CU Boulder has partnered with the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre (RCRCCC) to place graduate students in locations Southern/Eastern Africa each summer to help understand and address climate risks. This collaborative program targets improvements in environmental communication and adaptation decision-making as well as disaster prevention and preparedness in the humanitarian sector. It connects humanitarian practitioners from the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre – an affiliate of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies – with graduate student researchers at the University of Colorado who are interested in science-policy-humanitarian issues. Through this program we strive to accomplish three key objectives: 

  • To improve the capacity of humanitarian practitioners within the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies network at the interface of science, policy, and practice 
  • To help meet needs and gaps as well as work as a research clearinghouse in environmental communication and adaptation decision-making in response to climate variability and change, as identified through Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre priorities and projects
  • To benefit graduate students by complementing the classes and research that they undertake in their graduate program with real-world experience in climate applications and development work

This fellowship program will place a Ph.D. and/or Master’s degree student in an IFRC regional field office, a National Society branch office, or with a partner organization for a period of approximately 3 months. The Climate Centre supervisors will liaise with specific IFRC field offices to identify potential projects and placements. If possible, the student will partner with a student from a local university to work on all or parts of the project together, to contribute to local ownership and research capacity building. This process will be with the host Red Cross Red Crescent National Society and Climate Centre Junior Researcher Coordinator and Supervisor, to align with any existing institutional connections and partnerships in the host country.

Once projects are identified, Climate Centre supervisors will work with co-Directors Max Boykoff and Fernando Briones and the student to design a scope of work. Projects can encompass but are not limited to, topics such as the use of scientific information in decision making, communication of probability and uncertainty, perceptions of risk, characterizing vulnerability and adaptive capacity, or recommending a course of action based on analytical approaches. Placements in the field will address specific needs identified by IFRC field staff related to challenges of science communication and adaptation decision-making. 

Participants will be required to complete a report at the conclusion of their fellowship detailing their experience and research outcomes.

Past project topics have included analysis of uses of regional climate forecasts to trigger anticipatory humanitarian action and examinations of ways to improve the linking of science-based forecasts with humanitarian decisions. More information on the specifics of all these placements and activities can be found here.

Application Details

Red Cross Red Cresent Climate Program is postponed for Summer 2022. Check back again in Spring 2023 for more details.

Award Criteria

Successful candidates will have a demonstrated interest in developing country regions, as well as demonstrated interest in one or both topic areas (environmental communication and adaptation decision-making), as evidenced by any of these elements: courses completed/underway, past work, volunteer and/or research experience, MS/Ph.D. thesis direction. 

Successful candidates must be self-starters and capable of adapting to independent working conditions. Students must have the consent of their graduate advisor to participate. A detailed terms of reference tailored to each fellow will be developed by the RCRCCC based upon their needs and the fellow’s skills in the months leading up to placement in the field.

Application Process

  1. Up to 1000-word statement about interest (geographic and/or topical) in the Fellowship program as well as describe a) how participation would align with academic requirements, b) how previous experience and current skills would help the RCRCCC to achieve its mission, c) the preferred focus of work or topic of study, d) previous international experience, and e) future career goals and objectives. Please be sure to specifically address why and how the fellowship will be a mutually beneficial opportunity for both the CU student and the Climate Centre with these questions
    • How participation would align with academic requirements
    • How previous experience and current skills would help to the RCRCCC to achieve its mission
    • The preferred focus of work or topic of study
    • Previous international experience
    • Future career goals and objectives.
  2. Statement of availability
  3. Unofficial transcript(s) from graduate work at University of Colorado Boulder
  4. Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  5. One letter/statement from your graduate advisor expressing support for your participation in this Fellowship program. Advisors should email their letter directly to by the application deadline.
  • Applicants must submit their application material (items 1 - 4 above) as one pdf file to Max Boykoff at
  • The deadline to receive all application material including the graduate advisor support letter is 12 PM (MST) March 8, 2021  Closed


  • Interviews with fellowship candidates will begin the week of March 15, 2021.
  • Applicants will be notified of a final decision by March 31, 2021.
  • The deadline for applicants to accept/decline the Fellowship offer (at this stage, offer is not a guarantee until final placement is confirmed by IFRC) is April 15, 2021.
  •   Final matching and placement decisions will be completed by IFRC in April/May 2021.

​These fellowships are made available through support by the Department of Environmental Studies, The Natural Hazards Center, and The Graduate School.