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Planetary Health Postdoctoral Fellowship

The Planetary Health Postdoctoral Fellowship seeks to foster the professional development of a new generation of planetary health researchers and ambassadors committed to protecting health on a changing planet – and developing solutions for a healthier future.

Executive Summary

Launched in 2020, the Stanford University Center for Innovation in Global Health and Woods Institute for the Environment and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) Planetary Health Postdoctoral Fellowship is accepting applications for its second cohort of Fellows.

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The Fellowship focuses on planetary health, defined as “the health of human civilization and the state of the natural systems on which it depends,” as an area in urgent need of investigation. The impact of multiple pressures on the earth’s systems on human health are not yet fully understood, particularly in lower-income regions of the world. This program seeks to foster the professional development of a new generation of planetary health researchers and ambassadors committed to protecting health on a changing planet – and developing solutions for a healthier future.

 

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Background on Planetary Health

Throughout human evolution, the health of human communities has been tied to local ecosystems. This inter-dependence is increasingly under pressure as unprecedented anthropogenic change profoundly damages planetary systems. Critical threats include biodiversity loss, pollution, climate change, and mismanagement of freshwater resources and ocean systems. The science of climate change is now well advanced, but we are yet to fully understand the implications of these planetary changes on human health. Urgent and far-reaching health impacts range from heat stress, to undernutrition from falling agricultural outputs, to shifts in infectious and noncommunicable disease patterns, to mental health consequences. These challenges demand novel, solutions-oriented approaches to research and its translation to action.


Format of the Fellowship

Stanford University and LSHTM have designed this unique two-year Planetary Health Fellowship to give postdoctoral researchers the opportunity to learn from two different diverse training programs and pursue ground-breaking research on planetary health.

Two Fellows will be selected for the 2022 cohort which has a target start date of Fall 2022.One fellow will be based at Stanford University, and one at LSHTM. The LSHTM Fellow must be a national from sub-Saharan Africa*. The LSHTM Fellow will be based at either the MRC Unit in the Gambia or the MRC Unit in Uganda, and will be expected to move to either location, if not already based there.

Both Fellows will work closely with the research communities at Stanford University and LSHTM, interacting with core Faculty, working on research papers, and planning research activities. They  will be expected to spend time in the field conducting research. Fellows will identify research projects and will work with world-class Planetary Health Faculty, from a broad range of disciplines including global health, health systems, epidemiology, health policy, environmental science, environmental policy, disease ecology, and more.

Based on the research interests of the Fellow and their mentor(s), Fellows will select a research focus and research site. Areas of potential research include but are not limited to:

•Understanding environmentally-affected infectious disease patterns, disease-poverty traps, and risks for potential future pandemics;

•Supporting sustainable food security and nutrition – including through carbon-sinking, biodiversity-supporting, water-preserving agricultural solutions;

•Understanding the health impacts of climate-induced shifts in droughts, wildfires, and extreme weather – and opportunities to protect vulnerable communities;

•Identifying economic policies, incentive structures, and circular economic innovations that safeguard cleaner air, cleaner water, and healthier people;

•Understanding urban designs that mitigate negative environmental impacts and support health;

•Exploring the mental health consequences of environmental change and disaster-related trauma – and finding ways to address these growing problems;

•Understanding the disproportionate impacts of environmental harms on marginalized and Indigenous populations – and aligning behind these communities in developing solutions.

•Exploring the mental health consequences of environmental change and disaster-related trauma – and finding ways to address these growing problems;

•Understanding the disproportionate impacts of environmental harms on marginalized and Indigenous populations – and aligning behind these communities in developing solutions.

Fellows will be mentored and supported by designated Faculty at both institutions throughout the full two years of their Fellowship.


Requirements of the Fellowship

Fellows will enjoy substantial time to pursue their research interests. They will be expected to present their research both internally and at international meetings, as well as publish their research findings in international peer-reviewed journals. Fellows will also have the opportunity to contribute to teaching, for example as teaching assistants or guest lecturers, on relevant courses at Stanford and LSHTM. Fellows will be expected to be active participants in the Fellowship scheme by helping LSHTM and Stanford University shape the future of planetary health, advocate for the Fellowship program, and contribute internally and externally to relevant meetings and activities. Fellows may also be asked to hold office hours to meet with LSHTM and Stanford students when requested.


Compensation

Fellows will receive a postdoctoral salary, full benefits, and modest travel and fieldwork budgets. To supplement the research funding available, Fellows are invited to transfer existing awarded funding. Fellows will be encouraged to apply for additional research funding during their Fellowship.


Eligibility Criteria

The Planetary Health Fellowship program is open to early-career researchers who have successfully completed their doctoral degree. Demonstrated interest and prior research output at the intersections of health and environment is a prerequisite. Instruction and support will be provided in English, and high-level proficiency in the English language is a requirement of the Fellowship.


Two-Stage Application Process

The application process will be managed through an online portal and will have two stages.

Stage 1

Interested applicants are invited to submit a CV and a personal statement (maximum 1 page) outlining reasons for applying and primary research interests.

Applications at Stage 1 will be screened by a committee at Stanford and LSHTM. A shortlist of applicants will be invited to submit full applications in Stage 2.

Stage 2

Stage 2 Shortlisted applicants must submit:

•A statement outlining research to-date, career goals, and how this Fellowship will support career progression (maximum 1 page)

•An outline of a proposed research project to be conducted during the Fellowship (maximum 1 page)

•A 5-minute video introducing yourself and describing plans for the Fellowship

•Preference for being based at Stanford or LSHTM

•List of two Faculty at Stanford and two Faculty at LSHTM that you’d like to work with.

•Two letters of recommendation, preferably from previous academic supervisors.

•If still a PhD candidate, a letter from the current PhD Supervisor assuring the Selection Committee that the candidate will be awarded their PhD no later than September 1, 2022.

For questions, please contact Erika Veidis, Planetary Health Program Manager: eveidis@stanford.edu 

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Timeline

•The Stage 1 application deadline is January 31, 2022.

•Stage 1 applicants will be notified if they are invited to proceed to Stage 2 by mid-March 2022.

•Stage 2 applications will be short-listed by an interdisciplinary search committee drawn from Stanford and LSHTM, and shortlisted candidates will be invited to a “virtual” interview in May.

•Fellowship offers will be made to successful candidates in June.

•The Fellowship start-date will be flexible, ideally in Fall 2022.

For more information please open this link
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Planetary Health Postdoctoral Fellowship

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