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The Environmental Fellows Program

"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 2014 class of Environmental Fellows: Marie-Abèle Bind, Tim Cronin, Zoe Nyssa, and Yige Zhang.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.

Applications for the 2014-15 cohort are now closed. Applications for the 2015-16 cohort will be online in September 2014.

Purpose:
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 will provide an annual stipend of $60,000, eligibility for health insurance, a $2,500 annual allowance for travel and professional expenses, and other employee benefits.

The Harvard University Center for the Environment awarded four fellowships in 2013, and expects to award approximately the same amount this year. 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.

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 2014 who will complement those selected the previous year, creating a group of approximately 10 men and women with diverse ethnic and racial 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. 
  • 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 2014-16 fellow are those hosting 2013-15 fellows: Professors Charles Davis, Brian F. Farrell, Noel Michelle Holbrook, Peter Huybers, and Samuel Myers.

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

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