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September 27, 2019

The USGS-PSU Partnership (UPP), established in 2007, is an innovative joint program between the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Oregon Water Science Center (ORWSC), and Portland State University (PSU). 

sediment sample
Measuring sediment accumulation downstream of Fall Creek Reservoir (Credit: Mackenzie Keith, USGS).

The goal of the UPP is to facilitate advancements in water science in Oregon by sharing data and resources, catalyzing collaborative research, and creating opportunities for PSU students to work in tandem with the ORWSC. The work is interdisciplinary, drawing faculty and students from multiple colleges and departments.

Projects funded through the UPP Seed Grant Program typically focus on water quality, resources, supplies, and hazards. In 2020, projects included "Willamette Water Quality Past and Present" by Olyssa Starry (PSU), Jen Morse (PSU) and Jennifer Morace (ORWSC) and "Tree-ring Reconstruction of Historical Groundwater-Streamflow Dynamics'' by Andrés Holz (PSU) and Tess Harden (ORWSC). Read more about projects the UPP funded below, or in this PSU article

Funded projects highly encourage principal investigators (PIs) from both organizations to create opportunities for students to engage with the ORWSC through fieldwork, volunteering, and research activities that complement their academic coursework. Not only does this support PIs, but it provides students with tools to grow their professional and technical skills, resulting in the development of a skilled water science workforce. 

In 2019, PSU’s Institute for Sustainable Solutions (ISS) joined the UPP to provide professional project and partnership management. This has created clearer pathways for research funding and student engagement, strengthened connections between USGS and PSU, and increased value for both organizations.

Staff from both organizations are now charting a path for a truly transformative partnership, one that will impact water resource management across the state and region.This modern partnership will serve as a functional model for future public agency-university partnerships.

For more information about UPP, contact Alison Hopcroft, UPP Manager, at You can also connect with the UPP on LinkedIn.


Collaboration Directory

The UPP Collaboration Directory is a tool for researchers at the USGS Oregon Water Science Center; USGS Geology, Minerals, Energy and Geophysics Science Center (GMEG) and Portland State University. The intent of this directory is to connect individuals and facilitate collaborative research between USGS and PSU.


UPP Seed Grant Program

Information about the 2022 UPP Seed Grant Program RFP will be available in summer 2022.


Student Opportunities

  • USGS - NSF Graduate Student Internships: Funded internship opportunities are also available for graduate students who hold a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship or are supported by an NSF grant to their academic advisor. These supplemental grants are designed to expose graduate students to the federal science workplace, provide career mentoring, and provide the opportunity to supplement their existing research by working with the USGS. More information, including deadlines, can be found on the USGS Graduate Research Opportunities (GRO) website.

  • Interested in water related internships and opportunities? Click here to join UPP Student Mailing List.


Joint seminars


UPP Newsletters

  • To join the UPP email list, click here
Little Wolf Creek
Geomorphic and lamprey survey reach along Little Wolf Creek of the Umpqua River Basin (Credit: Krista Jones, USGS).