Seeking Research Fellows for International Water Policy Conference

The Water Security Initiative at Harvard University and the Harvard Law School Environmental Law Program are accepting applications from graduate and undergraduate students interested in serving as research fellows during the 2011-2012 academic year in conjunction with a international water policy conference being co-sponsored by the two organizations on April 19-21, 2012.

The conference title reflects its focus: “Water Federalism: Comparative Perspectives on Water Institutions in Federal Systems.” It will bring together practitioners, policymakers, and scholars from a handful of countries with federal systems to examine the legal, policy, and technical challenges of managing water across state boundaries. Its specific focus will be on five river basins located within these countries: (1) Murray-Darling Basin (Australia); (2) Sao Francisco Basin (Brazil); (3) Indus Basin (Pakistan); (4) Colorado River Basin (U.S.); and (5) Mississippi River Basin (U.S.). The conference will address the existing water institutions in each of these basins, current challenges facing these institutions, and potential measures for navigating these challenges. All of these topics will be explored from a comparative perspective.

Research fellows will be assigned to multi-disciplinary teams (“basin teams”) organized to cover one of the five basins addressed at the conference. We anticipate these basin teams will consist of three or four students – graduate and undergraduate – with varied academic and professional backgrounds, including those with experience in law, engineering, public policy, economics, public health, government, history, and related disciplines. Research fellows will perform an array of tasks within these basin teams, including:

➢ drafting background papers explaining the existing institutions governing water use within the basins and providing necessary contextual information for understanding the make-up and evolution of these institutions;

➢ preparing overview presentations for the basins synthesizing the information in the background papers and delivering these presentations at the first conference panel;

➢ traveling to the basins for a two-week period during winter term 2012 to conduct site visits and to consult with engaged practitioners, policymakers, and scholars;

➢ corresponding with small groups of practitioners, policymakers, and scholars who will serve as panelists for the basins – specifically, in relation to the background papers, overview presentations, and basin trips;

➢ assisting with logistics associated with running the conference.

A “writing leader” will be selected for each basin team who will be responsible for editing and synthesizing the written work of the team members to produce a succinct, uniformly-written background paper for the relevant basin (and an accompanying overview presentation). These papers will be limited to 20 pages (tentatively) and structured according to a standardized template applicable to all of the basins. An “organization leader” also will be selected for each team who will arrange and coordinate site visits and consultations for the basin trips.

Research fellows will be required to adhere to a strict timeline in their completion of tasks within the basin teams. Fall term will be devoted to assembling the teams, developing templates for the background papers and overview presentations, engaging in preliminary research and discussions about the basins, and organizing the winter term basin trips. Three mandatory sessions will be held between mid-October and the end of November in relation to this agenda. After traveling to the basins for an intensive two-week period during winter term, research fellows will be expected to complete several drafts of the background papers during spring term: (1) initial drafts will be due on February 17, 2012; (2) revised drafts will be due on March 10, 2012; and (3) final drafts will be due on April 6, 2012. Similar due dates will be established for the overview presentations. Adherence to this timeline will be essential.

Compensation for research fellows will be based on standard rates for the schools in which applicants are degree candidates. Travel and accommodation expenses for the winter term basin trips will be covered in full. In some cases, students may make arrangements with their faculty advisers to earn credit for supervised written work produced in conjunction with these positions. Students also are encouraged to use the research associated with this work as a basis for fulfilling their academic writing requirements (e.g., graduate or undergraduate theses). Law students will have the option of earning two credits for writing completed for these positions in lieu of being paid research assistant wages for this work. On average, the workload for the positions is expected to be 10-15 hours per week – i.e., 300 hours in total during the academic year – with a high degree of flexibility in work schedule.

To apply for one of these positions, please submit via email a resume/C.V., statement of interest, and writing sample to Kathy Curley ( curley at The statement of interest should explain the reasons for the applicant’s interest in these positions and also identify the applicant’s preferences, if any, for working on a particular basin. An information session will be held regarding these positions on September 27, 2011, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m., in Hauser 102. The deadline for submitting application materials is September 30, 2011. Applicants selected to serve as research fellows will be notified via email by October 11, 2012.

Be Sociable, Share!