Sustainability Fellowship

Applications due: July 1, 2019 

Program overview

The Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability in Science and Technology Museums initiative supports museums in developing and expanding sustainability programming through professional development opportunities, public educational materials, and other resources to promote sustainability science and practice. By leveraging the power of museums around the world, this program has the potential to help millions of museum visitors understand the social, environmental, and economic impact of human behavior on the planet’s future.

The initiative’s Sustainability Fellowship program provides professional development and support for museum staff who are interested in developing sustainability-related projects at their museums. Projects can include public programming, events, installations, or exhibits; professional development for museum staff and volunteers; behind-the-scenes efforts to make museum operations more sustainable; partnerships with other community organizations related to sustainability initiatives; and/or initial planning that will create a foundation for future sustainability efforts.

Program activities and requirements

In 2019-2020, the NISE Network will support three cohorts of Sustainability Fellows, who will participate in the program for a period of approximately four months. Sustainability Fellows will be required to:

  • Attend a two-day in-person workshop at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, where they will network with other professionals, learn about sustainability, share best practices, and brainstorm project ideas to implement at their museums (fellows’ travel expenses will be covered through the program); 
  • Participate in three 90-minute online workshops, one held prior to the in-person meeting and two held afterwards;
  • Develop a sustainability project at their museums that will engage the public in learning about sustainability, make their museum operations more sustainable, provide staff and volunteer professional development related to sustainability, develop community partnerships for sustainability, and/or plan future sustainability initiatives; 
  • Receive US$1,000 in participant support, payable to your institution, for use at your discretion for staff time, materials, or other expenses;
  • Submit an online report describing their project and sharing their experience with the fellowship; and
  • Complete a brief online evaluation survey.

Examples of projects

You don’t need to have a clear idea of what your project will be at the time of your application. This program will allow you to work with peers, experts, and stakeholders at your institution to identify an idea that is feasible and desirable for your organization.

Previous Sustainability Fellows have implemented a range of different projects, which have varied according to their institution’s priorities, capacity, and degree of previous experience with sustainability. Here are some examples to help you think about what might be possible and what you and your organization are interested in:

  • A children’s museum created a pollinator garden outside their building and museum visitors collected data at the garden to contribute to a citizen science project
  • A science center integrated sustainability related content into summer camp programs
  • A science and technology museum incorporated some new sustainability ideas and principles into an upcoming special exhibition 
  • A cultural center developed a cultural tourism program highlighting local gastronomy and the natural environment of a rural mountain area
  • A garden offered a family tour focused on the diversity of endemic and native plants, as well as art activities using plant materials
  • A natural history museum provided staff professional development so that different departments could contribute to a museum-wide sustainability initiative
  • A science center partnered with other organizations to advance energy sustainability and reduce the polarity in public dialogue 
  • A zoo looked at how they handle recycling and reuse of materials behind the scenes and found low-cost ways to improve the process
  • A science museum examined how they create new exhibits and retire old ones and developed guidelines to make their exhibit life cycle more sustainable 


There will be three groups, or cohorts, of Fellows in 2019-2020, each with 25-30 participants. A timeline of major activities for the application and for each cohort is provided below. 

Application and awards (same dates for all three cohorts)

  • Application due: July 1, 2019 
  • Awards announced: around July 22, 2019
  • Confirmation of participation due from awardees: August 5, 2019 

Cohort A

  • Workshop activities:
    • Flight bookings through ASU travel agent: week of August 12, 2019
    • Pre-workshop online session: August 16 or 19, 2019 (your choice)
    • Travel to Arizona: September 9 (international) or September 10, 2019 (US)
    • Group dinner: September 10, 2019
    • Day 1 of workshop: September 11, 2019
    • Day 2 of workshop: September 12, 2019
    • Travel home: September 13, 2019
    • Post-workshop online session #1: October 18 or 21, 2019 (your choice)
    • Post-workshop online session #2: December 6 or 9, 2019 (your choice)
  • Project work:
    • September 2019 - January, 2020
  • Reporting and evaluation:
    • Final report due: January 6, 2020
    • Evaluation survey link provided: January 6, 2020

