There is substantial evidence linking agricultural production and environmental degradation. Growing public awareness of various environmental issues such as global warming, toxic residues in food, and biodiversity loss has brought about a call for sustainable food production practices. Against a backdrop of an increasing world population, a key issue in future food supply is that, even in well-endowed areas, there are limits to the impact that the natural and human systems of the environment can tolerate. Thus, daily food choices by large segments of the population can ultimately result in an effect on the environment and may have public health consequences. Moreover, it has been suggested that global climate change will alter agricultural productivity across wide geographic areas, decreasing food security and resulting in changes in population food patterns.

Doctoral Programs

The first Environmental Nutrition doctorate project was completed in 2006 on the natural resource requirements of dietary choices in California. There are many Environmental Nutrition topics that could be covered through doctoral studies. The program could incorporate natural and environmental sciences, nutrition and/or epidemiology. Students could study for a DrPH or a PhD and be based in the School of Public Health and/or the Department of Earth and Biological Sciences. If you are interested, please contact Dr. Sujatha Rajaram.

Postdoctoral Fellowship

The environmental nutrition postdoctoral fellowship began in 2008. Activities have included data collection on the environmental impacts of foods, analysis of dietary patterns and writing journal articles. The award is for one year, with renewal for a second year upon successful completion of first year goals, and carries a stipend of $49,920 per year with an additional $3,000 per year for research expenses. The focus of this Fellowship Program is the interrelation among food, environment and public health. It is specifically designed to investigate the impact of food production, processing, distribution and consumption on the environment and public health. This position will focus on research and writing. A schedule of research topics and activities will be designed in line with the Environmental Nutrition agenda.


Candidates interested in applying to the fellowship program must have a doctoral degree in a field related to the area of interest, such as environmental health, nutrition, food science, epidemiology, biology, ecology, sociology, or economics. Candidates must also have an interest in inter- and trans-disciplinary research and, ideally, a strong background or training experience in public health or in two or more of the disciplines listed above. A working knowledge of vegetarian nutrition will be helpful. Candidates should possess proven quantitative skills as well as professional English writing skills. International applicants are welcome to apply. US citizenship is not required.

How to apply

How to Apply for the Postdoctoral Fellowship in Environmental Nutrition

Step 1

Read the entire webpage at Environmental Nutrition and watch the three videos that are embedded.

Step 2

Read these seven articles available through links at the environmental nutrition webpage:

For Background

  • Sabaté J, Harwatt H, Soret S. Environmental Nutrition: A new frontier for public health. Am J Public Health 2016; 106:815-21
  • Sabaté J and Soret S. (2014) Sustainability of plant-based diets: Back to the future. Am J Clin Nutr 100:476S-482S.

For Current Research

  • Ujue Fresan, Helen Harwatt, Joan Sabaté. Developing a methodology for estimating transport related CO2 emissions for food commodities. J Sustain Dev 2018 DOI:10.5539/jsd.vlln6p47.
  • Harwatt H, Sabaté J, Eshel G, Soret S, Ripple W. Substituting beans for beef as a contribution toward US climate change targets. Climate change (2017)143:261.
  • Marlow H, Harwatt H, Soret S, Sabaté J. Comparing the water, energy, pesticide and fertilizer usage for the production of foods consumed by different dietary types in California. Pub Health Nutr 2015;18(13)2425-32.
  • Sabaté J, Sranacharoenpong K, Harwatt H, Wien M, Soret S. (2015) The environmental cost of protein food choices Pub Health Nutr 18(11)2067-73.
  • Soret S, Mejia A, Batech M, Jaceldo-Siegl K, Harwatt H, Sabaté J. (2014) Climate change mitigation and health effects of varied dietary patterns in real-life settings throughout North America. Am J Clin Nutr 100:476S-82S.

Step 3

If, after reading the material outlined above you think you would be interested in advancing the science of environmental nutrition, please send the following materials to Janice Hilton in the Center for Nutrition, Healthy Lifestyles and Disease Prevention at

Current CV with a cover letter. The cover letter should be no more than two pages long and should briefly describe the candidate’s interest in the topic of environmental nutrition, outlining experience and the relationship between completed doctoral studies and postdoctoral goals. Please include your current contact information in the letter or CV.
Contact information for three references including email addresses and phone numbers. Please identify your relationship with each contact.

At least one sample of scientific writing. The candidate must be either first author or the author who completed the initial draft of the manuscript.  Published articles are preferred but not mandatory.