Symposium Application Instructions

DISCCRS Symposia are built on the premise that successful interdisciplinary scholarship begins with a core area of expertise and grows with the development of broader knowledge and collegial connections across disciplines. The annual symposia catalyze the process by providing scholars with an interdisciplinary collegial network and bird’s-eye view of climate-change research across the natural and social sciences. Discussions, projects and informal activities all help facilitate the development of communication and leadership skills and the formation of interdisciplinary collegial networks.

Symposium applications will be reviewed by a committee of established researchers representing both the natural and social sciences, and participation will be limited to 30 early-career Ph.D. scholars. The selection committee will favor applicants who plan to engage in collaborative interdisciplinary research careers in any subject relevant to the study of climate change, its impacts or its solutions. The review criteria will include research quality, commitment to crossing disciplinary boundaries, professional service and outreach activities.

Eligibility: Ph.D. requirements completed between September 1, 2010 - February 28, 2013.

The 2013 application period closed on February 28, 2013.

To apply for the Symposium, you will need to submit the following:
  1. Dissertation Abstract - Submit by registering your Ph.D. dissertation abstract at:
  2. 2-page Résumé (Biographical Sketch)
  3. Two essays detailing your completed and ongoing research (1 page total length)
  4. Two letters of recommendation 

1. Dissertation Abstract

Before proceeding further or submitting other parts of your application, you must register your Ph.D. Dissertation Abstract with DISCCRS. Registration will add your dissertation to the online DISCCRS Dissertation Registry at, and you will receive the weekly e-newsletter (includes climate news, jobs, and other announcements of interest to recent Ph.D.s).

Please note: Once you’ve submitted your dissertation abstract online at, the remaining materials should be submitted via email, as described below.

2. Biographical Sketch (2-page PDF file)

Please follow these style guidelines (based on NSF proposal guidelines):
  • Two-page limit (8.5" x 11")
  • Times 11 or equivalent font
  • One-inch margins
Include the following in your BioSketch (2-page maximum):
  • Name and the Date your résumé was last updated
    Example format:
    Schneider, Stephen H. BioSketch as of November 5, 2012
  • Research Interests/Skills (3 lines maximum)
  • Educational Background (undergraduate and graduate) – Start with most recent degree and list dates attended, degree, institution, subject area, and academic awards/honors, if applicable.
  • Professional Background – List most recent position first; include job title, institution and start/end dates
  • Peer-Reviewed Publications – Include the full citation, with your name highlighted. Include only published, in press, or submitted papers. Do not include works that are in preparation.
    Example format:
    Still, C.J., P.N. Foster and S.H.Schneider, 1999. Simulating the effects of climate change on tropical montane forests. Nature 398:608-610.
  • Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications – Use same general format as for peer-reviewed publications for items such as reports or book chapters. Do not include abstracts or works in preparation.
  • Presentations at Scientific Meetings – Include full citation for the presentation, including the occasion, date and location. If an abstract has been published, include a citation in this section.
  • Interdisciplinary Activities and Outreach – Research, education/outreach, community service or other synergistic activities. This can be a list of accomplishments or a paragraph describing them. This is the place you should describe your past and current collaborations.
  • Professional Society Membership(s)

Save this file as a PDF and name it as follows:
Example:  Schneider_Stephen_H_Biosketch.pdf

Send your BioSketch along with your essays via email following the instructions at the end of Section 3.

3. Two Essays (1-page PDF file)

The two essays need not be the same length but both must fit on a single page together. Use the following style:
  • One-page limit (8.5" x 11") for both essays combined
  • Times 11 or equivalent font
  • One-inch margins
Essay #1: Summary of completed research
Describe one component of your Ph.D. dissertation or current research as though you were writing for a well-educated adult with minimal science background. This should be like your Ph.D. dissertation abstract, but written for a non-specialist audience. Be sure to provide the following:
  • Title
  • Context for your work
  • Central question/topic
  • Method of addressing this question
  • Results and importance/significance/potential impact of your findings

In other words, what was the question, why is it important, what was your major result and why should anyone care? Be sure to include an interesting or intriguing title – something that would entice a reader. Use this same compelling style to write the rest of your essay. Do not simply copy and paste the abstract published with your dissertation.

Essay #2: Current and future research and goals 
Describe your current and future research goals related to climate change and its impacts, including their interdisciplinary and collaborative aspects. You should also describe the types of collaborations you would like to build (e.g., what scientific fields are you interested in connecting with — not specific individuals). Note that there is room in your BioSketch to list specific collaborations you have already conducted. Do not list those again here. Tell us instead where you are headed. Finally, please tell us what you hope to gain from the symposium and how your participation might benefit other participants.

Save the file containing both your essays as a single-page PDF and name it as follows:
Example: Schneider_Stephen_H_Essays.pdf

Attach your BioSketch and essays as two separate PDF files to one email with the following text in the subject line:
Subject: [LastName, FirstName MiddleInitial] - DISCCRS VIII Symposium Application
Example: Schneider, Stephen H - DISCCRS VIII Symposium Application

Send the email to:

4. Two Letters of Recommendation

Instructions for Applicant:
  • BEFORE you request letters of recommendation, register your Ph.D. Dissertation Abstract with DISCCRS.
  • After you have registered your Ph.D. Dissertation Abstract: Request letters of recommendation from two references. Do this well before the application deadline so that they have plenty of time to respond.
  • Provide your references with a copy of or link to the DISCCRS VIII Symposium flyer posted at
  • Explain that the Symposium is intended to foster the career development of cutting-edge researchers with interdisciplinary interests across the natural and social sciences who are studying climate change, its impacts or its solutions.
Instructions for Referees:
  • Deadline for receipt of support letters is: February 28, 2013
  • Please assess the candidate relative to other graduate students and early-career scientists you have supervised or collaborated with, or have knowledge of.
  • Text of recommendation should be submitted in the body of an email message, not as an attachment. There is no need to follow up with a hard copy.
  • Use the following subject line for your email:
    [Applicant LastName, FirstName MiddleInitial] - DISCCRS VIII Reference Letter from [Letter-writer LastName]
    Example:  Schneider, Stephen H - DISCCRS VIII Reference Letter from Mitchell
  • Send the email to:

Application Deadline: February 28, 2013


So, in brief, the application process is as follows:

BioSketch – 2-page .pdf file, named as follows:
Example: Schneider_Stephen_H_Biosketch.pdf

Essays – 1-page .pdf file, named as follows:
Example: Schneider_Stephen_H_Essays.pdf

  • Attach both files to a single email with the following subject line:
    [LastName, FirstName MiddleInitial] - DISCCRS VIII Symposium Application
    Example: Schneider, Stephen H - DISCCRS VIII Symposium Application
  • Send that email to
  • Request two letters of recommendation well before the deadline: February 28, 2013
  • Ask your referees to send their letters in the body of an email to using the following format for the subject line:
    [Applicant LastName, FirstName MiddleInitial] - DISCCRS VIII Reference Letter from [Letter-writer LastName]
    Example: Schneider, Stephen H - DISCCRS VIII Reference Letter from Mitchell

If you have any questions about the process or about the Symposium, please contact Nancy Rose, DISCCRS Administrative Assistant, at: