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Harvard Student Awarded EPA Research Grant

Release Date: 10/08/2008
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Oct. 8, 2008) – A student at Harvard studying the relationship between emissions and air quality was chosen as one of four students in New England and 32 nationwide to receive an EPA STAR fellowship to complete their masters or doctorate degrees and work on solutions to important environmental challenges.

Eric Leibensperger of Cambridge, Mass. received the funds to support his work investigating the relationship between climate change and various efforts to reduce surface pollution in this country. The study will also identify the role U.S. particulate emissions have had on the regional and global climate and the effects of future emission reductions.

"Remarkable young people like Eric are doing work that will help create a cleaner, healthier environment," said Robert Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. "We are proud to support these fellows as they pursue the kind of studies that can make an environmental difference."

Leibensperger’s work is expected to improve understanding of the role of climate change, both in the recent past and future, on the success of strategies to control pollutants, which will lead the way for better emission reductions programs. His work is intended to show policymakers how effective costly emission reductions will be in a changing climate and the unintended consequences these reductions may have on local and global climate.

EPA supports fellowship programs as a way to address our country's environmental workforce needs. EPA's STAR graduate fellowship program supports promising masters and doctoral candidates. A total of 879 applicants competed this year for 32 fellowships.

Another 22 new students nationally and two in New England were awarded Greater Research Opportunities fellowships, which help students complete their graduate and undergraduate degrees. EPA's Great Research Opportunities fellowship program helps build environmental studies programs at universities with limited funding for research and development. A total of 156 applicants competed this year.

Since the fellowship program began in 1995, EPA has awarded more than 2,200 fellowships. All applications for EPA's fellowship programs are peer reviewed. Graduate fellows receive up to $37,000 a year to complete their degrees. The undergraduate program pays tuition and a stipend for the junior and senior years of study and includes a summer internship at an EPA facility. The undergrad fellowship provides up to $17,000 per year of academic support and up to $7,500 of internship support for summer.

EPA is now accepting applications from students for GRO undergraduate fellowships. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or be lawfully admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence.

More information:

2008 Fellowship Awardees (

STAR & GRO Fellowship programs and application opportunities (

Eric Leibensperger’s research (