The Katherine S. and James K. Lau Graduate Fellowship in Climate Equity

Administered by: The Rausser College of Natural Resources 

ONLY students who have advanced to candidacy are eligible for this fellowship. Non US residents are eligible to apply. Eligible students may come from the colleges (departments) participating in the climate equity cluster hire including: College of Engineering, Department of Civid and Environmental Engineering; College of Environmental Design; College of Letters and Science, Social Science Division; Rausser College of Natural Resources; as well as the School of Public Health.

DEADLINE: Friday, February 17, 2023

The Rausser College of Natural Resources is pleased to announce the call for the spring 2023 applications to the Katherine and James Lau Fellowship.


The fellowship will support doctoral students pursuing climate equity and/or environmental justice research with an emphasis on ameliorating the impacts of climate change on vulnerable populations and addressing root causes of inequality.

Applications may request support for summer research 2023 in this spring call. and/or 2023 fall semester fellowship. Selection will focus on research that is multidisciplinary in nature and community-based. We encourage applicants to describe how will they will work with a community partner, or partners in a public agency; if applicants have not already developed such a partnership, we expect them to explain how they will do so with the help of this grant as well as how the partnership is critical to addressing the research question(s). Proposals may demonstrate work on the ground and should clearly explain the expected pathway for impact and scaling solutions, etc.

We are particularly interested in projects that touch on the following broad themes related to climate equity:

  • Social equity, decarbonization, and environmental sustainability — Climate change involves inequities related to food security and sovereignty, the energy transition, transportation, building systems, access to natural resources, biodiversity loss, energy production and use, water access, water and air quality, land use and scarcity, human health, and maintaining equitable and sustainable living conditions. Solutions to these challenges require multidisciplinary and publicly engaged research at local, national and global scales.
  • Adaptation design and planning for climate justice — Design of infrastructure for climate change adaptation and resilience must be place-based, making inclusive planning and local/regional governance strategies critically important. Developing proactive, equity-focused strategies in this area calls upon engineering, design, planning, regulation, investment, construction, governance, and implementation of adaptation strategies, infrastructures, and resilient community-building.
  • Climate refugees and forced migration — Due to rising sea level, wildfire, and drought, climate change is causing forced migration from disappearing or unlivable land. These national and global developments call urgently for study of the social and economic effects of climate change migration in rural, urban, and refugee communities and their impacts on democracy, inclusion, and inequality around the world — and for policy and concerted action at all levels to address these effects.

Application Process

For this spring 2023 call, the Lau Fellowship will support summer research fellowships. Awards may not exceed $10,000.

To apply for funding, candidates should submit the following:

  1. A proposal (≤1500 words) that includes a statement of the objectives and expected significance of the dissertation research and how the fellowship would enhance the research and advance the student’s progress on their project (including deliverables). Please also include a description of the community-engaged element of the project—the identity of the community partner organization or public agency, or plan to develop some kind of partnership—as well as a discussion of the methods proposed, and a brief description of how the research fits into your dissertation.
  2. The narrative must be accompanied by a budget. If you have specific questions about the budget please be in contact with Assistant Dean of Finance and Administration, RCNR, Lee Borrowman at

    Travel advances may be possible to cover in-county expenses for international projects/research. Unfortunately, gift funds cannot be regranted to a third party, e.g., an NGO on the ground you may be working with on your research project.  If you have questions about allowable expenses in your budget please reach out to Lee Borrowman, Assistant Dean of Administration, Rausser College of Natural Resources, at PRIOR to submission and cc the chair of the committee, Professor Daniel A. Rodriguez, at
  3. The graduate student’s faculty advisory must approve the budget and proposal submission – by checking the box you attest that you have reviewed your proposal and budget with your advisor.
  4. Announcements of awards will be made on March 15, and your Advanced to Candidacy paperwork must be submitted by then, if you haven’t submitted it sooner. To qualify for an award you must show proof of your ATC.
  5. Questions should be directed to the committee chair.

The number of awards will depend on the number of applications and budget requests.

Applicants for the Katharine S. and James K. Lau Graduate Fellowship in Climate Equity should submit their materials NO LATER than February 17, 2023  through the "Apply Now" button above. Questions may be directed to committee chair, Daniel A. Rodriguez.

Committee Chair:

Daniel A. Rodriguez, Chancellor’s Professor, Department of City and Regional Planning, and Director, Institute of Transportation Studies, College of Environmental Design, UCB –

Other member of the committee: 

Laura (Layla) H. Kwong, Assistant Professor. Environmental Health Science, Berkeley School of Public Health, UCB –

Stephanie M. Carlson, Professor and A.S. Leopold Chair in Wildlife Biology, Rausser College of Natural Resources, UCB –

Reporting Requirement

Fellowship recipients will be expected to work with the College Relations office in Rausser College to submit a thank you letter and a simple report sharing how the support helped to advance your scholarship. This will take place in the fall of 2023 and awardees will receive an email request.

Awardees may also be asked to give a short presentation in a symposium with the donors and the climate equity and/or environmental justice research community. Fellowship recipients should also acknowledge this funding support in future publications and presentations.