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/emeritus professor level or equivalent) from the history of technology, science and technology studies, business history, museum studies, STEAM education, or an allied field (Smithsonian staff are not eligible). 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 all applications covering the broad spectrum of research topics in the history of technology, invention, and innovation. However, the Center especially encourages proposals that align with one (or more) of its strategic research and programmatic areas, including 1) projects that illuminate inventors from diverse backgrounds or any inventions and technologies associated with under-represented groups, such as women, minorities, LGBTQ, and the disabled; (2) projects exploring innovation in sports and sports technology; or (3) projects that explore the broader ecosystem of individuals and institutions that support inventors, including inventors' professional organizations; angel investors, venture capitalists, and financiers; incubators and entrepreneurial coaches; patent agents and IP attorneys; product designers, manufacturers, and marketers; and bankruptcy-liquidation specialists. 

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 2019 through 31 May 2020.

How to Apply

Researchers may wish to consult with the fellowship coordinator before submitting a proposal (see contact information below).  We receive many inquiries during application season, so thanks for your patience, as it may take a few days to respond.

Applications must be completed in English.

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

  • From the SOLAA homepage, click the link that reads: “Don't have an Account? Create an Account.”
  • Once you have created a SOLAA account and successfully logged in, click “Start Your Application.”
  • For “Program Type” select “Fellowship/Other Academic Appointment.”
  • For “Office/Museum/Research Center” select “National Museum of American History.”
  • For "Program Status" select "All." Click Search.
  • You will see a result set of various fellowship programs. Find the “Arthur Molella Distinguished Fellowship” and click "Apply Now."  On the following confirmation screen, click "Continue Application."
  • Proceed with entering your information and uploading your documents.  For "Year of Program Competition," please select "2019."

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

  • General Information: via web form, please provide contact and demographic information, institutional affiliation, academic history, project title, etc.
  • CV/Resume: please provide a current CV (no page limit).
  • Other - Timeline/Schedule: please provide 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. (1 page maximum).
  • Project/Research Proposal: Please describe your proposed project outlining the subject matter; scope; research methodology; sources, including the Smithsonian resources (objects, archival collections, trade literature, staff members) to be consulted during the fellowship; intended research product(s); and the contribution that your work will make to the study of invention and innovation (6 pages, double-spaced maximum).

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 Arthur Molella Distinguished Fellowship will have already established a sterling reputation that speaks for itself!   

Traditionally, the most successful applications have: 1) explicitly explored themes of invention, innovation, and technology, including the specific sub-themes listed above; and 2) drawn explicitly upon the collections at the NMAH and across the SI.

Application Deadline

Applications must be submitted to SOLAA by 1 November 2018 (11:59 p.m. EST).

**Note: Get your application uploaded early!  Several fellowship programs across the Smithsonian have applications due on November 1, and becaue of high user volumes, the SOLAA website may exhibit poor performance on the afternoon/evening of November 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, disability, or national origin.

For more information, contact the Fellowship Coordinator:

Eric S. Hintz, PhD
Lemelson Center Fellowship Coordinator
National Museum of American History, MRC 604
Smithsonian Institution
P.O. Box 37012
Washington, DC 20013-7012
Phone: +1 202-633-3734
Fax: +1 202-633-4593

Application date
1 Nov 2018
America United States Mid-Atlantic
Humanities History
Required post-doc experience: 
between 10 and 99 years
Award granted
US$ 35.000