Lemelson Center Fellowship Program
The Lemelson Center Fellowship Program supports projects that present creative approaches to the study of invention and innovation in American society. These include, but are not limited to, historical research and documentation projects resulting in dissertations, publications, exhibitions, educational initiatives, documentary films, or other multimedia products.
The program provides access to the expertise of the Smithsonian's research staff and the vast invention and technology collections of the National Museum of American History (NMAH). The NMAH Archives Center documents both individuals and firms across a range of time periods and subject areas. Representative collections include the Western Union Telegraph Company Records, ca. 1840–1994 and the Earl S. Tupper Papers, documenting Tupper, and his invention, Tupperware. In addition, the NMAH Library offers long runs of historical technology serials like Scientific American and American Machinist, and the American Trade Literature collection, which includes 300,000 catalogs, technical manuals, and advertising brochures for some 30,000 firms, primarily from 1880–1945. For a comprehensive catalog of objects, manuscripts, images, and research materials available at the NMAH (and other Smithsonian units), see the Smithsonian Collections Search Center.
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:
- (1) the role of place in invention and innovation;
- (2) the cultivation and training of inventors and innovators;
- (3) innovation in sports;
- (4) the role of risk and failure in invention and innovation;
- (5) the role of venture capitalists and other intermediaries (e.g. patent attorneys, incubators, designers, etc) in the process of innovation; or
- (6) 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.
The Center annually awards two to three fellowships to pre-doctoral graduate students, post-doctoral scholars, and other professionals who have completed advanced training. Fellows are expected to reside in the Washington, DC area, to participate in the Center's activities, and to make a presentation of their work to colleagues at the Museum.
Fellowship tenure is based upon the applicants’ stated needs (and available funding) up to a maximum of 10 weeks. All stipends are subject to tax and non-US applicants should inquire about visa status and tax implications. Stipends for 2017–2018:
- Pre-doctoral: $630/week
- Post-doctoral/Professional: $925/week