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Matriculated graduate students at ANY of Tufts University's graduate programs and professional schools are eligible to apply for a TIE fellowship.

TIE's Environmental Research Fellowship can be used to conduct interdisciplinary environmental research projects. This is an opportunity for students to conduct research within their own area of interest and obtain mentorship and guidance from Tufts faculty and TIE staff to help build expertise. Students from all disciplines are encouraged to apply. New TIE Fellows will join more than 100 Tufts students and alumni who have participated in this fellowship since 2002. Retreats, workshops and presentations are organized by and for the TIE Fellows so that the students can build skills and expand professional networks.

Funding: up to $5,000 per student is available to cover costs related to equipment, supplies, travel, and stipend. Up to $3,000 can be allocated as personal, living stipend.

COVID-19 Advisory: TIE acknowledges the difficulties involved with predicting upcoming research activities in the current time. TIE will follow the guidelines and protocols instituted by Tufts University regarding approved funding allocations and research activities. These can be found at: https://coronavirus.tufts.edu/. Travel and on-campus lab access are two examples of research activities that have been affected by Tufts’ COVID-19 protocols. Please seek guidance on whether your proposed project may be affected by future measures Tufts may have in place, and please develop your project accordingly. You may choose to describe a “best-case” and a “worst-case” scenario for your project approach.

Program Highlights

The TIE Fellowship runs from April to April each year and is designed to entail 6-8 weeks of intensive research over the summer. This is followed by collaborative activities in the fall and spring semesters. Students generally conduct their research over the summer, however alternate timing may be considered. In addition to conducting research, program highlights include:

Spring Brunch: Each spring incoming fellows meet for an introduction to the TIE Fellowship Program. Bringing together members of the TIE community, outgoing fellows are invited to share their experiences and research projects with new fellows. Students are also given a review of the fellowship requirements, expectations, and an opportunity to ask questions about the fellowship.

Fall Retreat: At the beginning of the fall semester, fellows meet for a fellows-only retreat to share their experiences on research conducted thus far. The event brings together fellows from across multiple disciplines to exchange ideas and provide feedback on the challenges faced in their projects.

Presentations: In the fall, fellows, alumni, faculty and staff gather for a formal reception to celebrate the ongoing accomplishments of TIE at which fellows present a poster of their preliminary results. By the end of the academic year, fellows also present their research at an event of their choosing. Fellows will submit a final report, publication, thesis or dissertation at the end of the fellowship's concluding semester.

About the Fellowship

The TIE Environmental Research Fellowship aims to:

  1. Encourage interdisciplinary collaborations that lead to better solutions to environmental problems.
  2. Develop cross-university relationships between student, staff, and faculty researchers.
  3. Provide greater visibility and recognition for exceptional graduate students and their environmental work.
  4. Financially support Tufts University graduate students in conducting various forms of environmental research.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the fellowship program, applicants must be:

  1. Currently matriculated in a Tufts University graduate school.
  2. Continuing their studies into the upcoming semester or academic year.
  3. Committed to implementing the proposed research and Fellowship activities.

Research Project Criteria

The research proposed must:

  1. Directly relate to TIE’s mission of promoting timely and important interdisciplinary environmental research.
  2. Be achievable within the timeline and budget of the proposal.
  3. Include faculty mentors from at least two different schools or departments, in order to strengthen the interdisciplinary nature of the research project. These faculty do not have to be affiliated with TIE.
  4. Be independent of on-going projects of faculty members (i.e. the project should be initiated, conducted, and completed by the applicant).
  5. Have all IRB or IACUC approvals and permits (if applicable) in place before the research begins.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I still apply if my project won’t require all $5000?

A: Yes, that’s OK! Budget (to the best of your ability and using budget estimating tools) what you think you may need. You can justify your costs for your research, regardless of what they may be. Equal consideration is granted to all applicants, regardless of amount of money requested.

Q: When making my itemized budget, what should be included in the stipend?

A: The stipend is the portion of your fellowship funding which can be used to specifically recognize the time and effort you are putting into your research. You do not need to detail the items on which you plan to use your stipend, but as a guide it is meant to be used for personal, living expenses, such as rent, food, bills, Tufts local travel, etc. For travel outside a radius of 10 miles from Tufts, travel expenses should be itemized separately in the travel section. You may choose not to allocate any funds towards your stipend and instead use all TIE funding to cover other fellowship expenses.

Q: If I need to purchase equipment for my research should I itemize these in my budget or include them elsewhere?

A: Please itemize these in your budget. However, various schools, departments, and libraries offer numerous resources for loan, so please look into renting before buying. Additionally, TIE has an array of resources that are loaned out. Due to limited resources, please check with TIE staff before building a budget around the potential of renting equipment from TIE or other sources.

Q: What about computational research? It’s very different from the examples given. Can I still apply for the TIE Fellowship?

