The Rapid Response Group (RRG) connects MIT students and researchers with projects addressing diverse topics in climate change, sustainability, and the environment. Projects have a quick turnaround, relatively short duration, and high impact. Members of the RRG are undergraduate and graduate students studying a variety of fields and majors at MIT and other universities. The RRG is guided and managed through the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative by Director Prof. John E. Fernández. 

For undergraduates, applications for the RRG Summer 2024 UROP paid part-time and full-time positions are listed in the MIT UROP portal. Visa sponsorship is not provided, and opportunities are only available to MIT and Wellesley students. Graduate students should apply to positions directly with the relevant project lead. Inquiries by undergraduates and graduate students about specific projects should be directed to the project leads listed below. 

Please carefully read the following for next steps. A summation is as follows:

  1. Read the project descriptions below.
  2. Contact the project lead for that project or those projects you are interested in.
  3. Apply for the UROP position with the RRG Summer 2024.

Available Opportunities

1. Natural Climate Solutions

      • Project description: Literature review on biodiversity credits, develop a rigorous overview of the literature regarding biodiversity credits as an instrument for the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable development of local communities who participate in these projects. This includes identifying the main arguments in favor and against biodiversity credits, collecting prominent case studies, reviewing the methods used by different standards, and contextualizing the global market in terms of its geographical distribution, among other relevant aspects.
      • Project description: Cities Summit at the Biodiversity Conference COP16, support the ESI team and the city of Cali in the organization of a Cities Summit for mayors within the framework of the sixteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP16) to be held in Colombia between October 21 and November 1, 2024. Depending on academic commitments, students might be able to travel to Colombia to attend the summit.
      • Project lead: Marcela Angel,

2. The Circular Economy

      • Project description: Circular Economy White Paper – Current and Future State of the Global Circular Economy, the circular economy is of increasing interest because of the greater understanding of its essential contribution to a sustainable and low carbon future. While the elements of circularity are well established there is a need for outlining pathways toward establishing, expanding, and maintaining circular material and energy flows such that actual reductions in the need for virgin materials and elimination of pressures on ecosystems from extractive industries are realized. The project will lay the ground work to produce a high quality assessment of the circular economy across the globe.
      • Project lead: John E. Fernández,

3. Mine Tailings Conference

      • Project description: MIT Global Summit on Mine Tailings Innovation, the Environmental Solutions Initiative is holding a first of its kind conference in collaboration with ICMM (International Council on Mining and Metals) to convene researchers, industry experts, innovators and start-ups, manufacturers, and government and regulatory officials around a single goal: accelerating the development of solutions to Re-use, Re-duce and Re- imagine mine tailings. With a focus on research that can be rapidly translated to practical applications and technology solutions across any stage of the mining lifecycle, the conference will provide a forum for top global experts to exchange ideas, advance thinking and make progress on significantly reducing tailings that will ultimately benefit people and the planet.
      • Project lead: Rob Fetell,

4. Climate Justice Education and Research

      • Project description: UROP students working within the ESI’s Education Program can focus on two climate justice education research projects which include 1) Evaluating the effectiveness and uptake of the Climate Justice Instructional Toolkit and 2) Climate and Environmental Justice (CEJ) Inclusion: Exploring CEJ Teaching Practices Across Departments, Labs, or Centers (DLC) at MIT (more information here)
      • Project lead: Chris Rabe,

5. Literature Reviews on Climate Communications

      • Project description: Are you passionate about best practices in communicating climate change? Work this summer to conduct two literature reviews: one on the methodologies used for assessing the impact of climate communications, and the second reviewing the landscape of research on local climate journalism. You’ll work with Laur Hesse Fisher, who leads MIT Climate and the MIT Environmental Solutions Journalism Fellowship, and Erez Yoeli, who leads the MIT Applied Cooperation Initiative at Sloan.
      • Project lead: Laur Hesse Fisher,

Next steps

If any of these opportunities are of interest to you:

  1. Contact the project lead right away. You will work directly with that person on all logistics and content regarding the work (remote or in person, number of hours, content of the work, etc.).
  2. The project lead will also help you in putting together answers to the questions asked of you in the UROP application. So, please contact that person once you have decided on the project you are interested in.
  3. Once you and the project lead have agreed on the position and you have submitted an application through the MIT UROP system, your UROP application will be approved.

You may arrange to work on more than one project, but that will have to be worked out between you and the project leads. In any case, it will not matter how many projects you are working on, you only need to submit one UROP application with the RRG.