they will affect humankind’s ability to achieve environmental goals. (ii) Activities focused on ‘the here and now’ will address questions pertaining to how we can move forward in addressing environmental problems immediately, such as coalition building, adaptation, environmental policy, links between public and private sectors, resource management, and resilience, among others. C-SEF will also serve as a hub for environmental social science research in CIRES and on campus, catalyzing collaboration between social and natural environmental scientists.
Summer Graduate Research Assistant
Summer Research Assistant
Summer Research Assistant
Summer Research Assistant
Summer Research Assistant
Summer Research Assistant
American Association for the Advancement of Science "Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering" Workshop Student Competition
The 2023 CASE Workshop will be held in-person in Washington, DC, on March 26-29, 2023.
The CASE Workshop is an exciting opportunity to learn from science policy and advocacy experts about the role of science in policymaking and the federal policy-making process. This entry-level program is organized to educate STEM students who are interested in learning about the role of science in policy-making, to introduce them to the federal policy-making process, and to empower them with ways to become a voice for basic research throughout their careers.
During the workshop, students will learn about the structure and organization of Congress, the federal budget and appropriations processes, and tools for effective science communication and civic engagement. In addition, students will participate in interactive seminars about policymaking and communication. Get the most recent updates on Twitter @AAAS_GR (#MakingOurCASE).
Application Deadline: February 6, 2023
COMPETITION DETAILS: The CIRES Center for Social and Environmental Futures (C-SEF) and the CU Department of Environmental Studies (ENVS) are hosting a competition to send two CU Boulder students to Washington, DC to attend the workshop. The competition is open to any full-time CU Boulder graduate student or upper-class undergraduate in one of the following fields: Biological, physical, or earth sciences; Computational sciences and mathematics; Engineering disciplines; Medical and health sciences; and Social and behavioral sciences. The competition is supported by the CU Graduate School. Competition winners will have their expenses covered, including transportation, hotel, and registration for the workshop. They will be asked to submit a brief report about their workshop experience and participate in a panel discussion in the following academic year.
To apply: Please submit a one-page statement explaining the importance of the workshop to your career development and a one-page resume to firstname.lastname@example.org by 11:59 pm MT on February 6, 2023. The review committee will select two students from those who apply.
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