Graduate Grants for Environmental Ecology and Funding for Epidemiology Studies


Where can I find grants for environmental ecology?

How about epidemiology?

Dear GrantDoctor, Greetings: Where can I find graduate/predoctoral grants for environmental ecology. The pickings appear to be slim. Thanks, Molly

Dear Molly,

Thanks for your e-mail. Grant seeking takes a little resourcefulness and a lot of perseverance, so don't be disheartened if opportunities don't fall into your lap. In fact, you're in for a lot of frustration and disappointment if you give up too easily. I recommend you look for grant categories that are not specifically geared toward funding ecological or environmental studies. At the graduate stage of your training, some funding agencies provide standard fellowships for which Ph.D. students in any discipline can apply.

The National Science Foundation's (NSF's) directorate of biology, for example, provides Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants for graduate students enrolled in many different disciplines, including environmental biology. These grants "provide partial support of doctoral dissertation research," and you can request anywhere between $3000 to $10,000 in funds. You must be sufficiently advanced in your graduate studies to apply, which means you have to include a letter from your department chair or the dean of your school with your submission. And although you must be enrolled at a U.S. institution, you don't have to be a U.S. citizen. (By the way, proposals are due by the third Friday in November, so you had better hurry up if you're interested in this one!)

If you are a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident, then you can also apply for NSF's Graduate Research Fellowships, which fund your entire research proposal. The stipend during 2001-02 will be $16,800 for a 12-month tenure, and your institution will get a "a cost-of-education allowance" of $10,500 per year. If this interests you, I'd suggest you meet with your supervisor to get your proposal organized--submissions are due by 7 November and they are very competitive.

Not all the opportunities in this arena are provided by the NSF. The National Institutes of Health has training programs, fellowships, and grants for graduate and postbaccalaureate students. Click here to find out more.

And the Environmental Protection Agency's National Center for Environmental Research has established the Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, which includes fellowships for graduate environmental study. Read their program information to find out whether you are eligible for an award and, if so, what you need to do to apply.

Also check out Environmental Education on the Internet. The site, billed as "your link to environmental education resources on the Internet," includes a list of awards and grants on environmental topics for college level and graduate students that you may find helpful.

This is just a start--with due diligence, you can always find what you are looking for. But you don't always have to do it all by yourself: Contact the appropriate sources--advisors, mentors, colleagues, and professionals--and simply ask for their advice. You've shown that you've got the initiative because you've gotten in touch with me! And remember, the sooner you start, the better off you'll be.

Happy hunting!

--The GrantDoctor

Dear GrantDoctor,

I am currently pursuing a research fellowship at the New England Medical Center in medical informatics. Previously, I trained as a physician's assistant in Kenya, and later I did postgraduate training (an M.Sc.) in clinical epidemiology in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. I have an interest in pursuing a doctoral degree in epidemiology at Harvard or Boston University in the coming year. Would you please recommend a fellowship, scholarship, or grant program(s) that I could send my applications to?

Thanks in advance.


Dear Charles,

My search of GrantsNet--Next Wave's sister funding database site--returned 70 opportunities for doctoral grants in the field of epidemiology. Of those, 25 did not require that applicants be U.S. citizens. But because I'm not sure where in epidemiology you're specific interests lie, I suggest you register in GrantsNet (it's free!) and do your own search of the database to figure out which grants best fit your interests.

You might also want to contact Harvard Medical School to better understand the kinds of research they are doing in "epidemiology." Check out their Research Opportunities page to find out more about the research landscape there. Similarly, Boston University's Research Funding Opportunities page lists scholarships and fellowships available university-wide and in specific schools.

More generally, I found a great list of links through The WWW Virtual Library for epidemiology, including a list of professional societies. Again, you might want to consider contacting those that interest you and inquire after funding opportunities.

Good luck!

--The GrantDoctor

Due to the high volume of questions received, The GrantDoctor cannot answer all queries on an individual basis. Look for an answer to your question published in this column soon! Thank you!

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