Population Health

Applied Research Fellowship

Image of students working on a white boardThe Population Health Applied Research Fellowship Program supports multidisciplinary teams of students to work on real-world population health challenges. Projects are sourced from external clients who play an important role in structuring project deliverables. Please visit our research website for an example of a multi-year project estimating population and housing trends in King County.

The Population Health Applied Research Fellowship team will consist of three graduate students and two undergraduates, with supervision by a faculty expert. The project team receives training in research skills and data collection, analysis and presentation to deliver a work product that meets the external client’s needs.

This program is run in partnership with the University of Washington Center for Studies in Demography & Ecology (CSDE).

Summer 2023 project: Assessing migration and displacement

King County has experienced dramatic changes in the size, the geographic distribution and the demographic makeup of its population over the past decade. Economic growth and migration influxes have driven these changes, which have led to corresponding increases in property values and rental rates. For many, this has led to financial precarity as rents and mortgages make up a larger portion of income. For some, this has led to housing insecurity or homelessness. As a result, understanding the relationship between population growth, housing demand and housing supply is crucial as King County works to address its housing crisis.

The Summer 2023 Population Health Applied Research Fellowship team will work closely with the King County Demographer and an epidemiologist at the Assessment, Policy Development, and Evaluation Unit at Public Health-Seattle & King County to explore individual- and aggregate-level data and quantify the timing, volume and location of internal migration within the county. Students will dive into housing, household size, reasons for migration and displacement and quantifying uncertainty via probabilistic models to help for future prediction planning and management at King County. The team will build on the work of previous fellows to explore housing supply changes, changes in population by demographic variables and changes in the distribution of renter-occupied and owner-occupied households of different sizes over this period of unprecedented growth.

Understanding indicator trends across time and space, and how those associated trends vary across age, race, and space, can offer useful insights for policymakers and future resource allocations. Previous summers’ fellowships relied on data from the decennial census, the American Community Survey, and the King County Department of Assessments. This summer’s fellows will expand the tool utilizing two different data sources: Data Axle and Scraped Online Rental Listings. The former contains individual information on residential address over time but does not have full coverage of the population of King County. The latter is a dataset of advertisements for rental units that can offer important information on pricing that is absent from other administrative data. We will integrate this information on migration across race, ethnicity, income and other demographic variables into previous years’ work and attempt to quantify the subsets of the population of King County contained in these non-administrative data. Once combined, this resource will make it much easier to visualize the changes in the geographic distribution of population, household size and household stock alongside projections of future growth. The team will provide recommendations and next steps from findings to inform future programming and policies to address King County housing needs.

Student eligibility

Graduate students at the master’s and doctoral levels and professional students from all UW schools and colleges are eligible to apply. Applicants must be enrolled in a degree-granting program at any UW campus (Seattle, Tacoma and Bothell) and not graduating in June.

All undergraduate students with junior- or senior-level status who are enrolled in a UW degree-granting program at any UW campus and will not be graduating in June are eligible to apply.

Students are currently expected to be available for in-person meetings during the fellowship.


Graduate students will be paid an hourly Graduate Research Student Assistant summer rate for 20 hours/week over a period of 10 weeks. The undergraduate students will be paid an hourly rate of $20 for 19.5 hours/week for 10 weeks.


  • Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, 2023.
  • Applicants will be notified whether they are invited to interview for the fellowship positions by March 31, 2023.
  • Interviews will take place the week of April 3, 2023.
  • Candidates will be notified about fellowship offers by mid-April, 2023.
  • Fellowships are for a 10-week period over the summer, starting June 20, 2023 and ending August 25, 2023.

Application instructions

All applicants must submit the following documents:

  • Recent CV or resume
  • Unofficial transcript
  • One- to two-page cover letter outlining why you are interested in the fellowship program and how your skills will enable you to contribute to the success of the project
  • One statement of support from a faculty member or other mentor who can provide examples of your research abilities, independent and professional approach to learning, and your collaborative and communicative skills.

Please combine the CV/resume, transcript, and cover letter into a single .pdf file and submit this file via email to pophlth@uw.edu. The subject line of the email should be, “Applied Research Fellowship.

Your statement of support must be emailed to pophlth@uw.edu directly by the person you are requesting this statement from. The subject line of the email should be, “Applied Research Fellowship” and reference your name.

Review criteria

Applications will be reviewed by representatives of the Population Health Initiative and the Center for Studies in Demography & Ecology. Candidates will be notified whether they have been selected to interview for the fellowship according to the published timeline.

Interviews with select candidates will be scheduled based on the dates listed in the timeline. Interviews will be for approximately 30 minutes, and the panel will consist of faculty and staff from the Population Health Initiative, the Center for Studies in Demography & Ecology and other departments or external partners as relevant.

Applicants will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated technical skills in research methods, data entry, database management, data collection and/or analysis
  • Some knowledge about, or experience working on, issues of social inequality, race, health or program evaluations
  • Academic performance to date
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Ability to work well within in a team environment


Please contact pophlth@uw.edu with questions regarding this fellowship program.