Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program

The Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program (SIFP) is the Smithsonian Institution’s centrally-funded flagship in-residence fellowship program. SI Fellowships are awarded annually to graduate students, predoctoral students, postdoctoral, and senior investigators to conduct independent study or research at one or more of the Smithsonian’s 19 units and research centers. These fellowships are offered through the Smithsonian’s Office of Fellowships and Internships, and are administered under the charter of the Institution, 20 U.S. Code section 41 et seq.

The Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program offers in-residence opportunities for independent research or study related to Smithsonian collections, facilities, and/or research interests of the Institution and its staff.

Program Description

The Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program is administered through the Smithsonian Office of Fellowships and Internships (OFI) is open to US citizens and non-US citizens.

Applicants to the Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program must propose to conduct independent research in a discipline pursued at the Smithsonian and must submit a specific and detailed research proposal indicating why the Smithsonian is an appropriate place to carry out the study. Projects that broaden and diversify the research conducted within these disciplines are encouraged. Fellowships are offered to support research at Smithsonian facilities or field stations. Fellows are expected to spend most of their tenure in residence at the Smithsonian, except when arrangements are made for periods of field work or research travel.

No employee or contractor of the Smithsonian Institution may hold a Smithsonian fellowship during the time of his/her employment or contract, nor may an award be offered to any person who has been employed by or under contract to the Institution in the previous year, without the prior approval of the Office of Fellowships.

Applicants whose native language is not English are expected to have the ability to write and converse fluently in English. All application materials must be presented in English (foreign transcripts may be translated, see below).

For all fellowships, appropriate members of the Smithsonian professional staff must be willing and able to serve in the capacity of principal advisor or host, and space and facilities must be available to accommodate the proposed research.

Applicants are evaluated on the scholarly merit of their proposals; their ability to carry out the proposed research and study; the likelihood that the research can be completed during the requested appointment period; extent to which the Smithsonian, through its research staff members or resources, can contribute to the proposed research project; and the inclusion of diverse perspectives.

Qualifications for Application

Applicants must propose to conduct research at the Smithsonian in one of its areas of research as outlined in the Smithsonian Opportunities for Research and Study (SORS), for a period of three to twelve months, or ten weeks for the Graduate Student Fellowship. Past or current SIFP fellowship recipients are eligible to apply for another SIFP award.

No employee or contractor of the Smithsonian Institution may hold a Smithsonian fellowship during the time of his/her employment or contract, nor may an award be offered to any person who has been employed by or under contract to the Institution in the previous year, without the prior approval of the Office of Fellowships.

Applicants whose native language is not English are expected to have the ability to write and converse fluently in English. All application materials must be presented in English (foreign transcripts may be translated, see below).

Determination of the fellowship category for which to apply should be based on the anticipated academic level at the time the fellowship would begin:

Graduate Student Fellowships

Graduate Student Fellowships: When they apply students must be formally enrolled in a graduate program of study at a degree granting institution. Before the appointment begins fellows must still be enrolled and must have completed at least one full time semester or its equivalent. Graduate Student Fellowships are usually intended for students who have not yet been advanced to candidacy if in a doctoral program. Graduate student fellowships are offered for 10 weeks and are not available for periods of less or more than 10 weeks.

Predoctoral Student Fellowships*

Predoctoral Student Fellowships are typically 3 to 12 months in length (please see below for exceptions). Students must be enrolled at a university as a candidate for the Ph.D. or equivalent. By the time the appointment begins the university must approve the undertaking of dissertation research at the Smithsonian Institution and certify that requirements for the doctorate, other than the dissertation, have been met.

Postdoctoral Researcher Fellowships**

Postdoctoral Student Fellowships are typically 3 to 12 months in length (please see below for exceptions). The doctorate degree must be completed by the time the fellowship begins.

Senior Researcher Fellowships**

Senior Fellowships are typically (pls see below for exceptions) 3 to 12 months in length. Applicants must have held a Ph.D. or equivalent for at least 7 years.

*Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Fellows with advisors at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) are eligible for extended tenures beyond the one year SIFP through the Peter Buck Fellowship Program. Buck fellowships supplement one-year Smithsonian Institution Fellowship (SIFP) awards by one or two years. Buck awards may also include a research allowance for additional year’s study.

