Deep Impact: Paths to Carbon Zero

The EDR Research Fellowship program allows talented individuals—typically recent graduates of design professional educational programs—to explore fundamental questions around the development of better buildings and cities while embedded in a firm committed to excellence in design and performance. Each year, EDR Research Fellows are challenged to focus on a particular area of inquiry, unconstrained by day-to-day project deliverables, but with the opportunity to interact with and affect the course of ongoing work. They are also required to share what they have learned with the firm and with the profession nationally through publications and conference presentations. Previous years have focused on topics of building performance, resilience, community engagement, and health in the built environment. An overview of recent work is available at

Note: Submittals closed at 11pm CST on March 25th, 2019

2019-2020 theme | Deep Impact: Paths to Carbon Zero

Deep Carbon: What would it take? Those who design and construct buildings are at the forefront of an exhilarating transformation: make buildings radically better places for people while making their construction and operation move towards net zero carbon emissions. We now know more than ever before about the links between the indoor environment and the health and well-being of building occupants. And since 2005, we’ve added 30 billion square feet of buildings in the U.S. while total carbon emissions from buildings have fallen by 20%. But it’s not enough. We need to go further, faster. We need practical examples of what it would take to make every project truly health-supporting while moving towards net zero carbon emissions. We need practical examples of everyday projects on real budgets showing the way forward.

The goal of this year’s Fellowship is to develop a library of 12 case studies of real-world projects—a mix of existing buildings and new construction—with a road map of what it would take to have these projects meet the Zero Net Carbon operation and 50% reduction in embodied carbon established by the Architecture2030 organization. This ‘upgrade package’ would also strive to achieve indoor environmental quality levels embodied in the science behind relevant components of the WELL, LEED, Fitwel, and the Living Building Challenge certification programs. These will be presented to building owners (for potential implementation) and then shared with the profession through websites, social media, presentations, and publications. The project will involve collaboration with partners including leading engineering firms, contractors, subcontractors, and non-profit organizations.

This work will present a snapshot of where we are today, what the real-world costs are for real-world projects, and lay out the prospects ahead in this rapidly developing field. The stakes, and the opportunities, couldn’t be higher.

Who should apply

The EDR Research Fellowship is open to recent graduates or candidates approaching graduation in relevant fields; this could include architecture, engineering, or the physical or biological sciences. Previous Fellows have pursued degrees in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urban Design, and Civil Engineering.

Application Timeline:

  • February 11, 2019: Call for Applications
  • March 25, 2019 (11:00pm CST): Deadline to Receive Candidate Submissions
  • April 5, 2019: Selected Candidate Notification
  • April 12, 2019: Offers Extended
  • June 4, 2019: (or thereafter) Fellowship Begins


The standard Fellowship duration is 12 months, typically commencing in June. In exceptional cases we may award a 3-month Fellowship to a second candidate. Candidates seeking either are encouraged to apply.


Research Fellows are fully compensated full-time fixed-term employees at industry-competitive salaries and benefits. Compensation will be commensurate with qualifications & experience


Applicants who are not US citizens or permanent residents need to possess valid visas for the period of their proposed fellowship.

Submittals closed at 11pm CST on March 25th, 2019. Please email if you have any questions about an existing application.