Earth Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

The Earth Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship program is the premier program in the world for those dedicated to a better understanding of critical scientific and social issues in global sustainable development. Earth Institute Postdoctoral Fellows, often referred to as the EI Fellows, will join multidisciplinary teams of outstanding, committed scientists from across the Earth Institute and Columbia University.

The EI Fellows program provides innovative postdoctoral scholars with the opportunity to build a foundation in one of the core disciplines represented within the Earth Institute (i.e. social, earth, biological, engineering, and health sciences), while at the same time acquiring the breadth of cross-disciplinary expertise needed to address critical issues related to sustainable development. Specific areas of research include food security, energy systems, climate change impacts, poverty reduction, disease, and environmental degradation. The program offers a unique intellectual surrounding that fosters cross-disciplinary interaction, research and education.

To apply, candidates must complete the online application and submit a proposal for research that would contribute to the goal of global sustainable development. Proposals may suggest participating in, contributing to, or extending existing multidisciplinary Earth Institute projects. Candidates are also encouraged to develop new, innovative projects that connect Earth Institute expertise. In addition to submitting the application and proposal, candidates are encouraged to identify and contact their desired multidisciplinary mentoring team, i.e. two or more senior faculty members or research scientists/scholars at Columbia University with whom they would like to work during their appointment.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the program, candidates must have received their doctoral degrees (Ph.D., M.D. or J.D.) within five years prior to the start of the appointment. All doctoral requirements must be fulfilled and the degree awarded before the start of the fellowship. People holding current positions with rank above post-doctoral scientist are not eligible for appointment under university rules. Those holding current post-doc positions should contact our office to determine eligibility.

The program is open to U.S. and non-U.S. citizens. Columbia University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer. Minorities and women are encouraged to apply.

Start Date and Duration

EI Fellows are appointed for twenty-four months and appointments typically begin September 1. However, depending on individual circumstances, as well as the needs of a fellow’s host research unit, appointments may begin as early as July 1.

Funding

EI Fellows will receive an annual salary of $61,800. They are also awarded a research stipend of $12,000 over the two-year term for reimbursable expenses related to the fellowship. These funds can be used for relocation and moving expenses, as well as for computer, travel, conference, journal, book, software, equipment, and other research costs.

External Funding

EI Fellows are encouraged to participate in the development and submission of research proposals in cooperation with their mentors, host research units, or other researchers. When doing so, they must follow all Columbia University rules applicable to postdoctoral scholars.

Visas

Columbia University only grants limited-term J1 visas for non-US citizens. Read more information on Columbia’s visa eligibility policies online.

Benefits

EI Fellows are considered Officers of Research and are eligible for benefits provided by Columbia University for full-time employees. For more information, please visit Columbia's Office of Human Resources online. The rules, regulations and policies that govern employment at Columbia are also listed on the website.

Housing

The Earth Institute does not provide housing allocation for postdoctoral fellows. Fellows may contact Columbia's Housing Office for informal guidance on acquiring housing in the areas near the university.

Program Activities

The EI Fellows program hosts a series of activities that explore interdisciplinary issues in sustainable development, bring the fellows together as a community, and introduce the fellows to a diverse array of Columbia faculty and researchers.

  • Orientation: A weeklong series of information sessions and visits to Earth Institute research units.
  • Spring and Fall Symposia: Two public symposia per year in which both first-year and second-year fellows present their research and participate in discussions with the audience. The symposia provided a great opportunity for fellows to engage the Columbia research community as well as the larger public in innovative research in sustainable development.
  • Earth Institute Fellows Seminars: A weekly seminar series in which each fellow presents her or his ongoing research. Visiting speakers also participate in the seminars. Fellows may also coordinate group projects that are designed, discussed and implemented during these times. The meetings are informal and designed to foster interdisciplinary and problem-solving discussions among EI Fellows, faculty and researchers. Lunch is provided. Two second-year EI Fellows coordinate the seminars each year.
  • Earth Institute Fellows Retreats and Special Events: Special outings to unique locations in the New York City area that seek to create a sense of community among the Fellows, to connect them to New York, and to provide intellectual stimuli.
  • Other Earth Institute Seminar Series: EI Fellows receive invitations to other events and speaker series at Columbia, including those sponsored by the Earth Institute's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO), Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), Center for Environmental Research and Conservation (CERC), Earth Engineering Center (EEC), Center for Global Health and Economic Development (CGHED), Center for Globalization and Sustainable Development (CGSD), Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), and Center for Hazards and Risk Research (CHRR).

