The world energy system is in the early stages of a transformation, driven by concerns about climate change and other environmental issues, by geopolitics and security, and by technological innovation and changing costs. Our broad goal is to understand the interactions between policies and technologies as the world struggles to decarbonize the energy system, while simultaneously addressing concerns about security, reliability, and cost.  This project is led by John Holdren (Co-Director of the Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program) and Henry Lee (Director of the Environment and Natural Resources Program) and involves many other faculty members at the Harvard Kennedy School working on energy and climate policy.

We will accept proposals on several topics including:

Policies for Low-carbon Development in China — Achieving deeper levels of carbon emissions reductions in China (i.e., beyond 2030) is a formidable challenge because of the dependence on large, coal-fired power plants for electricity generation and the rapidly growing demand for petroleum in transportation. Applications are encouraged from scholars interested in exploring various strategies to achieve deep reductions in carbon dioxide emissions from China through policy design and energy technology innovation, focusing on renewable energy penetration, market mechanisms (including tradable performance standards), and the environmental implications of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS) — With low oil prices, the economics of CCS and CCUS remain a deterrence to investment. While there are several ongoing demonstration projects around the world, investors are skeptical that these technologies are commercially viable. Simultaneously, there is a growing consensus that some form of CCS and/or CCUS will be essential for deep decarbonization programs. While much of the discussion has focused on coal-fired electricity generation, these technologies will be important for a wide range of carbon-emitting facilities including natural gas, biomass, ammonia, and coal-to-liquids. We will consider research proposals on a wide range of strategies and policies that address the economic viability, public perception, and political implementation of CCS and CCUS technologies. Assessment and analysis of new ideas that will spur innovation are encouraged.

Hydrogen - As countries consider options to transition to a non-fossil fuel transportation system while simultaneously investing in intermittent sources of power generation, there is a growing interest in hydrogen as a transport fuel. We will consider proposals focusing on the economic, environmental, safety, and/or strategic value of greater production and use of hydrogen – in either the transportation or industrial sectors.


Fellows are provided with a stipend, benefits, and some support for research and travel expenses. Interested candidates are encouraged to apply for other sources of funding. All applicants should clearly indicate on their application form whether they are seeking full or partial funding, and indicate other potential funding sources.

Application Requirements

  • CV/ Resume
  • Unofficial transcript (pre-doctoral fellow applicants only)
  • Research statement (3–5 pages)
  • Writing sample (less than 50 pages)
    • Should be one published or unpublished piece written by the applicant (co-authored pieces not accepted) in English that will demonstrate his/her English-language writing ability
    • Can be a journal article, book chapter, dissertation chapter, white paper, etc. you have produced in your field
  • Contact information for 3 recommenders submitting letters on your behalf