Harvard University Graduate School of Design | Department of Landscape Architecture

The Penny White Fund awards up to $50,000 annually in project prize funds to students in landscape architecture and allied design disciplines, across the graduate, postgraduate and doctoral levels at the Graduate School of Design.



Pablo Pérez-Ramos DDes, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture (Committee Chair)

Danielle Choi ASLA, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture

Jill Desimini, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture

Niall Kirkwood FASLA, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Technology & Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

David Moreno Mateos, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture

Paola Sturla, Lecturer in Landscape Architecture


Colin Chadderton

Edyth Jostol

Zoë Holland

Cecilia Huber

Mckenna Mitchell

Kari Roynesdal

Connie Trinh


Anita Berrizbeitia FASLA FAAR, Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture & Professor of Landscape Architecture

Gareth Doherty DDes ASLA, Director of Master of Landscape Architecture Program & Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture

Ann Whiteside, Librarian & Assistant Dean for Information Services


Please contact the Department of Landscape Architecture,, if you have any questions.



All students enrolled in the Harvard Graduate School of Design are eligible for support for project proposals that address the objectives of the Penny White Fund. Although all GSD students are eligible, according to the Fund terms, “it is expected that preference will be given to students in the Department of Landscape Architecture.” The Committee looks favorably upon collaboration between students in Landscape Architecture or in affiliated programs such as the Urbanism, Landscape, Ecology Concentration (MDes Program) with other design disciplines. Students not enrolled in the Master in Landscape Architecture, Master in Architecture, Master in Urban Design, Master in Urban Planning, or Master in Design programs must clearly indicate the relationship of the proposed project to their major research enterprise, including thesis or dissertation studies. Furthermore, these students must indicate other sources and amounts of funding related to such efforts, if they exist.

Students can apply to both Calls for Proposals if desired; however, the Committee recommends that such applicants note their preference when applying and ultimately move forward with one option over the other. 

Please note that due to student travel policies we cannot fund students who plan to travel to “High Risk” countries and regions. Please review the risk ratings on the Harvard Global Support Services page here:


Students may work individually or in teams, and in conjunction with or independently from their course work.


Proposals are evaluated on several criteria including: quality and clarity of the project, originality of the research, feasibility of the budget and schedule, relevance to the Fund’s objectives, nature of the outcome, and contribution to the field of landscape architecture. Applicants should carefully review proposals from the past 2 to 3 years to avoid duplication of projects previously supported by the Fund. The Jury will pay special attention to the focus and quality of the proposals, the relationship between proposed travel and project objectives, current course of graduate study, and their relevance to the field of landscape architecture. The Fund will welcome projects that focus and advance the political agency of landscape—namely through plants, waters, climates—as activist, collaborative, and participatory medium.

Late or incomplete proposals will not be considered. The Jury Committee will meet following the submission of proposals, and final awards will be announced by March 2020. The project must be completed and a Final Report must be submitted to the Department of Landscape Architecture by September 14th, 2020.

It is strongly recommended that, in the preparation of their proposals, applicants check the guide “Scholarly Pursuits: A Guide to Professional Development during the Graduate Years,” by Cynthia Verba, Director of Fellowships at the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and which can be downloaded at the GSAS website. Chapter 5 of the guide, “Grantsmanship in Support of Study or Research: Writing a Fellowship Proposal or Statement of Purpose,” offers valuable recommendations on how to construct and polish arguments in the development of an application to a grant, on how to write an abstract, and on the general organization of your ideas. The guide can be found at


Only one grant may be awarded per student, either individually or in group. Collaboration with students that have already received an award from the Penny White Fund is not allowed. No additional funding will be provided after the Award date, should the project budget change for any reason whatsoever.


The 2020 Call for Proposals will accept proposals from GSD students in their final year, with conditions. Final year applicants will be required to explain in their proposals the very specific dates in which they plan to travel (it is strongly recommended that the trip takes place before the end of the 2019-2020 academic year), how they plan to complete the research beyond graduation, and how they plan to report and submit their work by the September 14th, 2020 deadline, if no longer in the Boston area.


Student applicants will be requested to submit the names of two project advisors – including an Internal Faculty Advisor from the GSD and an External Project Advisor – who are aware of the project and support its potential outcomes. Please note – the Internal Faculty Advisor should not be someone on the Faculty Jury Committee who reviews the proposals.


Competition for the Penny White Fund takes place in a one-stage process of selection.


Application deadline: January 5th, 2020, at 11:59PM EST

Applicants must submit a digital copy (pdf format) of their Proposal to:

File name must be in this format: Last Name_First Name PW2020

Executive Coordinator for the Department of Landscape Architecture,

Late or incomplete proposals will not be accepted.


The recipients of the 2020 Penny White Project Fund will be announced by March 2020.


Awardees are required to prepare and submit a final report of their research, as an outcome of their Award. 25% of awarded funds will be held back and released upon submission of Final Report. Winners will receive further guidelines as to final report formats from the Department of Landscape Architecture and the Loeb Design Library. If you are interested in viewing the Final Reports of previous Penny White recipients, most of them are available in the Special Collections of the Loeb Library.

