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1927 Map of the Arboretum

Postdoctoral Fellowships at the Arnold Arboretum

Cary Pirone, 2011 Putnam Fellow, conducting a research pollination experiment
Cary Pirone Research Pollination Experiment 2011

The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University invites early career scientists to apply for a unique opportunity to start a research career as independent postdoctoral fellow while gaining training and connections within the framework of a top-tier academic environment. The Katharine H. Putnam Fellowship in Plant Science supports scientists focused on utilizing the Arnold Arboretum’s living collections of woody plants to study any area of plant science. The Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship supports researchers that tackle any area of global change science utilizing the myriad resources of the Arnold Arboretum.

The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and its urban landscape in Boston are particularly well-suited for global change and plant science 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 facilities.

  • 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 extensive documentation of its living collections of accessioned plants, historical photos over decades, library archives, herbarium specimens, and climate data collected since 1918, offering a unique and important historical perspective.
  • The Arboretum has an urban setting, offering opportunities to explore complex, city ecosystems.
  • The Arboretum and its research laboratories and growth facilities are an integral part of a larger ecosystem of research and scholarship conducted at Harvard University.

Fellowship Details:

Fellows are full-time staff of the Arboretum with a salary, employee health insurance eligibility, and modest support for professional expenses including research, travel, and relocation to Boston. 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 between July 1 and the beginning of September.


Applications are sought from early-career individuals with a PhD in life sciences, climate sciences, plant biology, evolution, plant genetics, plant 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 and broader Harvard communities to refine and develop their project.

Additional Information:

For questions about the fellowships, Arnold 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.