RCP Fellows Program

What is the RCP Fellows Program?

The Resilient Communities Project (RCP) Fellows Program partners with local government agencies in Minnesota on research and technical assistance projects that help to advance community sustainability, equity, and resilience.

Through the program, interdisciplinary teams of graduate/professional students and postdocs at the U of MN collaborate directly with local government staff on a high-priority project. Projects can cover a wide range of issues that impact community resilience--from housing, transportation, and economic development to climate adaptation, health equity, and environmental stewardship. Team members have an opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to a real-world project, while our partner agencies benefit from the insights provided by a multidisciplinary team. 

Project cycles occur three times per year, starting in January, May, and September, and typically last 12 weeks. Participation on a team is uncompensated, but some fellows may be eligible to earn academic credit for their involvement in a project. No previous consulting experience is required, and applications are accepted from students in all fields and disciplines.  

Eligibility

Team members are selected through a competitive process, and must be

  • current University of Minnesota postdocs, graduate, or professional students;
  • enrolled with active status and in good academic standing (for professional or graduate students); and 
  • willing and able to commit a minimum of five (5) hours per week to the project

What projects are available?

Projects for Fall 2022 Semester:

Inclusive, Iterative Engagement in Pursuit of Climate Resilience. Ramsey County is committed to leading in the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change, elevating environmental justice, and fighting against disparate impacts of climate change in BIPOC and other underrepresented communities. The County Manager's Office and Saint Paul–Ramsey County Public Health will facilitate community engagement sessions in fall 2022, focused on identifying services that are desired and needed to address the health impacts of changing climate on the county’s most vulnerable residents. Team members will work with the County’s Climate and Health Planner and a contracted professional consultant to assist with identifying potential participants and stakeholders, outlining goals for engagement, planning or designing inclusive community engagement methods, proposing performance metrics to evaluate engagement efforts, and/or facilitating community engagement. (View project brief)

Shared-Mobility Public-Private Partnerships. Shared-mobility services (ride sharing, scooter or bike sharing, etc.) can improve mobility and quality of life for all Minnesotans, especially those without access to a private vehicle due to income, age, or physical ability. The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) would like assistance creating a resource that increases public sector knowledge about shared mobility and helps Minnesota cities create effective partnerships with private shared-mobility providers. Team members will interview public-sector transportation practitioners and private-sector shared-mobility providers to investigate the potential roles and relationships between public- and private-sector actors, what shared-mobility companies seek from public-sector partnerships, and how communities can achieve desired public policy outcomes such as equity and safety from these partnerships; and create a guidebook or other resource for cities in Minnesota. Students will work in conjunction with MnDOT’s Shared Mobility Program Coordinator. (view project brief)

Supporting City Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives. The League of Minnesota Cities (LMC) has supported cities in their race-equity work for several years through cohort-based learning programs, workshops, and peer learning. The League recently created a full-time Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator position to further support cities in advancing their DEI work. To ensure this position is successful, the League seeks a deeper understanding of the issues and challenges cities are encountering as they pursue DEI efforts. Team members will design and administer an in-depth survey of city officials to learn about the DEI issues they face, and conduct a qualitative and quantitative analysis of findings, including key themes and trends by city size and geographic location. Students will work in conjunction with LMC’s Policy Analysis Manager and DEI Coordinator. (View project brief)

Feasibility of an Electric Car-Sharing Service in a Suburban Environment. The City of Edina is committed to providing clean, abundant, equitable, and accessible transportation options to all who live, work, and travel through the community. This includes a new circulator bus route, increased sidewalks and bikeways, and potentially an electric vehicle car-sharing service. Team members will research best practices and case studies of similar programs in suburban communities, conduct community outreach and engagement through surveys and interviews to potential users and providers of such a car-sharing service, and provide recommendations for moving forward. Students will work in conjunction with Edina’s Sustainability Manager and a Minnesota GreenCorps member. (View project brief)

Project cycles occur three times per year to coincide with the fall, spring, and summer academic terms at the U of MN. Available projects are generally announced in August (for fall semester), December (spring semester), and May (summer term). Please check back here to see what projects are on tap for next term, or sign up to receive future notices.

How do I apply to be a team member?

Simply complete this online application form by Friday, September 2, 2022. Interviews with selected applicants will be conducted via Zoom beginning the week of August 27, and fellows will be chosen and notified by mid-September.

Before you begin the application, familiarize yourself with the projects listed above that are available this semester. As part of your application, you will need to indicate which projects you are interested in being considered for, as well as why these projects interest you. At the end of the application form, you will also be asked to submit your current resume or curriculum vitae as a single PDF file, so be sure to have this document prepared and ready to upload.

How can I learn more about the RCP Fellows Program?

If you have questions about the program or are unsure about your eligibility to participate, please contact RCP at [email protected].

To learn more about upcoming project cycles, sign up to receive future notices.