Newswise — Dr. Joshua Gellers, assistant professor of political science at the University of North Florida, has been awarded a Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholar Award to conduct research on public participation in the environmental decision-making process through an affiliation with the Department of Geography at the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka.

Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholar Awards are open to U.S. scholars who have recently completed their doctoral degree within the last five years. These grants present an opportunity for scholars to deepen their expertise, acquire new skills, work with additional resources and make connections with others in their fields.

“Dr. Gellers is doing path breaking research on public participation in environmental decision making in Asia,” said Dr. Matthew Corrigan, chair of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration. “This award is evidence of the quality and prominence of his research.”

Fulbright grantees will be expected to engage with graduate students in the host country and to continue their specialized training in cutting-edge research. In addition to their primary research or teaching activities, scholars may be asked to give public lectures, mentor students and engage with the host country’s academic community.

Gellers, a Southside resident, will analyze the practices of government officials and attitudes of Sri Lankans regarding their experiences with public participation in decision-making processes for three major foreign-funded development projects.

“My research findings will provide useful insights into how the participation process can be strengthened to enhance transparency and democratic accountability in this country,” said Gellers. He will conduct his research for three months, beginning in May of 2017.

Gellers has been at UNF for nearly two years and is currently a Research Fellow with the Earth System Governance Project and an Honorary Fellow with the South Asia Institute of Advanced Studies in Nepal. Last year, he served as a Visiting Scholar-in-Residence in global environmental constitutionalism at Widener University, Delaware School of Law.

He has published research in numerous journals, including the Journal of Human Rights and the Environment, Transnational Environmental Law, International Environmental Agreements and Journal of Environmental Law and Litigation. He is also the book review editor for the Journal of Human Rights and the Environment and is a member of the UNF Sustainability Committee.

Gellers earned his doctorate in political science from the University of California, Irvine, and a master’s degree in climate and society from Columbia University. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Florida.The Fulbright Program is a program of competitive, merit-based grants for international educational exchange for students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists and artists, founded by United States Sen. J. William Fulbright in 1946. The Fulbright Program is administered by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and funded primarily by Congress.

UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.