Cohort B

  • Workshop activities:
    • Flight bookings through ASU travel agent: by early December, 2019
    • Pre-workshop online session: January 3 or 6, 2020 (your choice)
    • Travel to Arizona: January 20 (international) or January 21, 2020 (US)
    • Group dinner: January 21, 2020
    • Day 1 of workshop: January 22, 2020
    • Day 2 of workshop: January 23, 2020
    • Travel home: January 24, 2020
    • Post-workshop online session #1: February 21 or 24, 2020 (your choice)
    • Post-workshop online session #2: April 17 or 20, 2020 (your choice)
  • Project work:
    • January - May, 2020
  • Reporting and evaluation:
    • Final report due: May 18, 2020
    • Evaluation survey link provided: May 18, 2020

Cohort C

  • Workshop activities
    • Flight bookings through ASU travel agent: by mid April, 2020
    • Pre-workshop online session: April 17 or 20, 2020 (your choice)
    • Travel to Arizona: May 18 (international) or May 19, 2020 (US)
    • Group dinner: May 19, 2020
    • Day 1 of workshop: May 20, 2020
    • Day 2 of workshop: May 21, 2020
    • Travel home: May 22, 2020
    • Post-workshop online session #1: June 19 or 22, 2020 (your choice)
    • Post-workshop online session #2: August 21 or 24, 2020 (your choice)
  • Project work
    • May - September, 2020
  • Reporting and evaluation
    • Final report due: September 8, 2020
    • Evaluation survey link provided: September 8, 2020


The Sustainability Fellowship program is open to museum professionals who are currently employed by an eligible organization, and who have not personally participated in the Fellowship program or Regional Workshop program (see below for more information). 


To be eligible to participate in the program, organizations must be:

  • Museums and similar organizations, such as: science museums, science centers, children’s museums, natural history museums, nature centers, zoos, aquariums, and parks that offer educational programming and/or interpretation.
  • Located in any country of the world (eligible museums do not need to be US institutions). (See below for more information relevant to international participants.)

Please note that K-12 schools, afterschool programs, and libraries are not eligible to participate in the Sustainability Fellowship program. Consider downloading our free digital tools and resources if your organization does not meet eligibility criteria: 

Repeat fellowships:

  • An organization may have more than one person participate as Fellows, but priority will be given to organizations that have not yet been awarded a fellowship. 
  • If you are unsure if your organization has already participated in this program, please consult the complete list of organizations that have participated


To be eligible to participate in the program, individuals must be:

  • Employed by an eligible organization (see above). 

Repeat fellowships:

  • An individual person can only participate in the fellowship program one time. If you previously participated in ASU’s Sustainability Fellowship program (2016-2018), you are not eligible to participate again. 
  • If someone else from your organization has participated in the past, you may apply as long as you plan to develop a different project or different phase of the other Fellow’s project. Please note, however, that priority will be given to organizations that have not already had a staff person participate.
  •  If you are unsure if your organization has already participated in this program, please consult the complete list of organizations that have participated

International participants

This is an international program based in the United States. Staff from museums located in any country of the world are eligible and welcome to apply. Fellowship activities will be conducted in English and associated materials will be provided in the English language. Depending on your location, you may choose to access the recorded online workshop sessions after the fact, rather than participating live, due to time zone differences. You must, however, attend the in-person workshop in Tempe, Arizona, and complete all other requirements of the program. 


The online application can be found here:

The application is in Google Forms. We recommend working on your responses to the application questions in a word processing program, then pasting them into the online form when you are ready to submit. You will receive an automated confirmation when your application is submitted. 

You can download a copy of the program overview and application questions to preview prior to filling out the online form. This is for planning purposes only; you must apply through the online application form:

Sustainability Fellowship applications are due July 1, 2019. 



After you read through the Overview, if you  have questions, please contact

About the project


The Rob and Melani Walton Foundation is the lead sponsor of the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability in Science and Technology Museums program.