Environmental problems are generally complex and blind to disciplinary boundaries. Efforts to devise long-term solutions require collaborative research that integrates knowledge across historically disparate fields, yet the traditional model for training new scientists emphasizes personal independence and disciplinary focus, Growing awareness of the limitations of the traditional model has spurred a reexamination of graduate training in the environmental sciences. Many institutions are implementing novel training approaches, with varying degrees of success. In this article, a group of current and former doctoral students evaluates our collective experience in one such program, the Biogeochemistry and Environmental Biocomplexity Program at Cornell University, funded by an Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship grant from the National Science Foundation. We identify aspects of the program that contributed to our integrative research training experience, and discuss stumbling blocks that may arise in such programs. We conclude with recommendations for students and faculty interested in facilitating cross-disciplinary interactions at their home institutions.
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Vol. 59 • No. 6