Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sustainability Science Fellowships at Harvard University, USA

Doctoral, Post-doctoral, and Mid-career Fellowships: Sustainability Science Fellowships at Harvard University, USA

Due date for applications: January 15, 2012

The Sustainability Science Program at Harvard University invites applications for resident fellowships in sustainability science for the academic year beginning in September 2012. 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 moving forward is to develop an integrated understanding of how sectoral initiatives for sustainability can compete with and complement one another in particular regional contexts. The 2012-13 fellowship competition will therefore focus on regional initiatives pursing an integrated perspective on sustainable development in India, China and Brazil. It will also include 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, Michael Kremer, 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 Applications are due January 15, 2012 and decisions will be announced by March 2012.

India: Building public-private partnerships to promote sustainable development in India
Faculty leader:  Rohini Pande, Mohammed Kamal Professor of Public Policy

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.  The India Initiative will address sustainability problems in India of both national and global import.  The motivation for this research program is to work with governments to channel the enterprising potential of the private sector to correct such externalities.  The research will address questions in sustainable environmental regulation and provide evidence on how public-private partnerships can contribute to solving existing challenges.  We focus on three research areas.  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 will partner with government and private institutions in order to conduct field trials of innovative environmental policies to provide rigorous evidence on the impact of these policies for sustainable development. Doctoral, post-doctoral, and mid-career candidates are encouraged to apply.

China:  Energy in China: Environmental implications and management for sustainable development
Faculty leader: Henry Lee, Jassim M. Jaidah Director, Environment and Natural Resources Program

The China Initiative will address the environmental implications of electrification and other energy policies in China and explore how China can manage these implications.  Fellows will work to identify and promote policies that will contribute to 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; assessing barriers to the development or deployment of cleaner energy technologies; and studying the impact of industrialization on health and fragile ecosystems.  Post-doctoral and mid-career candidates, especially those who speak Chinese, are particularly encouraged to apply.

Brazil: Sustainable Development of the Amazon and its surrounding regions: The interplay of climate, hydrology, and land use
Faculty leader:  Paul Moorcroft, Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology

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 also 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 native forest and productivity of adjacent agricultural areas?  In this study we propose to answer these questions by developing a coupled vegetation-atmosphere model to investigate the stability of the Amazonian hydrologic system (“rivers in the sky” as well as flows on the ground) to scenarios of land use and climate change .  We expect to come closer to capturing the true response and thresholds of the Amazonian system than previous studies because our model has a more realistic representation of the dynamic response of the native vegetation, and the study will incorporate a range of land change scenarios.   By doing so we will be able to answer the question: How much deforestation is too much? Post-doc 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.

Innovation for Sustainability: Enhancing the Production of Essential Global Public Goods
Faculty leaders:
William Clark, Brooks Professor of International Science, Public Policy and Human Development

Michael Kremer, Gates Professor of Developing Countries and Professor of Economics
This Initiative seeks to transform our understanding of the processes governing innovation in the production of global public goods (GPGs) needed for a transition toward sustainability.  In particular, we aim to discover how innovation systems can be designed that will simultaneously stimulate needed inventions and promote widespread and equitable access to the fruits of those inventions. The last two decades have served up a surprising number of ad-hoc operational experiments in improving the production of sustainability GPGs on topics as different as anti-retroviral medicines for HIV/AIDS, the development of gene banks, and the deployment of famine early warning systems.  Those experiments, however, are generally poorly described, little known beyond their respective sectors and therefore not contributing as much as they might to understanding or promoting the production of GPGs essential for sustainability.  This project is an effort to move to the next level of integrated and synthetic understanding. We propose a 3 track approach: 1) Reconceptualizing innovation of global public goods for sustainability: We will construct, apply, evaluate and revise an integrated framework for understanding the innovation process involved in the production of sustainability GPGs.  2) Comparing sectoral experiences: We will analyze a global cross-section of ad hoc experiments in new ways of providing sustainability GPGs using a template.  3) Conducting in-depth empirical studies: We will carry out a set of detailed empirical studies to test specific hypotheses about successful production of sustainability GPGs that arise from our sectoral comparisons. This research will employ our conceptual framework to pose similar questions across sectors and countries about how the system of GPG provision has responded to the full range of “push” and “pull” mechanisms that we will have identified through our sectoral comparisons.  Doctoral, post-doctoral, and mid-career candidates are encouraged to apply.

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