The University of Arizona

Environment & Society Dissertation Improvement Grant | CLIMAS

Environment & Society Dissertation Improvement Grant

The Climate Assessment for the Southwest program is currently accepting applications for a one-time Environment & Society Dissertation Improvement Grant. This funding opportunity is designed to support University of Arizona doctoral students to further develop a collaborative component of their dissertation research.

The Environment & Society Dissertation Improvement Grant provides a $14,000 stipend and the opportunity to develop knowledge, training, and experience in applied environmental and social sciences and science communication. Proposed projects should incorporate an engaged research approach that meets a need expressed by a stakeholder, defined as an organization, community, or person affected by the research outcomes. Given the emphasis of this fellowship, the strongest applicants will have progressed to Ph.D. candidacy with clear plans for collaborative elements in their dissertation research. Competitive proposals will describe methods for stakeholder engagement and collaboration, examples of which include workshops, project meetings, co-development of data analyses, and writing reports or other outputs to meet stakeholder information needs. Projects can take place anywhere in the world. Previous Environment & Society fellows are eligible to apply.

Applicants must be:

  • A doctoral student from any department at the University of Arizona
  • Making good progress toward their degree, and ideally advanced to PhD candidacy by Fall 2022
  • Conducting collaborative research that incorporates environmental and societal issues

Applications must include:

  • A concise project description, maximum 2000 words, exclusive of references and other application components. See below for more details.
  • A proposed timeline of project activities, outputs, and goals
  • An up-to-date curriculum vitae.
  • One letter of support from your graduate advisor that endorses your application and demonstrates their understanding of the collaborative nature of your project. 

Project descriptions should address:

  • A brief background of your project
  • The environmental and/or societal problem your research aims to address
  • Who your stakeholders are
  • Why your research is useful to these stakeholders
  • Your level of engagement with stakeholders at the time of application
  • Your approach and methods to engage stakeholders
  • A general understanding of the practice of direct engagement with stakeholders to carry out collaborative research and communication
  • How these stakeholder interactions will strengthen your project and your overall career goals

A reference that provides background information about developing impactful collaborative projects and may help applicants develop their proposals is: Planning and Evaluating the Societal Impacts of Climate Change Research Projects.

The successful candidate will:

  • Submit two blog posts for Southwestern Oscillations (the CLIMAS blog) or complete another kind of public engagement product about their research.
  • Attend quarterly meetings to discuss research progress.
  • Participate in a podcast interview for the Southwest Climate Podcast
  • Submit a written report of project results, research findings, and a reflection on conducting collaborative research.

Deadline: Applications are due by 11:59pm on Monday, April 25, 2022.

Semi-finalists may be asked to participate in an additional interview before the finalist is selected. 

Please submit your application via the webform below. Your application should be submitted as one document, either as a .pdf or .docx, except for the letter of support from your advisor. Letters from advisors should be emailed directly to Gigi Owen ( and are due on the same day as the application. Applicants are responsible for communicating to their advisor about submission deadlines.  

Questions: Please contact Gigi Owen ( with any questions about the Environment & Society Dissertation Improvement Grant, the application process, eligibility, or if your project is a good fit. 

The Environment & Society Dissertation Improvement Grant is made possible by CLIMAS, the University of Arizona Office of Research, Innovation, & Impact (RII), and the Arizona Institute for Resilient Environments and Societies (AIRES).

CLIMAS Background: CLIMAS, housed at the University of Arizona’s Institute of the Environment, is part of the nationwide Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessment (RISA) program funded by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). CLIMAS promotes participatory research involving scientists, decision makers, resource users, educators, and others who need more and better information about climate and its impacts. CLIMAS investigators research the nature, causes, and consequences of climate change and variability in the southwestern United States. 

Files must be less than 5 MB.
Allowed file types: pdf doc docx.