Planetary Health Undergraduate Scholars Fellowship

The Planetary Health Undergraduate Scholars Fellowship Program 


Planetary health is an interdisciplinary field focused on understanding and quantifying the human health impacts of the accelerating transformation of most of Earth’s natural systems including the climate system, land use and land cover, and marine systems (for more details, see here). We are excited to announce a new fellowship opportunity sponsored by the Henry David Thoreau Foundation that will sponsor up to six scholars selected across a range of disciplines to 1) receive training in planetary health science; 2) travel to Madagascar to receive hands-on experience in planetary health research; and 3) learn how to create policy impact by preparing presentations, capstone reports, or policy briefs on the research undertaken in Madagascar. Our desire is that students from across the FAS campus engage in this fellowship program, including anthropology, African studies, computer science, ecology, environmental science, global health, economics, government, visual studies, medicine, and journalism. 

The team of selected scholars will be advised by Dr. Christopher Golden, who is the Associate Director of the Planetary Health Alliance, a Research Scientist at the School of Public Health, and who has been working in Madagascar for the past 17 years investigating the intersection of environmental change and human health. During the Spring 2017 semester, the team will be conducting background research and preparing for the summer field research in Madagascar. The research will be challenge-oriented, allowing us to draw from each of our disciplinary backgrounds and create a cohesive approach to addressing a problem. We will choose one research project to focus on as a team. Potential research topics include, but are not limited to: 1) fisheries management and food security in the Antongil Bay of Madagascar; 2) eco-epidemiology of malaria and other vector-borne diseases in Madagascar; 3) health system improvement and disease surveillance in Northeastern Madagascar; and 4) poultry interventions to solve the bushmeat crisis in Makira National Park. Through Dr. Golden’s long-term engagement with various governmental and non-governmental partners, we have the opportunity to make a real-world impact. 

For a brief video synopsis of the work (and to see the beautiful area where you will be working!), please see National Geographic’s 3-minute video.


  • Students must be 1st, 2nd or 3rd year students in FAS 
  • Students will be required to attend weekly meetings during the Spring Semester 2017 
  • Students will be required to attend a 4-week research trip to Madagascar during the summer of 2017 
  • Students will be required to complete a capstone project (including a presentation, original analysis, creative report/visual exhibition, press report, or policy brief) in the Fall semester 2017 
  • Students will be asked periodically to facilitate small on campus projects with the Planetary Health Alliance 


  • Students will receive a $1,000 stipend for their trip to Madagascar 
  • Airfare (r/t to Madagascar will be covered) 
  • Lodging and group meal costs will be covered in Madagascar 
  • All local transportation in country will be covered 
  • Students will receive $150 to spend on reading or other professional development materials 
  • Students will receive focused mentorship by Dr. Golden in the development of their capstone project 

To apply: 

Please submit a 1-page cover letter and CV to Dr. Golden at The cover letter should include information about your disciplinary background, why you are interested in this fellowship, and how you hope to engage in planetary health science in the future.

Oct. 20: Applications due via e-mail 
Oct. 24 – 28: In-person interviews 
Nov. 15: Final decisions given to students 

Questions? Please e-mail Dr. Golden



Harvard University
Center for the Environment

Address: 26 Oxford Street, 4th Floor, Cambridge
Phone: (617) 495-0368

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