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Air Quality Fellows Application


RTI International is supporting the U.S. Department of State Air Quality Capacity Building Fellowship project, including the recruitment of Air Quality Fellows.


The project’s goal is to enhance developing country capacity in air quality management through placement of U.S. air quality experts with national and subnational governments, to provide technical assistance in taking tangible steps to improve air quality and reduce associated economic, environmental, and health impacts. As understanding and awareness of the health and environmental impacts of air pollution has increased, governments have become increasingly interested in taking actions to tackle air pollution. Many governments may benefit from additional technical capacity to address air quality issues, and Air Quality Fellows will assist eligible countries in achieving air quality improvement goals (for example, national or subnational implementation of internationally-agreed air quality priorities such as those encouraged through resolutions on air quality adopted at the first and third United Nations Environment Assemblies).

Program Description

Beginning in 2019, Air Quality Fellows will be selected and matched with national and subnational host governments in 12 to 18-month engagements where they will work together to achieve specific air quality goals articulated in approved project work plans. Based on current funding levels, it is expected that multiple Air Quality Fellows will be placed with host governments from 2019 through 2021, on a staggered schedule. The Air Quality Fellows will provide technical support to host countries through a combination of short-term in-country visits, and additional remote technical support throughout the fellowship period. Air Quality Fellows will work with the host governments to develop a work plan to implement activities that help their host government meet its air quality goals and commitments. RTI will provide logistics and technical support for the Fellows in reviewing and implementing their work plans and completion of final reports. Success of the program will be measured based on approved performance indicators that are specific, measurable, reasonable/feasible, and achievable in the prescribed timeframe. A final report will document all work performed, assess outcomes relative to goals, and include a summary of lessons learned.


Monthly and quarterly status calls will take place between the Fellow and project staff from RTI and Department of State, and regular technical discussions between the Fellow and Host country technical staff will take place. Fellows and host countries will be encouraged to highlight and publish their work and the impacts on air quality achieved.


Host countries that may propose a project and request support from an Air Quality Fellows include: Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Tajikistan, Thailand, Uganda, and Vietnam.

General Qualifications

The ideal Air Quality Fellow is a senior expert in U.S. air quality management planning and implementation, with strong verbal and written communication skills, demonstrated experience in training and outreach, demonstrated experience in collaboratively setting and achieving challenging goals, and a strong commitment to supporting developing countries’ efforts in improving air quality.

Eligibility and Priority Technical Areas

The program is open to U.S. air quality experts, including current and former U.S. government employees, employees of environmental consulting firms, university researchers, experts employed by air pollution control equipment companies, and current and former employees of State and local air pollution control agencies.


Priority Technical areas where technical support is expected to be needed by host countries include development, deployment, or improvement of:


  • Air quality monitoring networks
  • Emissions inventories
  • Air quality modeling and forecasting
  • Air quality planning
  • Ambient air quality standards
  • Regulations for specific industrial sectors, mobile sources, and area sources
  • Air pollution control systems and emissions monitoring systems
  • Permits and permitting systems
  • Compliance and enforcement or air quality regulations
  • Data management and quality assurance


Priority pollutants to be addressed and reduced include fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone precursors (NOx, VOCs, CO).


Note: Fellows applicants will be asked to rate their experience/expertise in each of the Priority Technical areas listed above, as being “limited,” “moderate,” or “significant.” For any Priority Technical areas rated as “moderate” or “significant,” applicants should include specific descriptions of that experience in their CV.

Fellows' Commitment and Support

Each Fellow is expected to spend approximately 4 weeks in the host country (e.g., two separate 2-week trips over 18 months). In addition to the in-country site visits, Fellows are also expected to provide ongoing remote support and advice at an estimated level of 12-20 hours per month.


The program will arrange and pay for all Fellows’ travel; however, Fellows will not be compensated for their labor or time. Applicants who are currently employed must submit a letter of commitment from their current employer as part of the application process.

Selection Criteria

An interdisciplinary panel of RTI air quality experts and representatives from the U.S. Department of State will review the submissions and qualifications of candidate Air Quality Fellows. A major consideration in the evaluation process is a strong match between the applicant’s demonstrated experience and expertise and specific air quality needs of the host governments.

Application Process

Applicants are asked to submit the Fellows application that includes the following information to be considered:


  • Brief cover letter (should not exceed 2 pages)
  • Completed Fellows Application Form
  • Letters of Recommendation from two (2) references
    • Describing the nature of the relationship
    • Identifying specific air quality experience and expertise
    • Highlighting the applicant's potential for successful collaborations with international host governments
    • These should be the same two references listed in the References' Contact Information section of the application form.
  • Letter of Support from the applicant's current employer (direct supervisor), if currently employed
    • Must include the number of hours the Fellow is able to commit each month.
    • Include acknowledgment of the Fellow's application.
  • Full curriculum vitae (no limit on length)
    • Describing air quality expertise in Priority Technical areas rated as moderate or significant
    • Describing international experience, particularly related to air quality management capacity-building
    • Listing any language capabilities


Incomplete applications will not be considered.


Submit Fellows Applications  


The Fellows applications should be submitted via e-mail:

Attention: Ms. Karen Schaffner, Project Director, RTI International


The project is accepting Air Quality Fellows applications on a continuing basis.  As additional Host Country proposals are received, host countries and AQ Fellows will be matched on a continuum.


All applicants should read and familiarize themselves with the detailed instructions before submitting an application:


Detailed application instructions


Next Steps


  • The candidate Air Quality Fellows will be notified by email that the application was received.
  • RTI will reach out by email to clarify any aspects of the candidate's application, as needed.
  • Following evaluation of the project proposals from host countries and matching with the Air Quality Experts, the candidate Air Quality Fellows will be contacted for a brief interview for final selection. Selected applicants will be notified of acceptance as a Fellows.
  • All Air Quality Fellows applications will continue to be considered for Host Country projects. Applicants who are not matched initially will be reviewed and compared with each subsequent Host Country proposal as it is received.  Applicants are matched based on the specific air quality technical needs in Host Country proposals.

More Information

Should you have any questions or concerns, please send an email to, Attention: Ms. Karen Schaffner, RTI International.

 Karen Schaffner, Project Director