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Climate Adaptation Scientists of Tomorrow Program

To advance climate adaptation science and increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM fields, the Climate Adaptation Scientists of Tomorrow Undergraduate Research Experience brings undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty together with CASC partners to cultivate the next generation of climate scientists. 

Applications for the 2026/2027 CAST cohort will open in fall 2025.

Immersive Undergraduate Research Experience 

The global climate is changing rapidly, already impacting both human and natural systems. Over the next few decades, changes in temperature, precipitation, and climatic variability are expected to drive even more change. To face future challenges, we need leaders— representative of our nation’s diversity— with expertise in climate adaptation, experience in multi-disciplinary collaboration, exceptional communication skills, and dedication to actionable science.

In 2021, the Climate Adaptation Science Centers established the Climate Adaptation Scientists of Tomorrow Program to advance climate science and cultivate the next generation of climate scientists.

Program Overview

Undergraduate Research Experience, Features and Benefits: 

  • Build your climate science skills, training, and development for two years  
  • Join a cohort of 20 undergraduate students with common interests across the U.S.  
  • Lead an undergraduate research project in your area of interest at a leading university 
  • Build strong professional partnerships with a scientist-mentor, graduate students, and faculty scholars 
  • Engage in university programs to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion 
  • Participate in trainings to prepare for a career in climate adaptation science 


  • Participants must be enrolled as a full-time student at an accredited academic institution (community college, college, or university) in the United States
  • Participants must be rising sophomores or juniors (i.e., anticipated graduation in 2026 or 2027)
  • Participants must be in good academic standing (GPA 3.0 or higher) 

Students from populations historically underrepresented in the sciences are especially encouraged to apply.

Financial Considerations: 

  • Program provides 10 weeks of room and board for two summers 
  • Program provides a stipend for two summers (depends on location, minimum of $5,000 per summer) 
  • Program provides funds for round-trip travel to site 
  • Medical/health insurance is not provided  

Participant Expectations: 

  • Commit to build research and professional skills for two, 10-week summer research experiences (Summer 2024 and Summer 2025). 
  • Maintain regular and meaningful interaction with their mentor. 
  • Actively participate in development and training events: multiple each Summer and two per academic year (Fall/Winter/Spring). 
  • Produce a final report and deliver an oral presentation of their research and program experience. 
  • Participate in program evaluations during and after program completion. 
  • Maintain at least a 3.0 GPA for the duration of the program. 
  • Foster a culture of respect, integrity, collaboration, and inclusion. 

Program Locations: 

  • Auburn University: Located in Auburn, Alabama, the research opportunities at this site will focus on climate impacts on water systems along a hydrological gradient from the Gulf of Mexico upper watershed to the coastal environment. Auburn’s research labs host a large variety of instrumentation that can achieve solid samples and high-resolution water chemistry analyses. Beyond the laboratories, students will also have access to many field equipment and computational resources, and participate in immersive field trips to the area. Research includes opportunities to examine groundwater, storm water, agriculture, stream, lake, and river, and the coupled human-environment systems.
  • University of Colorado, Boulder: Located in Boulder, Colorado, the research opportunities at this site will focus on adaptation planning, critical studies of adaptation success, climate science, and data and Earth science training and analytics. This site enhances the quality of climate research by promoting robust, representative research foci. Students will address a critical gap in the communication and implementation of climate science for front-line communities that are disproportionately impacted by climate change.
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst: Located in Amherst, Massachusetts, the research opportunities at this site will focus on climate adaptation in the fields of geographic information science applications, wildlife ecology, and entomology. Students working with mentors have the potential to work with computer- and field-based methods to answer research questions. Biological laboratory and geospatial techniques are relevant skills highlighted at this site.

Application Timeline

November 6, 2023 Application Opens
November 28, 2023 1 pm ET December 7, 2023 2 pm ET Informational Webinars 
December 31, 2023 Applications Due
March 1, 2024 Notification to Applicants
March 15, 2024 Applicant Decision Due

Program Dates for Summer 2024/2025 Cohort

April 2024 Participant Engagement Event: Program Launch (2 hours, Virtual)
May/June - July/August 2024 Students on campus (10 weeks)
October 2022 Participant Engagement Event (2 hours, Virtual)
March 2025 Participant Engagement Event (2 hours, Virtual)
June - August 2025 Students on campus (10 weeks)
October 2025 Participant Engagement Event: Program Close (3 hours, Virtual)


The USGS cannot and will not tolerate discrimination, and all employees, former employees, applicants for employment, and members of the public who seek to participate in USGS programs, activities, and services will not be discriminated against based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sex stereotyping, gender identity, gender expression or transgender status), national origin, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, age, protected genetic information, status as a parent, marital status, or political affiliation.