Ph.D. candidate Dustin Welch has won an Inter-American Foundation Grassroots Development Field Research Fellowship that will allow him to spend 10 months in Peru in 2016-2017 researching NGO-led energy projects.
Welch, who grew up in Seattle, will split his time between Lima (the capital) and Cajamarca (in the Andean highlands). He is fluent in Spanish.
“My research asks when and why NGO-led energy projects catalyze innovation in large-scale, public-private partnerships in solar electrification programs in rural Peru,” Welch said.
His focus is on the intersection of policy, energy provision, and rural community engagement, and to fill in gaps in scholarly knowledge by offering a state-society understanding of how energy policy is constructed, negotiated and deployed in Peru, to generate insights into NGO politics in other developing states.
“The dedicated mentorship of my dissertation committee, made up of co-chairs Professors Sunila Kale and María Elena García, and Professor José Antonio Lucero, has been absolutely crucial in helping me develop my dissertation research project and also meeting the demands of the funding application process,” said Welch. “Their intellectual and practical guidance – from the outset of the program even up till now – have been invaluable.”
Welch hopes his research in Peru during the next year will contribute to the global discussion about integrating clean energy into new models of infrastructure provision, to simultaneously serve basic human needs while preparing for a less carbon-dependent future.
The Grassroots Development Field Research Fellowship is funded by the Inter-American Foundation, an independent U.S. government agency that gives grant support that helps channel development assistance directly to the organized poor in Latin America and the Caribbean.
As part of the fellowship, Welch will share his findings and discuss progress at the annual Grassroots Development Conference, alongside other Fellows, and engage with the Foundation in Washington, D.C. to create synergies between his research and the work of the organization.
The Jackson School’s Ph.D. in International Studies is proud to be one of the first schools in the nation to offer a paradigm-shifting Ph.D. program combining a new cross-disciplinary approach with intensive area studies. The goal of the program is to advance problem focused graduate education in international studies in the face of contemporary global and local challenges.