National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program
Updated with successful 2011 applications! Thank you and congrats to the new fellows.
The National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program is one of the best fellowships available for many graduate students in the Environmental Sciences. Annually awarding approximately 1,000 fellowships to graduate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, the NSF provides three years of generous funding that is largely undirected.
A former reviewer for the NSF says, "We fund the researcher, not the research." This flexibility means that first-year grad students should not panic at the idea that you need to decide what your research topic will be by November 1st (the deadline for my program, in my year). Rather, it means that you need to come up with a plausible research project and confidently articulate it in your application by November.
A frustrating aspect of applying for the NSF for many of the grad students in my cohort in the department of Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management was that we didn't know what a successful application looked like. UC Berkeley's graduate fellowship office has a thick binder of past successful applications that appear to date back to the mimeograph machine, but few of them deal with environmental issues, and the binder can be examined only in the fellowship office.
Here you'll find a selection of recent successful applications for the NSF from students in the Department of Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management in the College of Natural Resources at UC Berkeley as well as several external schools, provided as a resource to help other students approach the application-writing process. You can also check out some of the rating sheets filled out by the three reviewers who evaluate each application.
In order to apply for the NSF, you must go through the Fast Lane site, which collects all of your documents and allows you to follow your application through the process ending in submission prior to the online deadline.
Sample Applications from (mostly) Berkeley grad students on NSFs. ALL materials are property of the original author and can not be reproduced or copied without permission.
Combining Connectivity Science and Species Viability for Protected Area Network Design
Impact of Anthropogenic Disturbances on the Relationship Between Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
Seasonal Migration Within Aseasonal Tropical Rainforests
Bee Reproductive Success
Archaeology - Alliance Formation in Pueblo Tribes
Archaeology - Alliance Formation in Pueblo Tribes Research Proposal
Archaeology - Alliance Formation in Pueblo Tribes Previous Research Experience
Archaeology - Alliance Formation in Pueblo Tribes Personal Statement
Archaeology - Alliance Formation in Pueblo Tribes Rating Sheets
Below and Above-Ground Carbon Sequestration in Quaking Aspen
Ecological Filters in Grassland Restoration
Causes and Consequences of Biocompexity
Crossover Regulation During Caenorhabditis elegans Meiosis
Investigating Informal E-Waste Recycling Methods and Associated Soil Pollution
Identification of miRNAs Involved in the Regulation of B Cell Development
Analysis of Bacterial, Archaeal, and Viral Dispersal Between Distantly Separated Acid Mine Drainage Systems through Metagenomic Analysis
Analysis of Dispersal Acid Mine Drainage Systems Research Proposal
Analysis of Dispersal Acid Mine Drainage Previous Research Experience
Analysis of Dispersal Acid Mine Drainage Systems Personal Statement
Impact of Climate Change on Fire Regimes in Sub-Saharan Africa
Impacts of Climate Change on Fire Proposed Plan of Research
Impacts of Climate Change on Fire Previous Research Experience
Impacts of Climate Change on Fire Personal Statement
Impacts of Climate Change on Fire Applicant Rating 1
Impacts of Climate Change on Fire Applicant Rating 2
Impacts of Climate Change on Fire Applicant Rating 3
Human Impacts on Stream Ecosystems
Human Impacts on Stream Ecosystems Proposed Plan of Research
Human Impacts on Stream Ecosystems Previous Research Exp.
Human Impacts on Stream Ecosystems Personal Statement
Human Impacts on Stream Ecosystems Author Advice
Applicant Rating 1 Human Impacts on Stream Ecosystems
Applicant Rating 2 Human Impacts on Stream Ecosystems
Applicant Rating 3 Human Impacts on Stream Ecosystems
Game Ranching in Botswana
Traditional Ecological Knowledge
Traditional Ecological Knowledge Proposed Plan of Research
Traditional Ecological Knowledge Previous Research Experience
Traditional Ecological Knowledge Supporting Essay 1
Traditional Ecological Knowledge Supporting Essay 2
Traditional Ecological Knowledge Author Advice
Inter-Regime Conflict Resolution
Ecological Effectiveness of Conservation Easements
Nitrogen Deposition Effects on Denitrification in Humid Tropical Forest Soils