NatureNet Science Fellowship

The Nature Conservancy

Grant amount: Up to US $150,000

Anticipated deadline: Sep 7, 2019 8:59pm PDT

Applicant type: Postdoctoral Researcher Unaffiliated Researcher

Funding uses: Conference, Research, Fellowship

Location of project: United States

Location of residency: Anywhere in the world

Must travel to: Arizona, California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York Expand all

Degree requirements: Applicants must be within 5 years of receiving their PhD

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The Program

The NatureNet Science Fellows Program drives major scientific and engineering advances that confront climate change and all its challenges, trains new leaders in this space from a wide set of disciplines, and creates a network across universities, fellows and the conservation community that ensures tangible change. 

The program involves a novel design that gives Fellows experience in the dual worlds of academia and practice, and provides a space for new disciplinary insights to enter the realm of conservation. Fellows have two mentors, and as a team, they design cross-cutting research that transcends current disciplinary boundaries.  

Tailored thought leadership, collaboration and communications trainings give Fellows the skills needed to take their research beyond publications to impact.  The program’s novel Solution Space, held every year, puts Fellows and mentors across cohorts together in a science hack-a-thon aimed at solving an immediate and pressing conservation problem in a single week.

This program drives research to tackle the two overarching challenges of climate change:

Halting climate change

The majority of projected climate change impacts can be avoided, if we act quickly and aggressively towards a low-carbon energy system. Getting there will require major new advances in the science and engineering behind energy technology -- from storage, improved efficiency, and transmission, to new source development--and in how we deploy all energy sources--from encouraging major energy source shifts to siting and operating new infrastructure with minimal environmental impact. Fellows may tackle these challenges from the fields of physics, chemistry, landscape planning, electrical engineering, biology, nanotechnology, political science, meteorology, waste management, computer science, energy technology, geography, or transport engineering,  and may address issues like:

  • Identifying priority areas for new renewable energy development that maximize production and minimize environmental impact
  • Discovering and deploying new low carbon energy sources with minimal environmental impact
  • Identifying the full suite of environmental, social and economic risks of new energy technologies, carbon capture technologies, or even geoengineering
  • Analyzing policy or market options to encourage a rapid transition to a low-carbon economy

Adapting to the change that is already underway

Climate change is already happening, and current levels of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere have already locked the planet into significant climate disruption. The NatureNet program supports research that will identify new means for reducing these impacts and improving the ability of both nature and people to adapt. Relevant challenges will be addressed by fellows from fields as wide ranging as coral biology, agricultural technology, political economics, coastal geomorphology, ecology, forestry, water and sanitation health, climatology, environmental toxicology, agronomy, irrigation engineering, animal husbandry, fisheries, or coastal engineering, and may include:

  • Protecting coastal habitats, urban areas and vulnerable communities from sea level rise
  • Predicting and responding to extreme events to reduce impacts and ensure disaster response does not further damage vulnerable ecosystems and people
  • Managing forests as carbon sinks, migratory corridors and water filters to lessen species loss and water supply impacts
  • Designing and incentivizing climate-smart agriculture, with lower fertilizer and water needs, higher drought and flood tolerance, and lower environmental impacts
  • Establishing networks of corridors and reserves that will be resilient to climate disruption
  • Consideration of assisted migration and enhanced evolution to facilitate resilience

Participating universities

The program is run in partnership with a diversity of universities that represent traditional and nontraditional disciplines relevant to conservation science.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Ideal candidates for NatureNet Science Fellowships are outstanding early-career scientists and engineers who seek to improve and expand their research skills while directing their efforts toward problems at the interface of climate, conservation, business and technology.
  • Eligible individuals will have completed their doctorate within the past five years. 
    • Applicants who have not yet completed their doctorate must clearly indicate on the application the date the degree is expected. 
  • The program is run in partnership with a diversity of universities. 
    • Applicants must identify one university as their home institution, but are encouraged to suggest collaborations with additional universities and institutions if those collaborations will greatly enhance the research.
  • Applicants are also encouraged to identify a potential university mentor.