Student Research Opportunities

Russell Ackoff Doctoral Student Fellowship Grants

Since 2006, the Russell Ackoff Doctoral Student Fellowship program of the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center has provided grants to University of Pennsylvania Ph.D. students who are pursuing research in decision making under risk and uncertainty. Potential research topics to receive funding must align thematically with one of our five research labs: (1) disaster risk management, (2) business, climate, and the environment, (3) risk communication & decision-making, (4) behavioral science & technology, and (5) political risk. Learn more about submitting grant proposals.

Undergraduate Student Fellows Program

The goal of the Undergraduate Fellows Program is to complement students’ academic experiences at Penn by providing education, career development, and practical engagement on climate risk management, disaster resilience, and sustainability topics that are relevant to private and public sector stakeholders. The program seeks to build an interdisciplinary community of students interested in climate risk management.  Learn more about the program.

Guest Blog Posts

Students are encouraged to get in contact with the Risk Center if they would like to pitch ideas for our blog, “Lab Notes.”  Our blog analyzes innovative resilience ideas, offers timely policy insights, and introduces the Risk Center’s research.  Guest posts could include, for example, innovative ideas from semester research projects.  Recent student posts are available here.

Risk Center Seminar for Early Career Research

The Wharton Risk Center hosts a monthly research seminar for post-docs, PhD students, master’s students, and research staff to share work-in-progress and network. Research topics are focused on climate risk management and resilience. Faculty are invited to attend.  Learn more about upcoming seminars and joining here.

Environmental Coffee Chat

Faculty from the Business Economics and Public Policy Department at Wharton host bi-weekly “Environmental Coffee Chat” in which PhD students, pre-docs, and faculty discuss and present early stage research ideas.  General disciplines for research include economics, finance, real estate, and operations.  Interested PhD students can reach out to Prakash Mishra at about joining.

Energy Economics & Finance Seminar

This seminar series is jointly organized between the Business Economics and Public Policy Department, the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, and the Wharton Risk Center’s Business, Climate and Environment Lab. The scope of the seminar includes regulation and policy for energy, environmental, and transportation issues. Learn more and view the schedule here.

Past Opportunities

Spring 2022 MBA Independent Study with Dr. Carolyn Kousky

The Wharton Risk Center’s Executive Director, Dr. Carolyn Kousky, will be leading a for-credit independent study in the spring semester for up to 5 MBA students. This will be a project-based learning class focused on the impacts of climate change to artisan and maker supply chains globally. This project is being undertaken in collaboration with Nest. Nest is a global nonprofit focused on supporting artisans and makers to build  a world of greater gender equity and economic inclusion. Nest partners with global brands including Ikea, Etsy, Target, and Patagonia. Students in the class will research the artisan economy, global climate impacts, and climate risk management strategies for artisans globally and also here in the United States. Students will help develop a survey for Nest’s artisan partners to better understand the climate risks they are currently facing and how they can better prepare. In addition, students will help research existing programs and solutions (including microinsurance and federal disaster aid) to help artisans impacted by climate disasters in the U.S. Students will have reading assignments and bi-weekly writing assignments. Students must also attend a mandatory bi-weekly 90 minute seminar/project meeting.

Questions? Please email Helen Wiley at

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