A: Yes! Any research, as long as it is interdisciplinary and environmental, is eligible. For research projects that do not have field components, you can use the funding resources for other purposes. For example, you may wish cover software fees, book fees, journal subscription fees, etc. You might also need the stipend. You don’t have to request the full fellowship either; you can request up to $5,000 but you can request less if you don’t need the full amount.

Q: Any advice on coming up with research topics?

A: Faculty are a great source of inspiration. When you introduce the multi-faculty requirement of the Fellowship to faculty who you are considering for mentorship, then that can inspire new project ideas that the professor may have been thinking about. Feel free to also reach out to TIE staff to bounce around ideas with.

Q: What types of projects require IRB or IACUC Approvals?

A: The Institution Review Board (IRB) and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) review anything that meets the criteria of "human subjects" or "animal subjects" research, respectively. In a very broad sense, a human subject is anyone that may be contributing to your data collection, either via intervention or interaction. Even if a survey or another research method is completely anonymous, you still need IRB review. The IRB and IACUC bodies may ultimately determine that your research does not need approval, but an initial review is required if your research includes human or animal subjects. Visit the IRB and IACUC webpages for more information.

Q: How long is the proposal review process? When can I expect to hear back once I have submitted my application?

A: The review proves typically takes at least 4 weeks from the due date for proposals. Once awarded, and the contracting, budgeting, and IRB / IACUC approval (if necessary) processes should be complete by mid-April.

Q: I am interested in continuing a project begun by a former Fellow. While the work is related, my research question is different than theirs. Is a project like this eligible?

A: Yes, that is permitted. You may propose a project that follows up on the work of a previous Fellow, or anyone else at Tufts University.

Q: Can some part of the research take place before the Fellowship starts?

A: No. You can’t apply for the Fellowship for research that has already been completed. You also can’t retroactively request funding in your budget for expenses that have already been incurred. You can, however, provide past research as context for your project.

Q: Can I work in a team for the Fellowship?

A: Yes you may work in a team, however, you as a team are applying for the maximum funding of $5,000. The stipend maximum of $3,000 also must be split between the team.

Q: How do we ensure that our work is distinct from ongoing grants and research that we, or our faculty mentors, may be pursuing?

A: It’s not that your Fellowship research can’t be done in conjunction with other research. If it is, then you just need to be sure that you can work on a distinct part, which you will describe in your Fellowship application, and that you have some control and say over the direction of the research you describe. If you are proposing to work solely on someone else’s research, such a faculty’s research, then this is not appropriate. You can also work with a team. If you are working with a team for your Fellowship then your team can apply for the TIE fellowship as a group. If your work is part of a larger lab and everyone is working on separate components, of which you have a distinct part, and it all comes together to a larger project, that is fine as well. You should describe this in your application.

Q: Is this open to International Students, i.e. non-US citizens?

A: Yes! But if you are not a US citizen the stipend may be taxed differently.

Q: What happens if I graduate before the end of the one-year Fellowship term?

A: You must be a student through the summer, into the upcoming semester, at least.

Please use the below links to access the 2021-2022 TIE Fellowship Application materials:

Deadline is Monday, February 15, 2021 at noon (12PM ET)

Questions? Contact Jill Parlee, Assistant Director for Programs by email or call 617-627-3645.

Wish to join an information session? RSVP here

For a list of past and current fellows and a description of their research, click below.

Looking for some inspiration? Check out some example, fictional projects and associated budgets below:

Effects of Bacterial Infections on Endangered Mainland Moose Populations

Marion from the Cummings school of Veterinary Medicine traveled to Halifax Nova Scotia in order to conduct a population study on the Mainland Endangered Moose. With help from her advisor, she designed a fecal testing protocol to isolate incidences of bacterial infections in this population. Marion lived in Halifax for 6 weeks and, in addition to TIE funding, received a research grant and money from the Tufts Graduate Student Travel Fund.

Click to see Marion's Budget

Art for Advocacy in Salt Lake City, Utah

Jose, a Master of Fine Arts student, traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah to conduct a series of interviews in order to craft an installation that reflected these individual's experiences with pollution and smog in Salt Lake City's basin. Jose spent 10 days in Salt Lake City then returned to Boston to compose his piece which was displayed at an art exhibit in the fall semester. In addition to TIE funding, he received money from the Utah Artists Society.

Click to see Jose's Budget

Better Batteries: Experiments in Lithium-Based Energy Storage

Taylor, a student earning a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Degree from the School of Engineering, conducted a project analyzing the efficacy of Lithium-Based Batteries. Her research was conducted exclusively on Tufts campus. Taylor presented her findings at the Graduate Engineering Consortium Conference in Boston. To supplement funding from TIE, Taylor used her PhD Stipend and personal funds to cover additional costs.

Click to see Taylor's Budget