Thursday, November 3, 2011

Harvard University Fellowships in Sustainability Science


The Sustainability Science Program at Harvard University offers doctoral, post-doctoral, and mid-career fellowships in Sustainability Science. The fellowships are tenable during Harvard's academic year beginning in September 2012. Fellowships are available for 10 months (September 2012-May 2013), 12 months (September 2012-August 2013), the fall 2012 semester or spring 2013 semester (mid-career fellows only), or for two academic years (post-doctoral fellows only) (September 2012-August 2014).

The Sustainability Science Program aims to facilitate the design, implementation, and evaluation of effective interventions that promote sustainable development. To that end, we seek to advance scientific understanding of human-environment systems; to improve linkages between relevant research and innovation communities on the one hand, and relevant policy and management communities on the other; and, more broadly, to build capacity for linking knowledge with action to promote sustainability. (For an overview of research horizons in sustainability science see a report from a workshop held in 2009.) The Program is directed by Bill Clark, Michael Kremer, and Nancy Dickson and is administered at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government. More information about the Sustainability Science Program can be found at

Who can apply for a Sustainability Science Fellowship?

The Sustainability Science Fellowships are open to advanced doctoral and post-doctoral students, and to mid-career professionals engaged in research or practice that advances the goals of the program (see above). Prospective fellows should have a focused personal research or writing objective that is consistent with those goals.

In addition, applicants should be interested in spending some of their time as fellows in collaborations with other fellows and faculty in the program in ways that will advance the interdisciplinary, problem-driven agenda of sustainability science more broadly. The Fellowships are tenable at Harvard during the University's academic year beginning in September 2012. Applications for the mid-career fellowships are invited from individuals in governmental, non-governmental, private organizations, or academia with at least five years of professional experience doing work involved in linking science and practice for sustainable development. Applications for the post-doctoral fellowships are welcome from recent recipients of the Ph.D. or equivalent degree. (Applicants must have completed their Ph.D. between 2008 and 2012.)

Applicants for a doctoral fellowship must currently be enrolled in a doctoral program and have passed their qualifying exams (completed coursework and passed oral and/or written exams) by July 2012. Applicants whose doctoral programs do not require qualifying exams must have completed all the required coursework for the Ph.D., since fellows will not be doing course work while at Harvard. Applications are solicited from individuals working in the natural and social sciences as well as relevant professions.

What support is provided by the Sustainability Science Fellowship?

The Sustainability Science Fellowship is based on a 12-month stipend of $55,000 for post-doctoral fellows, $28,000 for doctoral fellows, and a negotiated amount for mid-career fellows depending on their citizenship, current salary, current employment location, seniority, and other sources of support ($35,000 maximum). Fellows may also obtain funding from their own academic institutions, outside foundations, and personal resources. In the case of successful mid-career applicants with support for sabbatical or professional leave, packages can be negotiated in which Program funds complement such support and stipends can be paid to the fellow's home institution. Recipients are expected to spend a minimum of one semester at the University. Stipends will be proportionately reduced for fellows spending less time in residence with the Program which can range from 3-12 months. Fellows will have the option of purchasing Harvard employee medical and dental benefits. Office space and supplies, personal computers, telecommunications, and access to Harvard University libraries and other facilities will be provided. Expenses associated with project workshops are covered for fellowship holders by the Program. Limited support for field research expenses is provided on a competitive basis as budgets allow. Since the Program's funds are limited, prospective fellows are strongly urged to pursue additional sources of stipendiary and research support. Applications from those with their own resources are also welcome.

Application Procedure

Applications for the fellowship are due January 15, 2012. Candidates should submit:

  1. An on-line application cover sheet, located here (click here to see questions in advance, form must be completed online).
  2. The following documents in pdf format should be attached to a SINGLE email message and sent by January 15, 2012. The subject heading of the email should read 'Sustainability Science Fellowship' followed by the applicant's last name.
    • Proposal: Applicants should attach a description of their proposed project including specific information demonstrating how their work contributes to the goals of the Sustainability Science Program as outlined above, particularly noting how it compliments one or more of the four Initiatives [provide link to “What is the focus of this year’s competition? above]. Applications that address one of the four Initiatives will have a higher likelihood of success, but other proposals will also be considered, especially if the candidate provides stipendiary support from other sources. Maximum length is 1500 words (about 3 pages of single spaced type) plus literature citations.
    • Curriculum vitae: Please attach curriculum vitae, listing publications and graduate coursework on research methodology or experience relevant to the planned project (3 page maximum).
    • Writing Sample (20 page maximum, e.g., peer-reviewed article, draft dissertation chapter
  3. Additionally, the three (3) recommenders named in the cover sheet should email their letters of support directly by January 15, 2012. The subject heading should read 'Sustainability Science Fellowship: Recommendation for [candidate's name]. Referees should comment on the applicant's suitability for the Sustainability Science Fellowship, including relevant information on scientific originality, professional productivity, and demonstrated ability to work in groups. Applicants applying for doctoral fellowships in Sustainability Science should have one recommendation from a thesis advisor or other university official stating that the applicant has/is expected to pass his/her qualifying exams by Summer 2012. If an applicant does not have qualifying exams at his/her university, then the applicant's major advisor should state this in the letter of recommendation and confirm that the necessary coursework will have been completed by June 2012. (Our strong preference is for recommendations letters to be sent by email. If letters must be mailed, the postal address is: Sustainability Science Fellowships, Sustainability Science Program, Mailbox 81, Harvard Kennedy School, 79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 USA.)

Applicants bear full responsibility for ensuring that all materials, including recommendation letters, are received by January 15, 2012. We will NOT notify applicants of incomplete applications. Decisions will be announced by March 2012.

Selection Criteria

Fellowship applications will be evaluated according to the criteria listed below. No proposal is expected to meet all of these criteria, but those scoring high on many of the criteria will be more likely to succeed in the competition.

  • Prior success and potential contribution of the applicant to scholarship or practice of sustainability science;
  • Project significance: the potential impact of the research project on sustainability science scholarship or practice (note that the means used to pursue the research may be grounded in a single discipline or may be multidisciplinary; the requirement is that the results of the work contribute to the field of problem-inspired work on human-environment interactions that we call “sustainability science”);
  • Problem-driven relevance: the ways in which successful completion of the project would contribute to solving practical problems of sustainable development. We are interested in work relevant to any significant problem of sustainability, e.g. relevant to any dimension of Kofi Annan’s "WEHAB" (Water, Energy, Health, Agriculture, Biodiversity) agenda for the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development. For the 2012-13 competition, however, we will give significant preference to applicants whose work compliments one or more of the four SSP Initiatives.
  • Developing world component: this could include north-south relations; comparative work; be solely based in a developing country; work focusing on implications for the developing world of an issue such as governance, trade, or globalization, etc.);
  • Involves field work in the developing world;
  • Develops institutional links with an academic or practitioner/ applications/ problem-solving oriented institution in the developing world;
  • Provides synergies with a regional center at Harvard, e.g. centers for Latin America, Asia, Africa (learn more);

Diversity: The Program will attempt to select a group of fellows from a range of academic disciplines and nations whose work will focus on a variety of topics. Recipients 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 approaching sustainability issues through a single discipline are therefore also encouraged to apply.

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Scholarship Team: Ph.D Scholar Krisstofferson Joniel Scholarship Adviser, PhD Scholar Chea Vitom Scholarship Adviser and Senior Lecturer, PhD Scholar Rebecca T. Dalisay Scholarship Adviser, Ph.D Student Jiao Wang Scholarship Coordinator, MSc Student Dennise Maricel Scholarship Coordinator