UW Fellowship

Seeking postdoctoral and post-master’s applicants for the Wisconsin Water Resources Science-Policy Fellowship with a focus on PFAS standards development

Application Deadline: December 16, 2019

The University of Wisconsin Water Resources and Sea Grant Institutes in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (WDHS) seek postdoctoral and post-master’s candidates interested in tackling timely science and policy challenges related to water resources management and human health in Wisconsin. Together, these programs will fund a Wisconsin Water Resources Science-Policy Fellow position. This program places a recent master’s or doctoral graduate within a state program full-time for one to two years, with the Fellow bringing technical skills to benefit water issues and challenges and receiving valuable real-world science-policy experience from the resource professionals who will serve as mentors. This mutually beneficial partnership will result in advancing science to support policy decisions as well as valuable training opportunities for new professionals entering the work force. The Fellow will be placed at the WDHS office in downtown Madison and will be working directly with DHS toxicologists Dr. Roy Irving and Dr. Sarah Yang in addition to researchers from across the state and region, as well as stakeholders and policy-makers in Wisconsin. WDHS seeks a Fellow with a with a background in toxicology, pharmacology, risk assessment, epidemiology, or a related field in the biological sciences to help them develop recommended groundwater standards for the protection of public health.

Specifically, the Fellow will:

Provide scientific expertise to support the development of health-based recommendations for state groundwater protection standards and drinking water health advisory levels (Hazard Assessment Section, DHS) The Groundwater Standards Development Program at WDHS plays a crucial role in ensuring that Wisconsin residents have safe drinking water.

Program responsibilities include providing technical assistance to state and local partners related to groundwater and drinking water contaminants, serving as a liaison to partners at the local, state, and national level, and developing communication and outreach materials for drinking water-related public health concerns. WDHS is currently in the process of developing state groundwater standards recommendations for a number of emerging contaminants, including several per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

The Fellow will join the WDHS team to collect and critically review scientific information, experimental data, and governmental drinking water guidance on these substances to assist with development of recommended groundwater standards.

The Fellow will also prepare scientific support documents summarizing WDHS’s review and recommendations. The Fellow will have opportunities to discuss WDHS’s work with a variety of stakeholders such as other state agencies, local partners, and members of the public. Through this project, the Fellow will leverage their technical background to assist WDHS with developing sound, science-based policy recommendations, addressing emerging groundwater contaminants of public health importance in Wisconsin. The Fellow will gain a better understanding of, and experience serving in, the role of a scientist in public health practice. The Fellow will also have the opportunity to expand their science and risk communication skills, learning best practices to effectively convey technical information to a broad range of audiences.

Additional information

More detail on the fellowship is below. If you have any questions, please contact: Jennifer Hauxwell at jennifer.hauxwell@aqua.wisc.edu or (608) 263-4756.

Eligibility Any student or postgraduate who will have graduated between spring 2018 and fall 2019 with a degree in toxicology, pharmacology, risk assessment, epidemiology, or a related field in the biological sciences is eligible to apply. Fellows must have completed all degree requirements before starting the fellowship. Stipend and Expenses Annual stipends are dependent on the Fellow’s academic background, with post master’s Fellows earning $40,000 and postdoctoral Fellows earning $55,000, both with additional benefits (see – http://www.ohr.wisc.edu/benefits/new-emp/grad.aspx). Fellows will be allotted up to $2,000 to cover fellowshiprelated travel and can include conferences. Additional travel associated with the fellowship may be covered by the host agency at the agency’s discretion.

Application Requirements

Application packages should be sent to jennifer.hauxwell@aqua.wisc.edu at the University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute and should include:

1. A cover letter that describes your background and abilities, your expectations from the fellowship experience and how this experience fits with your career goals. (2 pages or fewer)

2. Curriculum vitae with relevant educational, professional and volunteer experience. (no length limit)

3. Copies of undergraduate and graduate student transcripts. Scanned copies are acceptable.

4. Two letters of recommendation, including one from the applicant’s major professor; if no major professor exists, another faculty member at the same institution, familiar with your academic record, may be substituted.

References should email letters directly to jennifer.hauxwell@aqua.wisc.edu. 5. Up to 4 writing samples, both formal and informal (e.g., journal articles or other technical documents, popular articles, web resources, etc.)

Please use the naming convention “Last name – description of file” for all files associated with the application (e.g. “Smith – cover letter”, “Smith – cv”, “Smith – transcripts”, etc.).

Selection Process

UW and WDHS staff will identify a short list of candidates for interviews. Interviews will be conducted by a panel of UW and WDHS staff members to determine the best fit for the position. It is expected that applicants will possess a strong background in toxicology, pharmacology, risk assessment, epidemiology or a similar field in the biological sciences, strong analytical skills, an ability to manage projects and work independently, and excellent written and verbal communication skills.

Length of Assignment

The length of assignment is one year, with the possibility of an extension for a second year and an anticipated start of early winter 2020. This timeline may be adjusted to accommodate academic semester needs or the needs of the candidates or funding institutions.


December 16, 2019 – Deadline for submission of applications

Early January – Interviews

January/February (approx.) – Fellowship begins