Essential Element

Phosphorus is an essential element to life, underpinning many critical biological processes and driving the productivity and sustainability of global food systems.

The STEPS Summer 2023 REU Program Begins May 30, 2023.

The Science and Technologies for Phosphorus Sustainability (STEPS) Center is a convergence research community of diverse and leading scientists that addresses the complex challenges in phosphorus sustainability by integrating disciplinary contributions across the physical, life, social, and economic sciences. The STEPS vision is to facilitate a 25% reduction in human dependence on mined phosphates and a 25% reduction in losses of point and non-point sources of phosphorus to soils and water resources within 25 years, leading to enhanced resilience of food systems and reduced environmental damage.

Scholar Spotlight

Christopher Oates, 2023 STEPS Center Director’s Fellowship Recipient

Q: What attracted you to consider pursuing a graduate degree through the STEPS Center?

A: The interdisciplinary nature of STEPS is what really attracted me to the Center. In undergraduate curriculums, it’s so common to take courses that only incorporate one viewpoint or a singular school of thought into their approach to problem-solving. I feel that in order to make lasting and meaningful change, one must incorporate many different perspectives and disciplines. Many modern problems are multifaceted; they require many different people to work together to find solutions.

Environmental issues have always been important to me, and they have become increasingly important on the current world stage. I am interested in implementing knowledge from various fields across multiple disciplines to create innovative solutions to problems relating to natural resource management that plague today’s societies. STEPS has a similar mission. I think that my interests and background will provide me with a solid foundation to explore STEPS and its different research themes.

I want to use my experiences and passion for learning to research and create solutions that result in a more sustainable and healthier world. I believe that putting yourself into new situations and environments is the best way to discover something new; STEPS is the perfect place to facilitate this discovery process.

Read the Full Q&A Here.
Image of Christopher Oates, recipient of the STEPS Director's Fellowship

Follow our work and learn more about phosphorus sustainability by following us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube!