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Our Shared Future: Life on a Sustainable Planet

Our planet faces unprecedented and interrelated crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and a global pandemic. Nationally, the United States is also confronting our complicated history and legacy of race and racism. As the largest museum, education, and research complex -- with 23 museums, numerous research centers, and the National Zoological Park -- the Smithsonian’s vast collections, exhibits, current and historical data sets, and in-house expertise provide a unique opportunity to inform interdisciplinary approaches and solutions to many of these challenges.

Through a new initiative, Our Shared Future: Life on a Sustainable Planet, the Smithsonian aims to advance solutions that fill us with optimism for our planet and all species that call our planet home. As part of this initiative, the Smithsonian is launching two new in-residence fellowship programs: Smithsonian Climate Change Fellowship and Smithsonian Environmental Justice Fellowship. Each program will support a cohort of 2-5 fellows for a period of two years. Fellows will receive a stipend to conduct independent research that utilizes Smithsonian resources (e.g., data, facilities, expertise). Fellows with research projects that have the potential to produce rapid results and impact are especially encouraged to apply.

Deadline: August 31, 2022.

Notification Date: Fall 2022.

Eligibility: Applicants for Postdoctoral Fellowships must have or will have received the Ph.D. by the time the fellowship begins. Applicants must propose to conduct research in-residence for a period of no less than 12 months and no more than 24 months. Preference given to applicants with start dates before March 1, 2023.

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 Academic Appointments and Internships.

Eligible Locations: The use of SI collections, data, labs and resources is a central component of this fellowship. While the research location should align with the scope of one of the six research projects, fellows are expected to spend a significant amount of time in-residency at one of the eligible Smithsonian museums or research centers - Washington D.C. (NMNH, NZCBI, ACM); Front Royal, VA (NZCBI); Edgewater, MD (SERC); Panama (STRI); Cambridge, MA (SAO).

Term: 24 months (in-residence).

Stipend: Candidates will receive a stipend of $62,000 per year for Postdoctoral Fellows. Stipends are prorated for periods of less than 24 months. A maximum research allowance up to $5,000 is available.

Criteria for Selection: The application, consisting of the proposal, academic records, and two supporting letters, will be reviewed by members of the Smithsonian’s research staff. 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.

Follow these links below to learn more about the Smithsonian Climate Change Fellowships and Environmental Justice Fellowships.


How to Apply

Apply Through the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment System (SOLAA). Select "Start Your Application" and only enter the program name. 

 

Application Materials

The SOLAA application will allow you to upload the following files types (there is a 3MB limit and only the following types of documents are supported: .bmp, .doc, .docx, .gif, .jpeg, .jpg, .pdf, .png, .rtf, .tif, .tiff, .txt, .xls, and .xlsx):

Applicants are encouraged to propose to conduct research in-residence at the Smithsonian based on the research topics listed in either the Smithsonian Climate Change Fellowship or Smithsonian Environmental Justice Fellowship. Your proposal should include the following components:

Abstract: Abstract of the proposed research, not more than one page double spaced.

Research Proposal: No more than 1500 words, double spaced with a maximum of 6 pages. (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), do not use type smaller than 12-point font.

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

  • A description of the research you plan to undertake, including the methodology to be utilized.
  • 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 Smithsonian collections and resources.
  • Identification of the member of the Smithsonian’s research staff who might serve as your principal advisor/host. Also identify potential co-advisor(s) and/or consultant(s) if applicable. The publication, Smithsonian Opportunities for Research and Study, contains the necessary information on staff research specialties and current departmental interests to help you determine which staff members are best suited to your research needs. Research staff may be named by applicants to serve as principal advisors, co-advisors or consultants. Affiliated research staff may be named as co-advisors or consultants if they will be in residence during at least a portion of the tenure period proposed. You are strongly encouraged to correspond with your proposed advisor(s) as you prepare your proposal.

Timeline: Estimate of time period for each phase of the research proposed for the full time period (regardless of one or two years).

Diversity Statement: 

  • Please address - How your perspective, experience, and/or project contribute to a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable discipline.
  • No more than one (1) page, double spaced.
  • 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 (excluding stipend and relocation costs). You are encouraged to discuss potential research costs with your proposed advisor(s) before submitting your application. If the funds required to support the research exceed the maximum research allowance of $5,000, please explain the source of additional funds.

Bibliography: Bibliography of literature relevant to the applicant’s proposed research.

Curriculum vitae: Curriculum vitae, including previous and current fellowships, grants, and/or awards, and a description of your research interests. Also, if English is not your native language, describe the level of your proficiency in reading, conversing, and writing in English.

Transcripts (unofficial are acceptable): Applicants for postdoctoral fellowships need only submit graduate transcripts. If transcripts or other materials are not in English, the applicant should provide translations.

References: You will need the names and email addresses of two persons familiar with your work. Please note that all reference letters are considered confidential unless confidentiality has been specifically waived by the referee. Do not list Smithsonian staff members as your referees; they will have the opportunity to review your application after it is submitted. Please provide a copy of your proposal and a copy of Letter to Referee (downloadable pdf) to your referees. Please be sure reference letters are submitted by the application deadline.

  • Through SOLAA you will send an email from the system to these referees so they can provide references through the SOLAA system. Please note: referees will not be able to view your application and you may send the request any time prior to submission. They will still be able to submit their reference before or after you submit your application.
  • Referees are encouraged to submit references no later than the application due date. However, references can be submitted after the deadline and but there is no guarantee it will be included once the review process begins.
  • Applicant’s can check their SOLAA application to determine if letters of recommendation have been submitted or not. Applicants are encouraged to follow-up with referees who have not yet submitted.

Contact: Office of Academic Appointments and Internships with questions or for more information. E-mail: FellowsSI@si.edu.

 


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. 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 Academic Appointments and Internships.

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