Final Report submission deadline: September 14th, 2020

The awardees must submit a hard copy and a digital copy of their Final Report to:

Executive Coordinator for the Department of Landscape Architecture,

Department of Landscape Architecture

48 Quincy Street, Room 312

Cambridge, MA 02138

The Final Report should consist of the following contents compiled: 

Revised Project Summary: summary of the main objectives and scope of the investigation, the method and approach that has been followed, the learnings and outcomes (between 200 and 300 words). 

Revised Project Description: a more elaborated, clear and comprehensive description of the project, also looking at the main objectives and scope, method and approach, learnings and outcomes of the investigation (two to three pages). 

Revised Schedule and Itinerary: it should include maps of the itinerary followed, and the research conducted and tasks accomplished in each phase of the schedule and location in the itinerary. 

Project Images: between 10 and 30 annotated photographs, maps, diagrams. 

Project Photography: between 30 and 70 site photographs.

Learning Outcomes: What has been learned? What was initially expected and what was actually found? How did the project evolve during the preparation of the field work, during the trip, and afterwards? How has this opportunity impacted your understanding of design as a form of research? (two to three pages).

Conclusions: explain your conclusions, both partial and general, and whether, why, and how this project will be continued (two to three pages).


The maximum proposal length is 16 pages, 8.5”x11”, in portrait format. Applicants are strongly recommended to not exceed this length.


One page containing project title, your name, program affiliation, expected graduation year, address (mail, email), date, total budget request.


One-page brief description (between 100 and 200 words) of the main objective and scope of the project, including proposed method, and expected outcome. The abstract should clearly identify if the project is a case study, site investigation, a prototypical experiment, or any other form of research.


3A. Project Description (half page): a clear and comprehensive description of the project, its objectives, main tasks and outcomes. The description includes conditions addressed, questions asked, or hypotheses tested. The description must also describe if a similar project of this type has been done before, how it is different, what is aims to accomplish, and what is the substantive contribution to the field of landscape.

3B. Project Background (half page): a succinct outline of the project’s specific spatial, ecological and geographic context. The project background should also outline the historic, theoretical, scientific, representational or practical discourse of the project, in relation to research and design in landscape architecture. Background information should be supported by relevant sources which might include reference literature, case studies, precedents, past projects. Clear and concise graphic illustration of the project background is encouraged.


One-page explanation that describes the method that will be used to accomplish the main project tasks. In this section, precedents, historic case studies, earlier work with methods similar to those suggested in the proposal may be cited, and will be used to clearly frame the discourse and the type of project in question. The project might be also identified in this section with specific modes of landscape architecture practice. The methods section should also describe why travel is essential for the coherent development of the research project.

A helpful book regarding research methods: Landscape Architectural Research: Inquiry, Strategy, Design by M. Elen Deming and Simon Swaffield.

There might be human subjects involved in the content of the research. In such cases, research needs to be guided by the ethical principles set forth in the Belmont Report, which seeks the Protection of Human Subjects of Research. For research projects that deal with human subjects, it is strongly recommended that awarded students send their proposal to the Harvard’s Committee on the Use of Human Subjects for revision. More information about this can be found at


Additional graphic material in the form of maps and diagrams that supports the project proposal, illustrating the area of research, the content of the research, visual methodologies and examples of the outcomes (up to a maximum of 5 pages). All project imaging should be high resolution, with captions and sources.


One-page detailed description of the project timetable, start and end dates, timeline for main tasks, and sequence of deliverables. Please note that reasonable time must be dedicated to advance the definition of the project itself, to the preparation of the logistics of the trip, and to the completion of the deliverables. Please consider including a map of the area in which the project is to be developed, particularly if there are specific itineraries within the area that would help the committee understand the nature of your trip.


One-page detailed itemization of all anticipated expenses including “Travel” (air and ground travel), “Accommodations” (hotel), “Equipment and Resources” (supplies, fuel, power, documentation, reproduction, copy) and “Incidentals” (security, visa, guide, translation). Although expenses for food and normal per diem costs are not covered by the Fund, project budgeting must demonstrate a clear understanding of project expenses and regional incidentals. The budget should not underestimate costs that might adversely affect the outcomes of the project. Any additional funding sources from other grant agencies must be disclosed.


One-page description of tangible benefits, findings and contributions of the project to the discipline of landscape architecture and fields of design. The anticipated product must be feasible and impact feasible, providing new insights and new impacts on design, submissions to journal publications, contributions to collections, concurrent conferences, community engagements. Provide an itemized list of actual outcomes (a conference, a paper, a map, a presentation, an interview, an installation) with relevant dates, as applicable. Outcomes and deliverables must be tangible, substantive and feasible.


Applicant(s) must submit a max. 2-page CV outlining their education, experience and other relevant background to demonstrate capability and responsibility. For proposals developed by teams, each student might include an individual 2-page CV.


One-page list of references, books, websites from preliminary research that demonstrates knowledge of the project discourse, area, and scope.


One page with information of two advisors as Project Endorsers, including an Internal Faculty Advisor from the GSD, and an External Project Advisor related to the project tasks. List names, positions, and contact information, including email address and mailing address. Advisors may be contacted during the Selection Process. Please note – the Internal Faculty Advisor should not be someone on the Faculty Jury Committee who reviews the proposals.


Sample proposals from previous winners are available for review at the Department of Landscape Architecture in Gund Hall, Room 312. The Committee encourages applicants to consult winning proposals of past calls for applications.


Application Deadline: January 5th, 2020 at 11:59pm EST