Sustainability Science Fellowships at Harvard University

This is pretty much on short notice, but nevertheless – as I consider it a great opportunity – something the spontaneous of you might think about and the thorough planner in you will start to think about and reconsider next year, when the fellowship will be open again…

Doctoral, Post-doctoral, and Mid-career Fellowships

Due date for applications: January 15, 2014

The Sustainability Science Program at Harvard University invites applications for resident fellowships in sustainability science for the academic year beginning in September 2014. The fellowship competition is open to advanced doctoral and post-doctoral students, and to mid-career professionals engaged in research or practice to facilitate the design, implementation, and evaluation of effective interventions that promote sustainable development. Some of the most serious constraints to sustainable development lie in the interconnections among sectors: energy’s growing need for water; the impacts of water use on human health; the competition for land among food, energy and conservation initiatives; and the cumulative impact of all sectoral initiatives on climate and other key environmental services.  A central challenge is to develop an integrated understanding of how sectoral initiatives for sustainability can compete with and complement one another in particular regional contexts. The 2014-15 fellowship competition therefore focuses on regional initiatives pursing an integrated perspective on sustainable development in India, China and Brazil. It also includes a cross-cutting research initiative to integrate work focused on the theme of Innovation for Sustainable Development. Preference in this year’s competition will be given to applicants whose proposals complement one or more of these four initiatives.  The Initiatives (see below), are led by Professors William Clark, Henry Lee, Paul Moorcroft, and Rohini Pande. The Program is also open, however, to strong proposals in any area of sustainability science.  In addition to general funds available to support this fellowship offering, special funding for the Giorgio Ruffolo Fellowships in Sustainability Science is available to support citizens of Italy, Brazil, China, India or developing countries who are therefore especially encouraged to apply. For more information on the fellowships application process see http://www.hks.harvard.edu/centers/mrcbg/programs/sustsci/fellowships. Applications are due January 15, 2014 and decisions will be announced in March 2014.

Governance Innovations for Sustainable Development: Building Public-Private Partnerships in India
Faculty leader: Rohini Pande, Mohammed Kamal Professor of Public Policy
Faculty co-leader: Michael Greenstone
Please direct all inquiries to the Initiative Manager, Robert Rosenbaum
Sustainable development, by its nature, requires government and private actors to work together. Externalities from rapid growth, such as the depletion of subsidized resources, widespread air and water pollution or unsustainable energy use, arise from a joint failure of government and industry to create an economy where the most profitable action is also best socially. Governance Innovations for Sustainable Development is a research program working with governments to channel the enterprising potential of the private sector to correct such externalities. This initiative addresses questions in sustainable environmental regulation in India of both national and global import, and provides evidence on how public-private partnerships can contribute to solving existing challenges. Our research focuses on three overarching problems. First, existing environmental regulations are weakly enforced by possibly under-resourced regulators, leading to poor environmental quality. Second, traditional regulations, even if strengthened, are not the right tools to address many of India’s pollution problems. Third, from the perspective of sustainability of resource use, India’s inefficient and rapidly growing energy consumption threatens to undermine its own development by contributing to global climate change. The research team is partnering with government and private institutions in order to conduct field trials of innovative environmental policies and provide rigorous evidence on their impact for sustainable development. Doctoral, post-doctoral, and mid-career candidates are encouraged to apply.

Sustainable Development of the Amazon and its Surrounding Regions: The Interplay of Changing Climate, Hydrology, and Land Use
Faculty leader: Paul Moorcroft, Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
Faculty co-leader: John Briscoe
Ongoing agricultural expansion and other land use changes in Amazonia and the surrounding regions are expected to continue over the next several decades as global demand for food and biofuel increases and regional economies expand. The conversion of natural forest and cerrado ecosystems to pastureland and agricultural crops creates warmer and drier atmospheric conditions than the native vegetation. In addition, human induced climate change arising from increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is expected to push the Amazon region towards a warmer and drier state. In a number of recent climate modeling studies, the Amazon has been shown to exhibit two contrasting states for the water cycle and ecosystems of the region: a moist forested state, and an alternate drier and warmer state with sparser vegetation. This has raised the question of whether deforestation and conversion to agricultural land cause the atmosphere-vegetation-hydrologic system of the Amazon to switch from its current moist state to the warmer and drier one? And if so, will this new state have sufficient precipitation to sustain the natural and managed ecosystems, and hydropower operations in the region? In this study, we are answering these questions using (a) a newly-developed state-of-the-art coupled vegetation-atmosphere model to investigate the stability of the Amazonian hydrologic system (sometimes referred to as “rivers in the sky”, as well as accompanying river flows on the ground) to scenarios of land use and climate change and (b) models to assess the implications of hydrological changes on the hydropower and agricultural economies of Brazil. Post-doctoral candidates who have experience with integrated land-water-climate models and/or experience analyzing patterns and trends of land use and land use change are particularly encouraged to apply as are candidates with expertise in the hydrological drivers of the hydropower and agricultural systems.

Sustainable Development of the Energy Sector in China: Challenges and Options
Faculty leader: Henry Lee, Jassim M. Jaidah Director, Environment and Natural Resources Program
Faculty co-leaders: Laura Diaz Anadon, Venkatesh Narayanamurti
The China Initiative addresses the environmental implications of energy policies in China and explores how China can manage these implications. Fellows work to identify and promote policies that will contribute to the thoughtful use of China’s natural resources (e.g., water, land) and/or the adoption of cleaner and less carbon-intensive industrial and energy technologies. Research areas include, but are not limited to: analyzing the impact of energy and industrial policies on water scarcity and air pollution; assessing polices to promote a low-carbon energy portfolio and an analysis of options to improve the efficient use of energy. Post-doctoral and mid-career candidates, especially those who speak Chinese, are particularly encouraged to apply.

Innovation and Access to Technologies for Sustainable Development
Faculty leader: William Clark, Brooks Professor of International Science, Public Policy and Human Development
Faculty co-leaders: Laura Diaz Anadon, Kira Matus, Suerie Moon
Meeting sustainable development goals will require harnessing and maximizing the potential of technological innovation. Examples of such technologies include carbon capture and storage systems, more efficient irrigation methods, essential medicines, household water purification devices, and manufacturing processes that minimize waste and pollution. While some needed innovations can be fostered through existing public and private mechanisms at the national level, such efforts have proven inadequate to meet global sustainability goals, particularly with regard to meeting the needs of the world’s poorest, most vulnerable or marginalized in current and future generations. Too often, technologies are either not developed at all for lack of a sufficiently profitable market, or if developed, are not accessible or well-adapted to end-user needs. This initiative seeks to advance knowledge and understanding of how to equitably improve the functioning of the “global innovation system” for sustainable development technologies. We have been conducting comparative studies of how well the system functions to meet five sustainable development needs (food, energy, health, manufactured goods, and water), with a special focus on equity and access.  The initiative examines specific cases of “system interventions” (e.g., policy interventions, institutional innovations, new approaches to shaping the innovation process) intended to strengthen the global innovation system, with the broader aim of developing policy recommendations that draw from, and are generalizable across, multiple sectors. The findings will contribute to realizing the potential of science and technology to meet the most pressing sustainable development challenges. Doctoral, post-doctoral, and mid-career candidates are encouraged to apply.

Contact for more information

Nancy Dickson
Senior Researcher, Harvard Kennedy School
Co-Director, Sustainability Science Program
79 John F. Kennedy Street, Box 81
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA
+1-617-496-9469;

nancy_dickson@hks.harvard.edu
http://www.hks.harvard.edu/mrcbg/sustsci

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