Institute at Brown for Environment and Society

Voss Undergraduate Research Fellowships in Environmental Science and Communication

Accepting Applications via UFunds Starting January 20, 2023

Application Deadline:  Friday, February 17, 2023

Voss Fellowships are the premier training and funding opportunities for undergraduates interested in environmental research at Brown, offering awardees a large stipend, plus additional funds for related expenses. They are open to rising seniors in any concentration who intend to pursue a summer project that will become the framework for their honors thesis.  Please note that the research must address a challenge facing our environment, such as - the effects of pollution on childhood asthma, the migration of species due to rising temperatures, or tackling misinformation campaigns in regard to climate change (to name a few).

Voss Fellows must have their summer project advised by either a Brown University professor, or a Brown faculty member in conjunction with an environmental practitioner based off-campus. During the fall and spring semesters of their senior year, Voss Fellows are provided with science communication training and professional development opportunities. Voss Fellows also present their research findings at an annual event in the spring semester.

Funding:

  • $4,500 stipend (domestic projects), $6,000 stipend (international projects)
  • $2,000 for research expenses
  • Department Summer Earnings Waiver (DSEW) awards for students who qualify

Restrictions:

  • These awards fund substantive experiences that involve full-time or close to full-time commitments over at least a 10-week period during the summer between a student’s junior and senior years.
  • These awards may not be combined with other funding from Brown, such as UTRAs, Royce, LINK or Environmental Studies and Sciences Research/Internship awards. However, over the past few years, there have been several students who participated in both the Royce and Voss programs, which has generally been allowed, so long as funding is only derived from one of these two programs.
  • In order to receive a Summer stipend, student must have completed filing I-9, which includes brining 2 original forms of ID to the HR Service Center

Expectations during the fellowship year:

  • Attend bi-weekly lunchtime meetings from 12:00-1:00PM on Wednesdays to discuss research progress and engage in professional development training.  This cohort building exercise is an integral part of the fellowship requirement and is not optional.

Expectations by the end of the fellowship year:

  • Provide a 1-2 paragraph summary of your summer research experience (and if possible photos of you in the field)
  • Create and present research findings at an annual event in the spring semester
  • Provide a profile picture to be used to promote the program. Photos of fellows in the field are also encouraged, but not required in case request isn't feasible
  • Submit a pdf copy of research poster for IBES records 
  • Deliver a digital abstract of your Voss Fellowship research project
  • Provide a copy of your resume with permanent mailing address and non-Brown email

Applications Submitted to the Brown UFunds site must include the following:

  1. The title of your planned research project.
  2. The name and contact information of the individual (or individuals) who will serve as your research mentor(s) and thesis advisor(s) for the summer and subsequent year.
  3. The length of the position (number of weeks) and estimated number of hours per week that you expect to work with this individual over the summer.
  4. A description, in fewer than 500 words, of the question or hypothesis you are exploring, methods you are using, and the potential significance of your finding.  Also, you should articulate how the data you will collect/analyze has the potential to change your mind about your initial question/hypothesis.
  5. A description, in fewer than 300 words, of the courses, research or other experiences you’ve had that you believe prepared you to conduct this work.
  6. A description, in fewer than 300 words, of how you believe this research experience will benefit you academically and professionally.
  7. Voss Fellowships come with a commitment of attending bimonthly meetings to work on topics beyond science, such as: effective public presentation, writing for a broad audience, and figure & slide design.  Provide a description, in fewer than 300 words, of how this year-long training opportunity fits into the plans for your thesis project and your goals after graduation.
  8. A list of other funding sources you’ve applied for or plan to apply for in order to finance this position.
  9. Two letters of recommendation, one from your research mentor and one from another individual, must be uploaded to the UFunds site by your recommenders no later than Sunday, February 26, 2023:
    1. Mentor letter should – (1) Discuss the qualities of the student that make them especially appropriate for the opportunity, (2) Mention the extent of mentor engagement, supervision and support of the student and (3) Confirm that student is in consideration or has been offered/accepted the opportunity
    2. Second Letter should – (1) Discuss the qualities of the student that make them especially appropriate for the opportunity