Application Guidelines

Application Guidelines

Dow Sustainability Fellows Program 

If you are interested in the practical application of energy efficiency, climate, waste reduction, and related topics, then this co-curricular program may be a good fit for you. Full-time graduate students from all disciplines, schools, and colleges on U-M's Ann Arbor campus are welcome to apply (including BIPOC, first-generation, and other students). Fellows team members work together and in partnership with a variety of organizations.

Students: Contact An Administrator
Graduate students are encouraged to contact their school/college graduate advisor or an administrator to be nominated as a Dow Fellow. Schools/colleges administer a pre-application (nominee) process and may nominate up to 10 students. Once nominated, candidates complete a full application that is reviewed by a committee. (Material submitted during the nominee process may be used for a full application.)

  • Annually, Dow Fellows are selected from candidates across the U-M Ann Arbor campus
  • The cohort begins in January and concludes in December of the same year

The Dow Fellows Program is administered by the Graham Sustainability Institute at U-M. The Institute facilitates engaged research, develops sustainability leaders, and informs policy and practice.

Program Focus, 2021-2023: Circular Economy and Climate Protection. The intersection of a circular economy and climate involves managing resources — including air, land, and water — and the production of physical products, by reducing or eliminating waste and working toward carbon neutrality. Climate Protection includes energy efficiency, renewable energy, greenhouse gas reduction, carbon neutrality planning, and more (justice, equity, and inclusion).

Stipend: In addition to receiving a $20K stipend (two $10K disbursements), each Fellow participates in a substantial interdisciplinary team project for a year. In addition, Fellows attend required monthly professional development seminars in project management, community engagement, communications, and more.

Interdisciplinary Sustainability Project: A major focus of the Dow Fellows Program is working with interdisciplinary teams to produce a suite of innovative recommendations, toolkits, or other products for an organizational partner external to the university. Fellows are encouraged to develop a comprehensive stance or an analysis of options on a particular sustainability challenge, or a comparable deliverable approved in advance by the program manager and director. Past projects have addressed significant challenges in Michigan (Detroit, Benton Harbor, Saginaw, Upper Peninsula), regionally (Great Lakes), or globally (Brazil, Africa, India, Costa Rica, Mexico).

Time Commitment: To meet program requirements and be eligible for funding, Fellows must participate fully in the interdisciplinary project and co-curricular events/seminars. See details below.

  • Each Fellow spends a minimum of 150 hours on an interdisciplinary, collaborative project.
  • Early January - Full-day Retreat: Participate in a welcome to the program, networking, and discussion about potential projects, and learn about program expectations.
  • Monday Evenings (5:15 - 7:30 PM): Hold open this time for seminars, cohort networking, meetings with project teams, and consultants.
  • Early December - Dow Symposium: All project teams present to an audience of colleagues, partners, and program supporters.

Have A Good Project Idea?
Nominees who wish to submit a sustainability project idea are encouraged to contact the Dow Fellows Program as soon as they are nominated. We will speak to your potential project partner who must be willing to dedicate time and resources to a Fellows team for one year.

All Fellows will review and rank a portfolio of possible project ideas. In early January, Fellows form teams to begin engaging with a project partner. Note: All project teams MUST secure an organizational partner external to U-M before January in order to be considered by the new cohort.

Get Credit for Your Project Work
Fellows may earn independent study credit in their home unit for project work completed through the program. Talk with your academic advisor, and provide a copy of the project scope of work to match degree requirements to the Dow Fellows Program. Advisors: Contact the program manager or director for additional information.