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Environmental Fellowship Program at Harvard University 2017, USA

Publish Date: Nov 22, 2016

Deadline: Jan 18, 2017


"Harvard is committed to fostering the development of talented scholars with an interest in environmental research. The Environmental Fellows at Harvard will work with some of the University's leading faculty, creating linkages across research disciplines and professional schools, and benefitting from all that Harvard has to offer."
-Daniel P. Schrag, Director,
Harvard University Center for the Environment
The Harvard University Center for the Environment extends a warm welcome to the 2016 class of Environmental Fellows: Evan Hepler-Smith, Kaighin McColl, Prineha Narang, Kelsey Sakimoto, and Daniel Zizzamia. These fellows will join a group of remarkable scholars who will be beginning the second year of their fellowships. Together, the Environmental Fellows at Harvard will form a community of researchers with diverse backgrounds united by intellectual curiosity, top-quality scholarship, and a drive to understand some of the most important environmental challenges facing society. 

The Center is now accepting applications for the 2017 class of Environmental Fellows. The application deadline is 5pm on January 18, 2017.

The Harvard University Center for the Environment created the Environmental Fellows program to enable recent doctorate recipients to use and expand Harvard's extraordinary resources to tackle complex environmental problems. The Environmental Fellows will work for two years with Harvard faculty members in any school or department to create new knowledge while also strengthening connections across the University's academic disciplines. 

The award:

The fellowship includes a salary of $64,000 per year, employee health insurance eligibility, up to $2,500 reimbursement for travel expenses, and a $2,500 allowance for travel and other professional expenses. The Center will organize a co-curricular program to ensure that the fellows get to know each other and each other's work. All fellows will attend biweekly dinners with their colleagues, faculty members, and guests.
The Harvard University Center for the Environment expects to award approximately six fellowships for the 2017 cohort.

Selection criteria:

  • Applicant's prior academic and professional success and his or her potential contribution to scholarship or practice
  • Project significance: the potential impact of the research project on scholarship at Harvard and on environmental problems 
  • Diversity: the selection committee will select a group of fellows in 2017 who will complement those selected the previous year, creating a group of approximately 13 men and women with diverse backgrounds and a diverse set of academic interests and skills. The ideal group would include fellows working with host faculty members at every one of Harvard's professional schools and many of the departments overseen by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Recipients—and hosts—may include people with degrees in the sciences, economics, law, government, public policy, public health, medicine, design, and the full array of humanities. Their research topics will be equally varied. 
  • Harvard candidates: those who received terminal degrees from Harvard and post-docs currently working at Harvard are eligible for the fellowship provided their research and host arrangements take them in new directions that are significantly distinct from their Ph.D. research and forge new connections within the University. Harvard candidates should not propose to continue to work with the same professors or lab groups with whom they are currently associated. No candidate should propose to work extensively with his or her thesis advisor.
  • Interdisciplinary research projects are encouraged, although this is not a requirement for the fellowship. Candidates with interests in a single discipline are encouraged to apply. 
  • Host's commitment: the host faculty member's enthusiasm for the proposed project and fellow, the host's ability to mentor the fellow, and his or her ability to provide office space and a productive work environment.

Finding a Host:
Potential candidates should start early to identify and establish a relationship with a Harvard faculty member to host his or her research. The host will be a mentor to the fellow and will provide office space and basic administrative support. In agreeing to be a host, the faculty member is making a significant commitment.

Successful candidates will be enthusiastically recommended by their proposed host. Each applicant's host must submit a letter of support (maximum of two pages) to the selection committee describing in detail the level of commitment to the research and the candidate.
In the previous round of applications, many Harvard faculty members were approached by many would-be applicants. Some of those faculty members conducted their own selection process to find the one or two applicants they would recommend to the selection committee; other faculty members agreed to be identified as a host on several applications and subsequently provided the selection committee with recommendations comparing the candidates. Some people who started applications were unable to find a host and thus could not complete their applications.
Applicants unfamiliar with Harvard faculty members will find many of them listed on the Center's web pages organized both by academic areas (economics, engineering) and by research topics (climate, human health). Most faculty members have their own web pages which will provide much more detailed information about publications and interests and which may be accessed through the main Harvard website. Applicants are encouraged to use the Center's faculty list as a starting point only. Hundreds of faculty members who would be excellent hosts are not currently members of the Center. Any faculty member from any discipline may serve as a host, regardless of whether the host has had prior experience with environmental research or the Center.
Faculty members not eligible to host a 2017 fellow are those hosting 2016 fellows: Alán Aspuru-Guzik, David Jones, Zhiming Kuang, Ian Miller, Daniel Nocera, and Pamela Silver.

Please direct any questions to James Clem, the HUCE managing director:
clem (at) fas.harvard.edu


Please be sure to closely read the Program Requirements. Applications for the 2017 cohort are due by January 18, 2017. The Center will select a group of fellows and alternates by March 2017 and contact applicants with results at that time.


1. Please complete the following form and attach the relevant supporting documents as PDFs:
a) curriculum vitae including list of publications.
b) detailed research proposal, maximum of five pages, references counted separately. Within the proposal, applicants should explain their reasons for applying to a Harvard residential environmental fellowship.
Note: While applicants should discuss the proposal with their potential faculty hosts, the final product should clearly be the work of the applicant.
c) up to three publications/writing samples.

2. Three letters of reference, including one from the applicant's dissertation adviser.

3. A letter of support is also required from the applicant's host committing to serve as a mentor and explaining his or her commitment to the proposed research, including the provision of office or lab space and any financial commitments.

Applicants are encouraged to ask their referees and hosts to email letters of reference as PDFs or, if necessary, as Word documents attached to the emails. Referees and hosts should send their letters directly to the attention of James Clem at the Center at environmental_fellows@harvard.edu.

The Center will notify applicants to confirm receipt of a complete application.



  • Candidates for 2017 Environmental Fellowships should have received their terminal degree between May 2013 and August 2017. (Fellows must have filed their dissertation before starting their appointment in September 2017.)
  • Candidates with a doctorate or equivalent in any field are eligible, and they may propose research projects in any discipline. Applicants without a Ph.D. may apply if they have studied in fields where the Ph.D. is not the typical terminal degree. All successful candidates will be able to demonstrate experience performing scholarly research.
  • Candidates who received terminal degrees from Harvard, and post-docs currently working at Harvard are eligible for the fellowship provided their research and host arrangements take them in new directions that are significantly distinct from their Ph.D. research and forge new connections within the University. Harvard candidates should not propose to continue to work with the same professors or lab groups with whom they are currently associated. No candidate should propose to work extensively with his or her thesis advisor.
  • Each candidate must secure a commitment from one or more Harvard faculty members to serve as a mentor and to provide office or lab space for the two-year fellowship.
  • Harvard is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer. 
  • Candidates may have received their degrees at any university in the world. Foreign nationals are eligible for fellowships, though study at Harvard generally requires proficiency in English.
  • Successful candidates should be prepared to commit to work at Harvard for the full two years of the fellowship. This fellowship requires residency in the Cambridge area and any fieldwork trip must be scheduled for the summer or January recess.
 For more information click "Further official informaiton" below.

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Environmental Studies

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United States