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Princeton Energy & Climate Scholars (PECS)

PECS

Founded in 2008, Princeton Energy and Climate Scholars (PECS) brings together a select group of highly talented and engaged Princeton Ph.D. students with research expertise ranging from energy security and technology to climate science and policy.

PECS  enhances the research experience of Princeton’s graduate students by encouraging them to transcend the boundaries of their fields and by fostering a sense of common intellectual adventure. Drawing from a broad range of disciplines, PECS students and members of the Faculty Board thoughtfully approach multifaceted energy challenges of the 21st century. more >>

Events and Group Activities

PECS
(Photo: David Hunsinger)

Students meet once a month, over lunch or dinner, to share research results and to introduce their work to each other. In these informal discussions, students often probe topics that are remote from their own research. They also meet a second time each month over dinner with the PECS Faculty Board. These dinners either highlight the research of a Faculty Board member or dovetail with outside visitors' time on campus.

PECS fellows participate in several outreach initiatives including participating in career-oriented and science-education based events at high schools and other local colleges. PECS fellows also instituted and orchestrated a weekly discussion table at Rockefeller College that brought students, faculty, and the greater Princeton community together to discuss a variety of energy focused topics. At the end of the year, students in PECS engage in a collaborative project where each student has an opportunity to contribute their own expertise and insight. Each member of PECS is afforded a $1,000 allowance to support their research and professional development.

Application and Selection Process

PECS
Inaugural PECS meeting with students and members of the faculty board. (Photo: David Hunsinger)

Membership in PECS is by competitive application. Selection is made by representatives of the faculty and PECS student leadership. PECS students represent many disciplines within science, engineering, policy, and economics. Highly motivated graduate students from diverse academic backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Because PECS is largely governed by its student members, the selection process gives considerable weight to indications that a student likes to volunteer and take initiative. Candidates self-nominate and are required to prepare a summary description of their research (< 500 words) including its intersections with energy and climate, and to explain how they would contribute to the PECS community. A letter of recommendation from their primary advisor highlighting their qualifications and motivations for joining the group is also required.

The selection process is undertaken jointly by the Faculty Board and members of the student committee. The selection criteria are threefold:

  • Research quality
  • Level of engagement and interest in broader aspects of the climate and energy problem
  • Diversity of students in the group

PECS membership lasts for two years. Typically, only post-generals Ph.D. students are eligible for participation, but special cases will be considered.