ELEVATE: Elevating Equity Values in the Transition of the Energy System in the face of climate change

The School of Earth & Sustainability (SES) is excited to announce ELEVATE, a new PhD fellowship program supported by the National Science Foundation. ELEVATE was created in partnership with SES and colleagues from across campus to train the next generation of leaders in solving the planning, climate change, equity, and technical challenges in the transition to renewable energy sources. The program includes a core course based on an electricity market simulation game, training in leadership and public engagement, and interaction with communities and stakeholders. Students conduct research that is rooted in their own discipline and bridges knowledge to other fields through transdisciplinary collaboration with students and faculty from diverse departments. ELEVATE is committed to fostering an inclusive and welcoming environment. Equity is a core tenet of the program, both as a research topic and a principle of program management.

ELEVATE students will conduct research at the intersection of climate science, social equity, energy economics and policy, and electricity technology. They will produce resilient and equity-driven innovations, while also developing effective leadership, communication, and engagement skills. Through strategic partnerships with stakeholders and organizations on the front lines of climate resilience and the energy transition, the program will develop a collaborative community to find optimal energy solutions with local to global-scale benefits. Example projects include the use of future climate simulations and energy equity metrics to support robust decision making for long-term planning of electricity infrastructure, and community co-design of policies to enhance energy resilience of low-income and marginalized communities.

Participating Departments and Programs

The ELEVATE Program is recruiting from departments and graduate programs within SES and across the university, including:

SES departments

  • Environmental Conservation
  • Geosciences
  • Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning

Other participating departments

  • Anthropology
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Resource Economics
  • ...and more!

ELEVATE is accepting applications now!

Applicant Information:

ELEVATE will welcome its first cohort of PhD trainees in Fall 2021. ELEVATE is looking for outstanding students with diverse perspectives and a demonstrated passion for sustainable energy, equity, and climate change solutions. Students will apply to their home department. Graduated degrees will be awarded from the home department, and students will earn an interdisciplinary Certificate in Sustainable Energy Systems from the UMass School of Earth & Sustainability. Accepted students will receive a fellowship offer with a competitive stipend.

Apply: Prospective students should contact us for help in identifying potential advisors, based on student expertise and interests. ELEVATE applicants should apply to their home department through the UMass Amherst graduate school. Applicants are encouraged to state their interest in ELEVATE at the time of their initial application. Admitted graduate students are then nominated by ELEVATE core faculty.

Additional information is available here: https://www.energytransitionumass.org/elevate

UMass Amherst faculty members nominate admitted graduate students for the ELEVATE program. We highly recommend nominators speak to the student’s references when evaluating the candidate.

The nomination package should be uploaded by the faculty advisor to the following link: https://umass.app.box.com/f/7891ea69b45a4a93b02abfe4e12a6c03

The nomination package should be a single pdf, comprised of three sections:

  1.  A faculty nomination letter with a maximum length of 3-pages. A template can be found here: https://umass.box.com/shared/static/3bx9t08he0fj0ccuw3adznghhpus419m.docx.
  2. A statement of interest by the nominee that describes their program interest and relevant experience, with an emphasis on equity, sustainable energy, and/or climate. *Note that the general UMass graduate school application essay can be used if the student is advised that it will also be used for ELEVATE.
  3. The Spire application dossier.

Nomination packages are due February 1st.