EPIC Pre-Doctoral Fellows Vishan Nigam and Claire Qing Fan have been accepted to the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program, joining a tradition that includes former U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Google co-founder Sergey Brin and 42 Nobel laureates. Their colleague, Maya Norman, received an honorable mention.

Nigam and Fan join six former pre-doctoral fellows to have received the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship in the past three years. The program, one of the oldest graduate fellowships of its kind, recruits high-potential, early-career scientists and engineers and supports their graduate research training in science technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Nigam and Fan will receive a three-year annual stipend covering tuition and fees to any accredited U.S. institute of graduate education. They also have the opportunity to participate in international research and professional development offerings from the NSF.

“The faculty, staff, and fellow pre-docs at EPIC have taught me an incredible amount about the intricacies of environmental economics research and policy,” said Nigam, who will be attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall. “Their guidance was critical during the NSF application process. I am grateful to EPIC, and especially to my predoc supervisor Michael Greenstone, for preparing me academically and financially to pursue an economics PhD.”

Nigam and Fan were selected from 12,000 applicants to win the prestigious fellowship and were among 44 awardees matriculating into economics PhD programs. “Receiving the NSF fellowship is an empowering honor: it’s an affirmation that the research questions I think are important and interesting also seem important and interesting to the rest of the world,” said Fan, who will be staying at the University of Chicago to attend the Harris School of Public Policy. “I’m super grateful to have been a part of EPIC’s work and community – both for the time and wisdom that many generously shared with me during the NSF/grad school process specifically, and for these entire two years of learning to contribute to policy-relevant research.”

Of the honor and her experience at EPIC, Maya Norman, who will attend the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, said: “My experience at EPIC has been invaluable; both in terms of practical skills learned and exposure to the frontiers of research economics This recognition attests to just how much I have gained from my time here.”

The researchers are part of the EPIC pre-doctoral fellowship program, which offers ambitious young researchers interested in empirical economics a bridge program between their undergraduate and graduate studies. Each fellow works closely with EPIC Director Michael Greenstone or other EPIC-affiliate faculty members.

Former pre-doctoral fellows to have received the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship include Henry Zhang (2019), Greg Dobbels, Johanna Rayl, and Patrick Schwartz (2018), and Harshil Sahai and Dan Stuart (2017). Dobbels, Rayl, and Sahai are attending the University of Chicago; Zhang and Schwartz are at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Dan Stuart is at the Harvard Kennedy School.

For more information on the pre-doctoral fellowship and how to apply, visit here.