Funding

EI Fellows will receive an annual salary of $61,800. They are also awarded a research stipend of $12,000 over the two-year term for reimbursable expenses related to the fellowship. These funds can be used for relocation and moving expenses, as well as for computer, travel, conference, journal, book, software, equipment, and other research costs.

The Earth Institute does not provide housing allocation for postdoctoral fellows.

Application

Deadline: October 31, 2017 by 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

To apply to the EI Fellows program candidates must submit the following documents:

  • Online Application
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Brief Personal History
  • Research Proposal
  • 3 Recommendation Letters

In addition to submitting the application and proposal, applicants are encouraged, but not required, to contact their desired multidisciplinary mentoring team, i.e. two or more senior faculty members or research scientists/scholars at Columbia University with whom they would like to work during their appointment. Please note that an endorsement from a faculty member or researcher does not guarantee acceptance into the program.

Research Proposal Format

Five (5) page maximum; double-spaced; one-inch margins; minimum 11 point standard font.

References are required but not counted toward the 5-page maximum. They should be included in the same document.

The research proposal should address how the proposed work will contribute to the goal of global sustainable development. Proposals may suggest participating in, contributing to, or extending existing multidisciplinary Earth Institute projects. Candidates are also encouraged to develop new, innovative projects that connect Earth Institute expertise.

Brief Personal History Format

Two (2) page maximum, double-spaced; one-inch margins, minimum 11 point standard font. The personal statement should include the following elements based on their relevance to your situation:

  • Brief personal introduction and research statement
  • Summary of any discussions you have had with potential mentors. Note: endorsement from a faculty member or researcher does not guarantee acceptance into the program.
  • Gaps in employment or studies will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Prior postdoctoral positions - Columbia University policy only allows a cumulative maximum of 3 years in a postdoctoral position, whether held at or outside of the university. If you have prior postdoc experience, please contact Samantha Ostrowski to discuss your application.

Recommendation Letters

Three (3) recommendation letters are required by November 9, 2017, 5 p.m. EST. Once an application is successfully submitted, the references listed will receive an email with the Applicant ID and the link to upload their letter.

Note: We strongly recommend informing your references of the request for a letter in advance of submitting your application. We also recommend following up with your references after you have applied to ensure that they have received the information to upload their letter.

Research Foci and Mentors

Research foci are determined by the fellows themselves. Thus, EI Fellows play an active, independent role in developing their own areas of expertise and research agendas. Candidates are encouraged to review the list of the Earth Institute's research units and relevant Columbia University and Barnard College departments to see the breadth of potential mentors and collaborators actively engaged in research at the university.

Selection Procedure

Applications are reviewed by the Earth Institute Postdoctoral Fellows Selection Committee, which is composed of senior Earth Institute faculty from across the Institute. Care is taken to ensure that all of the Earth Institute's core disciplines are represented in the Committee.

An initial, rigorous review of the applications examines several factors, including the following: educational and professional merit; relevance and strength of the research proposal; quality of the recommendations; relevance of the proposed research to the core interest of the Earth Institute to seek solutions to obstacles to sustainable development; and current needs and priorities of the Earth Institute.

Applications that merit further consideration are moved forward to the directors of one or more relevant Earth Institute research units. Based on feedback received from the research units, the Selection Committee reevaluates the applications in great detail before reaching a final decision.

Decisions

Fellowships will be announced in late February, 2018.

Application date
31 Oct 2017
Duration
24 months
Country
America United States Mid-Atlantic
Discipline
Social sciences Business and Administrative Sciences Communication Sciences Demography Economics Environmental Sciences Gender Studies Geography International Relations Law Pedagogic & Education Research Political science Psychology & Cognitive Sciences Social Anthropology Sociology Other Agronomy Biology Engineering Medicine
Required post-doc experience: 
between 0 and 5 years
Award granted
US$ 61.800/year + research stipend
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