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About the Next Generation Fellowship

The UCAR Next Generation graduate Fellowship is a prestigious, multi-faceted opportunity to explore the interplay between the areas of scientific researchdiversity and inclusion, and public policy within the field of Earth Systems Science. Fellows engage with, and learn from UCAR’s leaders in these three arenas while participating in dedicated professional development and leadership training opportunities.

Each Fellow receives a $40,000 award over two years ($10,000 twice per year); up to 20 weeks of paid research trip to Boulder, CO or Washington, D.C. or other agreed upon location; funding to attend conferences, professional coaching; and the support of a like minded cohort. 

The primary goals of this program are to facilitate engaged, motivated “Next Generation” students in exploring the intersections between Earth System Science, diversity and inclusion, and public policy, and to support Fellows in becoming changemakers in the field of atmospheric and Earth System Sciences. The Next Generation Fellowship facilitates an equitable collaboration between a graduate student (the Fellow) and their track mentors. Fellows are responsible for leading the work pursued during their Fellowship, and have considerable freedom to build interdisciplinary knowledge and collaborations, especially across the fields of policy, DEI and scientific research. 


The Next Generation Fellowship program recruits graduate students into one of three tracks. At the base level, each track follows a similar path, with Fellows working closely with their mentors to identify project goals for their time in the Fellowship. Fellows have the opportunity to participate in Fellowship visits, designed to facilitate in person collaboration with their mentors, and they all participate in group professional development programming. However, each track has specific opportunities and expectations, which are delineated below. 


Earth System Science fellows have the opportunity to collaborate with any of UCAR science teams on their research topic of choice, either at NSF NCAR or UCP. This fellowship track provides an excellent opportunity to spend time collaborating closely with leading experts in your field in order to further your research interests. 

Given the breadth of research conducted across UCAR, it is up to each applicant to identify which lab or person they would like to collaborate with during their fellowship. It is also advisable to contact the researchers you might like to work with before submitting your application to ensure their availability and interest in working with you. 

This fellowship track is for graduate students who would like to explore DEI as a possible career option. Successful applicants demonstrate their commitment to increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion practices in the field of Earth System Science. This fellowship offers one of the few, if only, opportunities to experience the role of a diversity officer at a scientific research institution. 

Although inherently flexible, many DEI fellows spend their first year interacting with and learning from UCAR’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team. During their first Fellowship visit, DEI fellows often spend their time shadowing and collaborating with existing DEI programs at UCAR, while developing ideas for a project. Fellows then spend their second year implementing their project plan. Project implementation often revolves around gaining expertise in one or more skills beneficial to DEI work. Although Fellows have considerable freedom to explore topics of personal interest to them, exploring topics aligned with the areas of expertise offered by UCAR’s ODEI will offer the most effective experience. 

As a Next Gen Policy Fellow, you will spend time collaborating with and learning from UCAR’s Government Relations team. You will have the opportunity to leverage your expertise in Earth System Sciences to develop skills and best practices used in successful science policy development. These skills might include hearing summarization, legislative analysis and the development of policy briefings during their fellowship visits.

Policy Fellows often flex their Fellowship Visits to take advantage of unique opportunities facilitated by this program. This could include collaborating with UCAR’s Government Relations team in Washington DC, attending the American Meteorological Society’s Policy Colloquium, and/or conducting a formal internship on Capitol Hill, funded by UCAR.