Arthur Molella Distinguished Fellowship on the History of Science and Innovation

The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation is accepting applications for the Arthur Molella Distinguished Fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History (NMAH). We seek to appoint an experienced author or senior scholar (at the associate/full professor level or equivalent) from the history of technology, science and technology studies, business history, museum studies, STEAM education, or an allied field. The specific arrangement is flexible: the Molella Distinguished Fellow may use the funds as a sabbatical supplement; for several short-duration visits; for a single residency focused on research and writing; or for a series of lectures leading to a major publication. We invite the Molella Distinguished Fellow to participate in the intellectual life and programmatic activities of the museum; to take advantage of the expertise of the museum’s research staff; and to consult the Institution’s vast invention and technology collections. The Lemelson Center will assist in arranging a visa for non-US citizens, provide a workspace, and facilitate startup procedures at the Smithsonian.

The Lemelson Center invites applications covering a broad spectrum of research topics in the history of technology, invention, and innovation.  However, the Center especially encourages project proposals whose topics align with one (or more) of the Lemelson Center’s strategic research and programmatic areas, including:

  • the role of place in invention and innovation;
  • the cultivation and training of inventors and innovators;
  • innovation in sports;
  • the role of risk and failure in invention and innovation;
  • the role of venture capitalists and other intermediaries (e.g. patent attorneys, incubators, designers, etc) in the process of innovation; or
  • projects that illuminate inventors from diverse backgrounds or any inventions and technologies associated with groups (e.g. women, minorities, disabled, LGBT, etc.) that are traditionally under-represented in the historical record.

Stipend and Residency

$35,000 (US).  Funds may be used flexibly to support travel for several short-term visits, living expenses for longer residences up to six months, and related research expenses. Dates are flexible.  Fellows may begin their residencies on/after 1 June 2017 through 31 May 2018.

How to Apply

Researchers are encouraged to consult with the fellowship coordinator before submitting a proposal (see contact information below).

We get a lot of inquiries during application season, so thanks for your patience, as it may take a few days to respond.

Applicants must apply through the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment system (SOLAA):

  • From the SOLAA homepage, clink the link that reads: “New to SOLAA? Create Account here.”
  • You will receive an email with your SOLAA user name, an activation link, and complete instructions for creating a password and logging into SOLAA.
  • Once you have successfully logged into SOLAA,  click “Manage Applications” then “Add New Application.”
  • For “Program Type” select “Fellowship/Other Academic Appointment.”
  • For “Office/Museum/Research Center” select “National Museum of American History.”
  • For “Program that you wish to apply for” select “Arthur Molella Distinguished Fellowship.”
  • Click “Add Application” to proceed with entering your information and uploading your documents.

A complete application for the Arthur Molella Distinguished Fellowship consists of:

  • General Information via web form: contact/demographic information, institutional affiliation, academic history, project title, etc.
  • CV/Resume: your current curriculum vitae.
  • Other - Timeline/Schedule: a timeline schedule for the fellowship period, describing how you plan to arrange your residence, e.g. several short visits, one long residency, tentative dates, etc.
  • Project/Research Proposal: a 3-5 page description of your proposed project outlining the subject matter, scope, methodology, sources, intended research product(s), and the contribution that your work will make to the study of invention and innovation.

Note: We do not require the applicant to supply references or to solicit reference letters from their colleagues.  We hope that any applicant for the Molella Distinguished Fellowship will have already established a sterling reputation that speaks for itself!   

Application Deadline

Applications must be submitted to SOLAA by December 1, 2016, 11:59 p.m. EST.

**Note: Get your application uploaded early!  Several fellowship programs across the Smithsonian have applications due on December 1, and becaue of high user volumes, the SOLAA website may exhibit poor performamce on the afternoon/evening of December 1.  Please plan ahead!

All application materials will be made available to the Lemelson Center staff and its selection committee, which may include outside advisors. The Arthur Molella Distinguished Fellowship is open to all qualified individuals without regard to race, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, age, condition of handicap, or national origin.

Application date
1 Dec 2017
Up to 6 months
America United States Mid-Atlantic
Humanities History
Required post-doc experience: 
between 10 and 99 years
Award granted
US$ 35.000