*Postdoctoral Fellows with advisors at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) are eligible for extended tenures beyond the one year SIFP through STRI’s Earl S. Tupper Fellowship. Tupper fellowships supplement Smithsonian Institution Fellowship (SIFP) awards by one or two years.

Please note, Tupper postdoctoral applicants can also submit a one-year SIFP fellowship.  However, this needs to be a separate application submitted through SOLAA with a separate description and research schedule.

All applicants for SI Fellowships, regardless of academic area, are eligible and automatically considered for the Secretary’s Distinguished Research Fellowship, which provides the awardee with a second year of support.

Criteria for Selection

Applications are evaluated and fellows are selected, by scholars in appropriate fields, on the basis of the proposal’s merit, the applicant’s ability to carry out the proposed research and study, the likelihood that the research could be completed in the requested time, and the extent to which the Smithsonian, through its research staff members and resources, could contribute to the proposed research. The number of appointments made each year is determined by the availability of funds for the program.

The Smithsonian does not discriminate on grounds of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, parental status, marital status, sexual orientation, or participation in protected activity.

Conditions of Appointment:

  • In submitting an application for a fellowship at the Institution, the applicant does not incur any obligation to accept the appointment if selected.
  • Smithsonian Institution Fellows must begin their fellowship within one (1) year from the date of their award letter.
  • The fellowship must be completed within two (2) years of the start date.
  • In accepting an appointment, the fellow will be expected to devote full time effort to the research proposed and to be in residence at the Smithsonian except for approved absences.
  • Financial support for such purposes as research, travel and equipment may be received from other sources provided that no special demands are made upon the fellow’s time.
  • Permission to receive additional stipend support must be requested in writing from the Office of Fellowships and Internships.

Use of Smithsonian Facilities

Fellows will be provided with space to conduct their research within the department in which they are working. Applicants should consult in advance with their proposed advisor(s) regarding the availability of facilities and necessary equipment. The amount of support services available to the fellow will be determined by the workload of the department and the policy of the department chairperson and/or unit director. Fellows have access to the Smithsonian Institution Libraries with privileges which include borrowing library materials, interlibrary loans, intralibrary loans, document delivery, database searching, and reference assistance.

Stipend Allowances and Taxes

The Smithsonian Institution Fellowship award amounts are as follows:

  • Graduate Student Fellowship**: $7,500.00 for 10 weeks.
  • Predoctoral Fellowship: $36,000 annually; research allowance up to $4,000.
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship: $50,400 annually; research allowance up to $4,000.
  • Senior Fellowship: $50,400 annually; research allowance up to $4,000.

Fellows in earth/planetary sciences and conservatory sciences are eligible to receive up to $5,000.00 over the amounts listed above.

**Graduate Student Fellowships are offered for 10 weeks and are not available for periods of less or more than 10 weeks.  Research allowances are not offered for graduate student fellowships.

Stipends for all fellowships other than graduate students are pro-rated for periods of less than twelve months.

Smithsonian fellowship stipends are not salary or compensation. They are meant to support study and research during the tenure of the appointment and cannot be issued retroactively.

The Office of Fellowships and Internships cannot provide funds for the travel or living expenses of dependents.

All funds provided under Smithsonian Institution fellowships, including base stipends, research, and travel relocation allowances are subject to tax. Fellows awarded stipends receive a financial summary at the end of each calendar year and are responsible for meeting their own state and federal tax obligations.

In addition to a base stipend, awardees may receive allowances to assist with the fellow’s research-related expenses and for temporary relocation to the Smithsonian. The budget for the research allowance should not include costs for relocation to the Smithsonian, which is awarded separately. A maximum research allowance of $4,000 is available. The amount awarded will be determined based upon the budget and justification presented by the applicant.

Application

Applicants must propose research that is conducted at the Smithsonian in an area of research outlined in the publication, Smithsonian Opportunities for Research and Study (SORS). Applicants should contact staff members to help identify potential advisors, determine the feasibility of the proposed research being conducted at the Smithsonian Institution, and the availability of relevant resources such as staff, collections, archives and library materials during the proposed tenure dates.

Applications for centrally funded Smithsonian Institution Fellowships are not listed under the museum, research facility or office in which the applicant proposes to conduct research. Applicants for centrally funded Smithsonian Institution Fellowships need to select one of the applications found under the Office of Fellowships in SOLAA.

