The CEST Predoctoral Research Fellowship is a semester-long fellowship for Notre Dame doctoral students in any area of environmental science or environmental engineering. The Center awards an average of nine fellowships each year. 


The application requirements are as follows:

  • The doctoral student has passed comprehensive PhD examination(s) (written and/or oral) by the application date.
  • The student is a candidate in good standing for their PhD.
  • Student is pursuing a doctoral research relevant to the environment that relies to some extent on CEST instrumentation.


Each year, fellowship solicitations begin in mid-March and applications are due in mid-April. Selected applicants will be notified shortly after the end of the Spring semester.

Fellowship Period

The CEST Fellowship provides support for one semester within the awarded academic year. Tuition is to be provided by the student's major department.

Application Format and Submission

Interested applicants must submit the following information via hardcopy:

  1. No more than a two-page description by the doctoral student of their research and its relevance to environmental studies, as they are broadly defined, and an explicit explanation of how the research involves CEST facilities. If applying for a renewal of a previous CEST award, this description should include an overview of how the previous funds were used.
  2. A transcript of courses taken at the University of Notre Dame. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable.
  3. Written verification from the departmental Graduate Studies Director that the student has passed their comprehensive examinations (written and/or oral) by the application date and is in good standing as a candidate for their PhD.
  4. A letter from the faculty advisor(s) in support of the student's application for the fellowship, including details of current research support available to the faculty advisor(s). The research advisor should indicate that the student has sufficient funds and facilities available to permit the timely completion of their proposed research. If the advisor is writing a letter for more than one of their own students, the letters should rank the needs and merits of the applicants.

Applications must be mailed or hand-delivered to Jeremy Fein's office.

Application Review Criteria

Applications are evaluated on:

  • Merit of the student’s environmental science or environmental engineering research.
  • Necessity of using CEST facilities for the research and an explicit description of the equipment to be used, if awarded.
  • Likelihood for research success.
  • Accomplishments of the student to date. Preference is given to applicants who have not previously received a CEST Fellowship award.
  • Proposals from students of junior faculty are particularly encouraged, as long as the students meet the fellowship requirements.
  • Interdisciplinary and/or co-advised proposals are given special consideration, as a means to promote collaborative research on campus.

Acceptance Conditions

In accepting a CEST Predoctoral Research Fellowship, the fellow agrees to:

  • Submit a progress report at the end of the fellowship period to the Center on their research activities during the fellowship.
  • Express acknowledgement of the fellowship in any publications and presentations resulting from research conducted over the course of the fellowship.
  • Devote an average of two hours per week working in the CEST laboratories, assisting CEST staff in Center-related activities.

Please direct any questions regarding the fellowships to CEST Director, Jeremy Fein.

Recent Fellows

  • Katherine Barrett, Biological Sciences (2019-2020) Advisor: Gary Belovsky Microbalites are a seasonal food source for brine shrimp in Great Salt Lake, Utah, USA.
  • Margaret Butzen, Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences (2019-2020) Advisor: Jeremy Fein Bacterial adsorption of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances
  • Hunter Ford, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (2019-2020) Advisor: Jennifer Shaefer Lonomer coatings for mitigating the polysulfide shuttle effect in metal-sulfur batteries
  • John Hoffman, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (2019-2020) Advisor: William Phillip Controlled functionalization of nanofiltration membranes
  • Junyeol Kim, Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences (2019-2020) Advisor: Kyle Doudrick Stream transport behavior of nanoparticles in realistic stream conditions
  • Keith O'Connor, Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences (2019-2020) Advisor: Melissa Berke Climatic controls on modern vegetation and microbial communities
  • Carly Olsen, Biological Sciences (2019-2020) Advisor: Stuart Jones Estimates of C, N, and P fate and transport in inland lakes
  • Rebecca Scheidt, Chemistry and Biochemistry (2019-2020) Advisor: Prashant Kamat Creating mixed cation perovskites for clean energy with minimal environmental impact
  • Matt Trentman, Biological Sciences (2019-2020) Advisor: Jennifer Tank Alleviation of the negative impact of nutrient loading to streams and rivers

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