NEST is committed to support and celebrate work that lives at the meaningful intersection of the sciences and the arts.

NEST Graduate Summer Fellowships

2022 Fellowships — Call is now open

Project Guidelines

Nature, Environment, Science & Technology (NEST) Studio for the Arts is a network of faculty, students, centers, and campus units that combine artistic practice and scientific research to explore our common and disparate ways of observing, recording, experimenting, and knowing. A series of cross-campus initiatives allow students to directly engage with faculty mentors and inspire alternate modes of communicating with the larger public. Co-Investigators Erin Espelie (Associate Professor, Department of Cinema Studies and Department of Critical Media Practices), Tara Knight (Associate Professor, Department of Critical Media Practices), and Jorge Perez-Gallego (Scholar in Residence, Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences) welcome proposals for the 2022 Graduate Student Summer Fellowships.  

Activated Carbon
“Activated Carbon” by Camila Friedman-Gerlicz & Aaron Lamplugh, 2018 Graduate Student Summer Fellows 

General Requirements

CU Boulder is home to some of the top arts and earth and space science graduate programs in the country; and the NEST Graduate Student Summer Fellowships are intended to explore the interrelation, generative overlaps, and productive differences between these respective arts-based and science-based disciplines. NEST seeks projects that engage with central questions, such as, how can methodologies within the sciences inform artists and their approach to art making? In turn, what can contemporary art practice reveal about science to scientists? How can we use the practice of art to directly inform the practice of science, and vice versa? What assumptions in scientific training might be challenged by approaches employed by the arts and humanities?

The central requirements for this NEST Fellowship are (1) creating cross-disciplinary pairs—or small teams—of graduate collaborators to (2) delve into educational traditions, exploring ontology, epistemology, and emerging expertise that (3) result in a broadly-defined media project for public exhibition on campus. Example projects may include: public installations, performances, time-based or moving-image based works, sonic or audio compositions, or any other arts forms that would be within practice-based research.

Each graduate team will be supported up to $10,000 total—for which up to $2,500 per CU Boulder graduate student can be used as a stipend and/or bursar payment. Other budgetary requests may include travel, materials, equipment, and other applicable research costs for your project. This fellowship is generally intended for pairs of CU Boulder graduate students creating original research and/or creative work projects in collaboration—with one fellow in the arts and humanities, and one in the sciences; both broadly defined. However, if you are interested in having additional collaborators we ask you to contact NEST before applying. We expect grantees will submit an exhibition-ready or publication-ready project on or by the end of Fall 2022—some flexibility is possible.

There will be a workshop to guide project development and find prospective partners in person and on Zoom. Please note these will not be hybrid sessions—there will be NEST representatives independently facilitating these workshops in person and on Zoom.

Additionally, this year, we are happy to offer a limited amount of $1,000 Summer Mini Grants to both undergraduate and graduate students working individually on projects smaller in scope, yet with a similar timeline.

Proposal Requirements

Proposals should be a maximum of two pages and include: names and departments of collaborators, a project overview, a summary of research questions and intended project outcomes, and an implementation plan. An initial budget is also requested, and may be submitted as an extra page. Proposals will be evaluated based on the overall vision of the project, the depth of disciplinary methods engaged, and the feasibility for this project to be completed by or in Fall 2022. Be sure to also address how you envision a public-facing component for the final work—e.g., workshop, performance, exhibition, special event, panel, screening, poster presentation, etc. Finally, make sure you take into account current campus, county, state, and federal safety guidelines.


Students must be currently enrolled as full or part-time graduate students at CU Boulder. Doctoral students and Master’s students are all encouraged to apply. Questions should be directed to nest@colorado.edu.


Deadline for proposals is February 11, 2022 at 11:59p. Send proposals to nest@colorado.edu with the subject line: NEST Graduate Student Summer Fellowship Application or NEST Graduate Student Summer Mini Grant Application.