Applicants who wish to pursue opportunities in art and archaeological conservation, or conduct research and gain further training in Smithsonian conservation laboratories for conservation of objects in museum collections should consider applying for the Smithsonian Postgraduate Fellowship in Conservation of Museum Collections.

Applicants interested in pursuing collaborative research in fields involving comparative genomic approaches such as phylogenomics, populations genomics, metagenomics, or transcriptomics with a component that involves significant bioinformatics analysis should consider applying for the Smithsonian Institution Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biodiversity Genomics.

Applicants interested in opportunities to conduct research into visual art that inspired new artwork should consider applying to the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship.

  • Applications must be received no later than 11:59 pm EST on December 1, 2017 via SOLAA
  • You should correspond with your proposed Smithsonian advisor(s) as you prepare your proposal (being sure to discuss potential research costs) with your proposed advisor(s) before submitting your application
  • All application materials must be presented in English (foreign transcripts may be translated)

Once you have created an account and logged into SOLAA you will need to complete all the required information including:

  • Mailing address
  • Academic history
  • Current university or college

Please be sure to apply using for the correct year for the program cycle – 2018 for this cycle.

The following must be uploaded with your application:

Abstract

  • No more than one (1) page

Research Proposal

  • The full statement of your research you plan to undertake at the Smithsonian
  • Maximum six (6) pages double spaced (excluding all other parts of the application, such as the abstract and bibliography)
  • Paper size should be 8.5 by 11 inches (210 mm x 297 mm)
  • 12 point type

In preparing your proposal, be sure to provide and address the following:

  • Methodology
  • The importance of the work both in relation to the broader discipline and to your own scholarly goals
  • Justification for conducting your research at the Smithsonian and utilization of research facilities and resources
  • Identification of the member of the Smithsonian’s research staff who might serve as your principal advisor/host
  • Identification of potential co-advisor(s) and/or consultant(s) if applicable

Time Table

  • Estimate of time period for each phase of the research proposed
  • This needs to be uploaded for the application material name “Other” in SOLAA

Budget and Justification

  • Budget and justification for equipment, supplies, research-related travel costs, and other support required to conduct the research itself
  • Do not include stipend and/or relocation costs
  • If the funds exceed the maximum research allowance, please explain the source of additional funds
  • Applicants for graduate student fellowships are not eligible for research and travel allowances and should not submit budget justifications

Bibliography

  • Bibliography of literature relevant to the applicant’s proposed research

Curriculum Vitae

  • Including previous and current fellowships, grants, and/or awards, and a description of your research interests.
  • If English is not your native language, describe the level of your proficiency in reading, conversing, and writing in English

Transcripts (unofficial are acceptable)

  • Transcripts (or other materials when transcripts are not issued) from all appropriate institutions are required except for senior fellowship applications
  • Applicants for graduate student fellowships must submit undergraduate and graduate transcripts
  • Applicants for predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowships need only submit graduate transcripts
  • If transcripts or other materials are not in English the applicant should provide translations

References

  • Names and email addresses of two persons familiar with your work. Please, do not use your proposed SI advisor(s) or consultant(s) as your referees.
  • All reference letters are considered confidential unless confidentiality has been waived by the reference
  • Provide a copy of your proposal and a copy of Letter to Reference (downloadable pdf) to your references
  • Through SOLAA you will send an email from the system to these referees so they can provide references through the SOLAA system

In order to have the greatest impact on a candidate’s application, referees are asked to submit references no later than the application due date. However, references can be included with a candidate’s application packet up to two weeks after the application due date. Please note that while not having references included with an application does not automatically disqualify an application, the absence of references may weaken a proposal in the eyes of reviewers.

Notification of decisions will be made no later than Friday 4/6/18.

Application date
1 Dec 2017
Duration
3-12 months
Country
America United States Mid-Atlantic New England
Discipline
Humanities Anthropology, Ethnology and Folklore Archaeology Architecture Art & Art History Classical Studies Digital Humanities History History & Philosophy of Science Linguistics Literature Media Studies Music & Musicology Philosophy Religion & Theology Social sciences Business and Administrative Sciences Communication Sciences Demography Economics Environmental Sciences Gender Studies Geography International Relations Law Pedagogic & Education Research Political science Psychology & Cognitive Sciences Social Anthropology Sociology Other Agronomy Biology Chemistry Computer science Engineering Mathematics Medicine Physics
Required post-doc experience: 
between 0 and 99 years
Award granted
US$ 50.400/year + research allowance
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