Twenty environmental researchers from across North America have been awarded Leopold Leadership Fellowships for 2013.

Based at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, the Leopold Leadership Program provides outstanding academic environmental researchers with skills and approaches for communicating and working with partners in NGOs, business, government and communities to integrate science into decision-making. The program is funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

This year's fellows come from 17 institutions in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. They will receive intensive leadership and communications training to help them engage effectively with leaders in the public and private sectors who face complex decisions about sustainability and the environment.

"These 20 outstanding researchers bring different perspectives and new knowledge about today's most important question: how to meet basic human needs while preserving Earth's vital systems," said Pam Sturner, executive director of the Leopold Leadership Program. "Our program will help them gain skills, approaches and tools to translate their knowledge to action for the leap to sustainability."

The 2013 fellows are doing innovative research in a wide range of disciplines, including ecology, marine science, economics, behavioral science, entomology, engineering and planning. They join a network of 175 past fellows who are engaged in broad-based efforts to solve society’s most pressing sustainability challenges.

The fellows were chosen for their outstanding qualifications as researchers, demonstrated leadership ability and strong interest in sharing their knowledge beyond traditional academic audiences. Fellows participate in a weeklong training session on leadership and communications, followed by a year of practicing skills that will advance their efforts to lead change. The fellowship also offers peer networking and mentoring through the Leopold Leadership Network of program advisers, trainers and past fellows.

“Academic scientists work hard to understand environmental problems and develop potential solutions, but to actually help solve problems requires two-way communication and partnerships between scientists and decision-makers,” said Scientific Director Pamela Matson, dean of Stanford’s School of Earth Sciences and senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute. “The Leopold Leadership Program trains academics to close the gap between knowledge and action.”

Read more about the fellows and their interests here.

Photo: Leopold Leadership Fellows at a 2012 program reunion.