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1927 Map of the Arboretum

Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship

Jake Grossman, Arnold Arboretum Putnam Fellow, holds a pole pruner to collect material from a maple tree’s canopy with colleague Al Kovaleski, Arnold Arboretum Putnam Fellow, in the Arboretum landscape. The two conducted research on the freeze tolerance of the maple species. Ben Goulet-Scott
Jake Grossman, Arnold Arboretum Putnam Fellow, holds a pole pruner to collect material from a maple tree’s canopy with colleague Al Kovaleski, Arnold Arboretum Putnam Fellow, in the Arboretum landscape. The two are conducting research on the freeze tolerance of the maple species.

The Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University gives early career scientists a unique opportunity to start a research career as an independent postdoctoral fellow while gaining training and connections within the framework of a top-tier academic environment. The Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship supports researchers that utilize the myriad resources of the Arnold Arboretum to tackle any area of global change science.

The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and its urban landscape in Boston are particularly well-suited for global change research. It is both an outdoor museum of the world’s temperate trees and other woody plants grown in a public open space, all within sight of the Arboretum’s state-of-the-art research laboratories and greenhouses at the Weld Hill Research Building.

  • The living collections feature extensive biodiversity both in terms of number of species represented as well as genetic diversity within species, featuring multiple individuals of the same species collected from the wild in diverse biogeographic regions. Bringing these diverse individual trees and shrubs together to grow under shared conditions allows comparative studies within the ultimate common garden experiment.
  • The Arboretum has an urban setting, offering opportunities to explore complex, city ecosystems and their interaction with global change. In addition to woody plants, the Arboretum’s 281 acres are the site of numerous other research studies involving wildlife, biogeochemical cycling, soil functioning, microbiomes, and invasive species.
  • The Arboretum and its Weld Hill Research Facilities are an integral part of a larger ecosystem of research and scholarship conducted at Harvard University as part of its multi-faceted approach to addressing and reversing the effects of the global change crisis.

Fellowship Details:

Global Change Fellows are full-time employees of Harvard University with a salary of $83,000 per year, employee health insurance eligibility, and annual support of up to $10,000 for research, travel, initial relocation, and other professional expenses. Fellows are expected to be in full-time residence at the Arboretum during their 2-year tenure and are provided office and research space. Fellows can start as early as July 1 or as late as the beginning of September.

In addition to being a member of the Arnold Arboretum staff, Global Change Fellows are part of the Environmental Fellows cohort at the Harvard University Center for the Environment (HUCE). Fellows participate in the co-curricular Environmental Fellows program organized by HUCE. All fellows join in biweekly dinners along with Harvard faculty and a speaker from amongst the Harvard faculty.

Global Change Fellows are expected to engage fully in the Arboretum and HUCE communities. While the primary work of fellows is conducting original independent research that utilizes the resources of the Arboretum, fellows are also expected to work collaboratively with the Arboretum staff on institutional efforts for education and outreach, for instance, as an instructor for Arnold Arboretum education programs or writing for Arnoldia, the Arboretum’s quarterly magazine.


Applications are sought from early-career individuals with a PhD in life sciences, plant biology, evolution, plant genetics, ecology, horticulture, or related discipline. Applicants must have their PhD when they initiate their term at the Arboretum. Applicants should be well positioned to conduct original, independent research and to publish their findings in peer-reviewed publications. We encourage applications from those under-represented in the sciences. Foreign nationals are eligible for fellowships, but applicants are expected to be fluent in English.

Fellows are independent post-doctoral fellows. As an independent scholar, fellows have access to shared laboratories, equipment, desk space, resources, and interactions with fellow scientists, students and staff. It is not necessary to have a specific faculty host. Applicants are encouraged to develop collaborations and work closely with any and all other members of the Arboretum, HUCE, and broader Harvard communities to refine and develop their project.

Application Information:

Fellowships are awarded through a competitive review process. To be considered for an award, online applications should include the following:

  • Cover letter. The cover letter should clearly state (i) the applicant’s interest in the program; (ii) the potential start-date; and (iii) the applicant’s contact information.
  • Research statement. The statement should be no longer than 4 pages, single-spaced, and should describe the research project the applicant proposes to conduct as a Global Change Fellow. The statement should describe (i) the nature and scope of the proposed research project; (ii) the approach and methods to be employed; (iii) how the resources of the Arnold Arboretum would be utilized; and (iv) how the project will advance global change science. References should be included but do not count as part of the 4-page limit.
  • Research budget. A modest level of funding (up to $10,000 annually) is available for research, travel, professional expenses and relocation to Boston. Applicants should submit a simple, 1-page budget that includes a paragraph detailing all laboratory and equipment requirements and an itemized budget by year for the research, travel and professional costs associated with the proposed project. Travel expenses for professional conferences as well as up to $2,500 for initial relocation to Boston should be included in the total budget. The budget should accurately reflect and justify what is required for the proposed project.
  • Curriculum vitae.
  • Three letters of recommendation. As part of the online submission, you must send a request to the referee to submit a letter of recommendation (via the “request” section). The referee will be automatically sent an email with a link to an online submission form where they will upload a letter of recommendation. It is highly recommended that you contact your referee prior to sending the request. Please inform the referee to expect an email from with instructions for submitting a recommendation letter. Each referee must upload his/her letter of recommendation via the link by January 18 at 5:00 PM ET.

Selection Criteria

Project proposals are evaluated by the selection committee based on:

  • The range and depth of the applicant’s education and professional experience and their potential future contribution to scholarship.
  • The track record of the candidate as an independent researcher. The proposed project should represent an independent line of inquiry, extending beyond the PhD research of the applicant.
  • The overall quality of the applicant’s research proposal and the relevance of the proposed research with respect to how the resources of the Arnold Arboretum (for instance, the living collections, other organisms living on the grounds, the soils, water, or biogeochemical cycling of nitrogen and carbon) would be utilized to address global change and environmental issues.
  • The nature and scope of the work, the approach and methods to be employed, the feasibility of the proposed effort with respect to the term of the fellowship, and how it would advance global change science.

A select group of applicants may be asked to further discuss their proposal over video with the selection committee.

Additional Information

For questions about the award, Arboretum resources, research proposal or submission process, contact the selection committee (Email).

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Harvard University and the Arnold Arboretum view equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging as the pathway to achieving inclusive excellence and fostering a campus culture where everyone can thrive. We strive to create a community that draws upon the widest possible pool of talent to unify excellence and diversity while fully embracing individuals from varied backgrounds, cultures, races, identities, life experiences, perspectives, beliefs, and values.

EEO Statement

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.