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Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs

Student Research Opportunity at COP29 in Baku, Azerbaijan


Are you a Northwestern student interested in climate change or global environmental governance? Would you like to attend the 29th Conference of the Parties (COP29) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change?

Apply for the opportunity to attend COP29 virtually or in person as a Northwestern University delegate. Northwestern delegates to COP29, which will be held from November 11–24, 2024 in Baku, Azerbaijan, are expected to conduct original research and participate in a research seminar in Fall 2024. The research seminar (POLI_SCI 390: Research in Global Climate Change: Science, Rights and Politics at Climate COPs) aims to support students in developing a baseline understanding of global climate governance, conducting literature reviews, and designing and implementing research. Students can conduct research related to their dissertations or senior theses, or they can participate as a researcher in a collaborative research project that examines the politics of global environmental governance sites. If you have questions about the course, please contact Professor Kimberly Marion Suiseeya.

Students who have attend the COP say the experience is transformative. Read more about the COP28 delegation and takeaways from the delegates.

Application deadline: April 21, 2024

Join us on April 16, 2024 at 1:00 p.m. for an information session with the instructor, Professor Kimberly Marion Suiseeya, to learn more. RSVP >>
This application-based course is open to undergraduates who will be juniors or seniors in Fall 2024 and graduate students interested in conducting research on climate change conferences from different disciplinary backgrounds. Eligible students will not have graduated before Fall Quarter 2024.

Undergraduate students will typically take part in the digital side of the COP as virtual delegates and will not travel. This is because the COP takes place during the fall quarter. In exceptional cases, for example, if the student is conducting research related to their senior thesis, they may be considered for travel to COP29. In this case, students will be responsible for requesting permission from their professor(s) to be absent from courses that may overlap with these travel dates. This approval will be at the discretion of your professor(s). The Buffett Institute can provide documentation of the trip.

Graduate students will have the option to travel to COP29, though participation in the course is possible without travel.

Typically, students travel for one week of the COP. The number of observer badges available for Northwestern delegates to the COP is uncertain until these are allocated by the UNFCCC in the fall. Therefore, admission to the course is not a guarantee for an observer badge for the UNFCCC meetings for a specific number of days, though we aim to share badges amongst the delegation and encourage fieldwork in the public areas of the COP as well. 

In addition to capacity limits, access to the venue can be impacted by international or local politics, and health and security factors. Thus, while we will make every effort to enable students to attend COP29, we are unable to guarantee access.

The following expenses will be covered for students who elect to travel to the COP:

  • Airfare
  • Shared lodging
  • GeoBlue's international medical insurance and assistance program

Students are responsible for all other expenses, such as meals, incidentals, entertainment, travel upgrades and extensions, in-country transportation and visa costs.

Spending habits can vary greatly by individual. We encourage applicants to research these costs in advance, though we generally expect expenses to be less than $600 for a one-week trip. Previous graduate students have secured supplemental funding from their department, school or an external organization to meet this cost. 

Deadline: April 21, 2024 

Students must submit this application to be considered for enrollment in this course. The application review process may include an interview with the instructor. We aim to notify applicants in early May, before the Fall Quarter 2024 pre-registration period. 


The applications will be assessed using the following criteria, with additional consideration of the cohort dynamics:

  • The extent to which this experience deepens or advances the student’s research and learning objectives
  • Previous experience working in collaborative teams within or outside of a research setting
  • Demonstrated interest in climate change, environmental issues or policy