The World Forest Institute International Fellowship
“Empowering Natural Resource Professionals with Knowledge and Networks”
About the Program
The World Forest Institute (WFI) International Fellowship Program hosts natural resource professionals from around the world at the World Forest Institute’s campus in Portland, Oregon, for 6 months. Applicants propose a research topic to focus on during their Fellowship, and WFI uses its extensive network of public and private forestry and natural resource professionals to assist Fellows in gaining the knowledge and exposure they seek. (Look at current fellows projects to get an idea on the approach to research and the variety of research topics per year!!)
Oregon is an ideal learning ground for the program because of its rich natural resources, innovative history in forest management, an important timber sector, and academic centers of excellence in both forestry and urban forestry, as well as green building and sustainability. Fellows leave the program with a solid understanding of how the US forestry sector operates and who the key players are. Additionally, Fellows gain invaluable cultural experience and improve their English language skills. Over 135 Fellows from more than 43 countries have participated in the program over the past two decades (our Alumni).
As you explore our webpages and learn more about the WFI program, one basic program component to keep in mind is that this is NOT a post-doc or other university-related type program. The research you’ll do here is more about networking, making connections with other professionals, and gaining an extension on knowledge you already have and work you have already done. This is a true professional development opportunity. Download our Program Basics document for more details.
The Fellowship is a Blend of Research, Networking, and Cultural Exchange
There are three main components to the program:
1. Conducting a Project
50% of your time is spent on your own research project.
Fellows propose a research topic in natural resources that will:
- take advantage of people and organizations knowledgeable in the proposed topic located in the Pacific Northwest, and
- benefit their careers when going back to their countries of origin to apply the learned knowledge.
We favor proposals that are in policy, industry, or market-oriented.
Look at the final presentations from all of our alumni.
2. Networking with public and private forestry organizations in the US, especially in the Pacific Northwest
30% of your time will be spent on group and individual study tours and meetings.
Networking is largely accomplished by site visits to forestry agencies, research labs, universities, public and private timberlands, trade associations, mills, and corporations. The program manager will organize approximately one group study tour per week for all Fellows to participate in. These trips are a required part of the program and can be very diverse in scope. Fellows will need to be able to arrange their own individual meetings and site visits to fulfill their specific research project needs.
Some examples of places we have visited are listed below. These change every year depending on the Fellows in the program and is not a complete list.
- Government organizations
- Non-profit organizations and local groups
- Forestland Owners and Managers
- Manufacturing and processing facilities for lumber, pulp, paper, engineered wood products, and secondary wood products
- Discussions with key persons involved in forest certification, forest products marketing, consulting, international trade, public planning, and legislation
During the summer month of June and July there are week-long excursions. In June, Fellows spend a week out in rural Eastern Oregon on a working forest ranch. In July, Fellows go to the Redwood Forest National Park for a week. There is typically several other multi-day site visits throughout the region in the summer.
Read our blog about experiences WFI Fellows have visited during their programs.
3. Educational Outreach
20% of your time is spent on research presentations, in-house events, and public outreach (synthesis and result interpretation).
Outreach could include formal presentations to forestry professionals, general public or to schools, writing articles for newspapers, fielding public inquiries, or attendance and participation at conferences and events.