Smithsonian Mpala Postdoctoral Fellowship

The purpose of the Mpala Postdoctoral Fellowship is to promote the study biology, anthropology, geology, hydrology, material science, social science, soil science or related areas. Projects must be tenable in residence at Smithsonian Institution facilities and Mpala Research Centre.

Eligibility

Fellowships are offered by the Smithsonian Institution to provide opportunities for graduate students, predoctoral students, and postdoctoral and senior investigators to conduct research in association with members of the Smithsonian professional research staff, and to utilize the resources of the Institution. These fellowships are offered through the Smithsonian’s Office of Fellowships, and are administered under the charter of the Institution, 20 U.S. Code section 41 et seq. Fellowship awards under this program are contingent upon the availability of funds.

The application, consisting of the proposal, academic records, and two supporting letters (see below for details), will be reviewed by members of the Smithsonian’s research staff. Applications will be evaluated on the basis of the proposal’s merit, the ability of the applicant to carry out the proposed research and study, and the extent to which the Smithsonian, through its staff members and resources, can contribute to the proposed research.

The number of appointments made each year is determined by the availability of funds for the program. The Smithsonian Fellowship Program does not discriminate on grounds of race, creed, sex, age, marital status, condition of handicap, or national origin of any applicant.

Applicants must propose to conduct research at the Smithsonian in one of its areas of research as outlined in the publication, Smithsonian Opportunities for Research and Study. Past or current fellowship recipients are eligible to apply for another 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 and Internships.

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).

The Mpala Fellowship is a Postdoctoral Fellowship. Predoctoral and Masters students are ineligible.

  • Postdoctoral Fellowships: Applicants are eligible to apply for postdoctoral fellowships who have or will have received the Ph.D. or equivalent. The degree must be completed by the time the fellowship begins.
  • Senior Fellowships: Applicants who have had a Ph.D. or equivalent for a minimum of seven years are eligible to apply for senior fellowships. Senior Fellowship applications may be submitted one and a half years in advance.

The proposed research topic must be in an area of science or culture supported by Smithsonian that is also appropriate to Mpala.

The majority of the fellowship period should be spent in residence at Mpala [except if there is good reason not to, explain in the proposal].

The project must be a meaningful collaboration with an appropriate Smithsonian unit (collaboration with multiple units is encouraged) and include an endorsement from a Smithsonian sponsor.

The fellow must also collaborate with an appropriate Kenyan organization such as National Museums of Kenya or Kenya Wildlife Service. Collaboration with the international organizations in Kenya, such as the International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology, is also encouraged.

The fellow is expected to actively participate in the science community at Mpala, including participation in lectures, field courses, etc.

Proposals are encouraged in the fields of conservation medicine, soils/erosion potential/water conservation, rangeland regeneration/grazing management, ecosystem services, socio-economic studies of natural resource management, and the principals of wildlife ecology and behavior, but other creative ideas are welcome. Collaboration with the SIGEO/CTFS plot is also encouraged.

Proposals Involving the Use of Live Animals: Applicants who wish to conduct research using live animals must submit their proposals for review by one of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC). Review for animal welfare concerns and approval of procedures by one of these committees must occur before a fellowship can begin.

Applicants who wish to conduct research at the National Zoological Park must discuss their research with proposed mentors to clarify any potential issues with Institutional Animal Care and Use process. Applicants to other Smithsonian Museums and Research Institutes should contact their advisor to determine the appropriate procedures for that unit.

How it Works

Mpala Postdoctoral fellowships are awarded for one or two years. Appointment periods are in accordance with the applicant’s proposal for the research, unless the length of tenure requested is considered by reviewers to be more than required. 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

Financial support, in addition to a Smithsonian fellowship, 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.

It is important that applicants consider the following factors carefully when choosing the dates for the proposed fellowship: their academic schedule; completion dates of their dissertation; the schedule of their proposed advisor/host and the availability of required resources. The dates of tenure proposed in the application (and any change of dates if the fellowship is awarded) should be selected in agreement with the proposed principal advisor. Appointments must begin on the 1st or 15th of the month.

In submitting an application for a fellowship at the Institution, the applicant does not incur any obligation to accept the appointment if selected.

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, inter-library loans, intra-library loans, document delivery, database searching, and reference assistance.

The stipend for Postdoctoral and Senior Fellows is $47,500 per year (twelve months). Stipends are prorated for periods of less than twelve months. In addition to the stipend, allowances to assist with the fellow’s research related expenses and for temporary relocation to the Smithsonian are possible. 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. The budget for the research allowance should not include costs for relocation to the Smithsonian, which is awarded separately. The Office of Fellowships and Internships cannot provide funds for the travel or living expenses of dependents. All funds provided under Smithsonian fellowships, including stipends and research and travel allowances, are subject to tax.

Selection Criteria

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. Included in the proposal evaluation will be its relevance in terms of the Smithsonian’s Strategic Plan and how the research reflects one or more of the Four Grand Challenges outlined in the plan. The number of appointments made each year is determined by the availability of funds for the program. The Smithsonian Fellowship Program does not discriminate on grounds of race, creed, sex, age, marital status, condition of handicap, or national origin of any applicant.

As noted above, the proposed research topic must be in an area of science or culture supported by Smithsonian that is also appropriate to Mpala.

The majority of the fellowship period should be spent in residence at Mpala [except if there is good reason not to, explain in the proposal].

The project must be a meaningful collaboration with an appropriate Smithsonian unit (collaboration with multiple units is encouraged) and include an endorsement from a Smithsonian sponsor.

The fellow must also collaborate with an appropriate Kenyan organization such as National Museums of Kenya or Kenya Wildlife Service.  Collaboration with the international organizations in Kenya, such as the International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology, is also encouraged.

The fellow is expected to actively participate in the science community at Mpala, including participation in lectures, field courses, etc.

Proposals are encouraged in the fields of conservation medicine, soils/erosion potential/water conservation, rangeland regeneration/grazing management, ecosystem services, socio-economic studies of natural resource management, and the principals of wildlife ecology and behavior, but other creative ideas are welcome. Collaboration with the SIGEO/CTFS plot is also encouraged.

Application date
1 Dec 2016
Duration
1 or 2 years
Country
Africa Kenya America United States Mid-Atlantic New England
Discipline
Humanities Anthropology, Ethnology and Folklore 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
Required post-doc experience: 
between 0 and 99 years
Award granted
US$ 47.500/year + research allowance
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