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Joseph L. Fisher Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships  

In honor of the late Joseph L. Fisher, president of Resources for the Future (RFF) from 1959–1974, RFF will award fellowships for the coming academic year in support of doctoral dissertation research on issues related to the environment, natural resources, or energy.

RFF’s primary research disciplines are economics and other social sciences. Proposals originating in these fields will have the greatest likelihood of success. Proposals from the physical or biological sciences must have an immediate and obvious link to environmental policy matters. Awardees will be invited to present their research at RFF (and RFF will pay reasonable travel expenses for the trip).

Click here to apply.



This fellowship supports graduate students in the final year of their dissertation research.  Fellowship applicants for 2015-2016 must expect to complete all requirements for the doctorate by the end of summer 2016.  Applicants must also have completed the preliminary examinations for their doctorate prior to the application deadline.  This requirement will be strictly enforced.


The fellowships carry a stipend of $18,000 for the 2015-2016 academic year. The fellowship is intended to be a student's principal source of support.  Therefore, the fellowship stipend will be reduced dollar-for-dollar by the amount of any financial assistance (other than tuition support) from other sources (however, the fellowship will still pay a minimum stipend of $2,000 to awardees whose stipends would otherwise be reduced below that amount). All other financial assistance must be disclosed to RFF.  And it is expected that fellowship recipients will not engage in full-time employment during the period of fellowship tenure.  Under the Tax Reform Act of 1986, most, if not all, of this stipend will probably be taxable income.

Application Materials

Graduate students interested in applying should submit the following: (1) a completed application form available here; (2) a cover letter; (3) curriculum vitae; (4) a graduate transcript; (5) a one-page abstract of the dissertation; (6) a technical summary of the dissertation not to exceed 2,500 words in length (not including the bibliography); (7) a letter from the department chair or other university official certifying the student’s doctoral candidacy; and (8) two letters of recommendation from faculty members on the student’s dissertation committee. The technical summary should describe clearly the aim of the dissertation, its significance in relation to the existing literature, and the research methods and data to be used. RFF cannot provide written evaluations of proposals.

Application Deadline

The deadline for applications is February 20, 2015. 

The cover letter, one-page abstract, technical summary and curriculum vitae must be uploaded with the application form here. Transcripts, certification letters, and reference letters should be sent by email to with the name of applicant in the subject field. Phone: 202.328.5020. Announcement of the award will be made in April.

The program is open to both U.S. and non-U.S. citizens, provided the latter have proper work and residency documentation.

RFF is an equal opportunity employer. Women and minority candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

AAP Statement: Resources for the Future’s Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) is available for applicants and employees to review in the department of Human Resources. Requests to review the AAP can be made during business hours, Monday through Friday from 9 am to 4 pm. Please contact Mara Parrish, HR Manager, at 202.328.5053.

As an equal opportunity employer, we hire without consideration to race, religion, creed, color, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status or disability.

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