The University of Michigan defines sustainability as an emerging field of problem-driven, interdisciplinary scholarship and practice that seeks to protect the environment and enhance quality of life for present and future generations. The field is defined by the problems it addresses rather than the disciplines it employs. It draws from multiple disciplines of the natural, social, engineering, design, and medical sciences; from the professions and humanities; and from practical field experience in business, government, and civil society.
Established through a gift from the Dow Chemical Company, the Dow Postdoctoral Sustainability Fellows Program is administered by the Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute (Graham) at the University of Michigan (U-M) to support full-time U-M postdoctoral scholars committed to finding interdisciplinary, actionable, and meaningful sustainability solutions on local-to-global scales. The program aspires to prepare future sustainability scholars and leaders to make a positive difference in organizations worldwide.
These fellowships are designed to support a new generation of sustainability scholars who understand the necessity of collaborating across disciplines and sectors to address and solve complex sustainability challenges. They provide a unique opportunity for fellows to interact intensively with interesting, talented people across disciplines; to learn skills and gain knowledge that will enrich subsequent research and practice; and engage in an intellectual environment with unique professional opportunities. Fellowships are funded through a mix of support from the Dow program and U-M units/faculty with whom the fellows work.
The program seeks candidates working on sustainability issues at the interface of the social sciences/humanities and natural/physical/engineering sciences.
Requirements and Guidelines
Eligibility: The Program is accepting applications from qualified candidates who are at the beginning of their academic careers, having received the Ph.D. or comparable professional or artistic degree within four years of the fellowship start date (i.e., between September 1, 2009 and September 1, 2013). In rare circumstances, this timeframe can be relaxed, but you must consult with the program (firstname.lastname@example.org) before completing your application if your degree was awarded before September 1, 2009. Non-US citizens may apply.
Successful candidates will come from a wide range of disciplines/backgrounds. The following list of potential study areas/topics is intended to convey the breadth of fellowship areas and should NOT be considered an exhaustive list:
• Building communities that sustain healthy families
• Green buildings, urban infrastructure, development, mobility
• Sustainable food and water systems
• Corporate sustainability strategies and sustainable markets
• Behavioral and cultural change
• Economics and policy
• Energy supply, demand and transmission
• Clean technology: Nanotechnology, bio-based materials
• Climate change mitigation and adaptation.
• Terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and their services
• Natural resources management, extraction, and conservation
• Public health: risk communication, and community engagement
• Decision-making in the public and private sectors
Fellowship Selection: A diverse faculty review committee will identify a pool of top candidates to forward to potential faculty mentors and home departments/schools for further review. The proposed faculty mentors, home departments, and the Graham Executive Committee are jointly responsible for recommending fellows for final selection by the program director.
Fellowship Term: This is a two-year fellowship that follows the United States academic cycle (begins in September and ends in August).
Fellowship Award: Each Fellow receives an annual stipend of at least $52,000, U-M medical and dental benefits, and access to $2,000-5,000/year for research and related travel.
Fellowship Requirements and Responsibilities:
• If the home academic unit requires teaching as part of the appointment, it would be no more than one course per academic year.
• Fellows must be in residence in Ann Arbor for the academic year (September – May) and participate in Dow Postdoctoral Program activities. Reasonable absences for field work may be allowed but must be disclosed and approved by the program director in advance.
• Fellows must actively participate in monthly seminars and occasional program workshops.
• At the end of each fellowship year, Fellows are required to submit a written report on their activities and accomplishments during the year.
• Fellows are required to acknowledge their Fellowship in any publications that result from work done during their tenure.
• Fellows are encouraged to mentor doctoral and masters/professional degree Dow fellows as appropriate, and participate in the proposal competition for the Distinguished Awards for Interdisciplinary Sustainability (http://sustainability.umich.edu/distinguished-awards-interdisciplinary-s...).
Application deadline: December 15, 2012
All application materials, except the two letters of recommendation, must be submitted by the candidate in the order listed below as a single PDF file uploaded in black and white (i.e., no color images or fonts).
Application materials include:
• Application form
• Career goal statement
• Curriculum vitae
• Research proposal
• Writing sample
• Collaboration Form
• Transcripts of all graduate and undergraduate coursework. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable.
• Letters of Recommendation (2)
Applications must be submitted online at: http://www.graham.umich.edu/forms/Proposal.php?pid=DOWPD:26
Career goal statement
This statement of 800 words or less should include:
• How your research and career goals/interests extend beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries.
• How participation in the Dow Fellows program will enhance your ability to pursue and engage in impactful sustainability work.
The curriculum vitae should include the following components:
a. Educational background
b. Relevant business or professional experience
c. Academic honors
d. Membership in professional organizations
e. Complete list of publications and presentations
Your research proposal, up to five double-spaced pages (12 pt font and 1 inch margins), should outline your research aims for your postdoctoral fellowship and should clearly extend beyond your dissertation research. Proposals should demonstrate a clear connection to sustainability themes and move beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries. Please keep in mind that your project proposal will be read and evaluated by experts from a variety of fields.
The writing sample should be an article, book chapter, or dissertation chapter not to exceed 40 pages.
U-M Faculty Mentor
Your application requires a collaboration agreement with a U-M faculty mentor. At the time of application, you must submit the name of an active U-M faculty member who has agreed to serve as your mentor during the fellowship period. After your application has been submitted, the identified faculty mentor will receive and complete an online form to confirm s/he is willing to serve as your faculty mentor. Faculty members are limited to serving as the formal mentor for only one applicant per application cycle.
The department/unit with which your U-M faculty mentor is affiliated should be the same academic department/ unit you would expect to be affiliated with during your time at the University of Michigan.
To help identify and connect with a potential faculty collaborator at the University of Michigan, applicants should search our Sustainability Experts database, which is available online at: http://graham.umich.edu/research/findresearcher.php
For questions about identification of potential mentors, contact email@example.com.
Letters of Recommendation
Two letters of recommendation are required from scholars who are able to describe your qualifications for conducting sustainability-focused postdoctoral research that extends beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries. Please note that a letter from the U-M faculty member who you list as a mentor will not count toward the two required letters of recommendation. As part of the application, you are required to submit the names and contact information for your letter writers. After you complete your application submission, the recommendation writers you list will receive an email with a web link and instructions for uploading your letters directly to the Graham Institute.
The recommendation letter submission deadline is January 15, 2013
You will ONLY receive an email notification after submitting your portion of the application. All application materials and evaluations will remain confidential. All applicants will be notified of their status by April 30, 2013. However, the review committee is not able to provide feedback on individual applications.