Our planet faces unprecedented and interrelated crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and the growing threat of infectious disease. 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 21 museums, numerous research centers, and the National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute — 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.
The Smithsonian aims to advance solutions that fill us with optimism for our planet and all species that call our planet home through a new initiative, Our Shared Future: Life on a Sustainable Planet. As part of this initiative, the Smithsonian is launching three new in-residence fellowship programs: the Smithsonian Climate Change Postdoctoral Fellowship, Smithsonian Environmental Justice Fellowship, and the Resilience and Sustainability Science Postdoctoral 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 are especially encouraged to apply if they have research projects that have the potential to produce rapid results and impact.
Climate Change, Environmental Justice, and Resilience and Sustainability Fellows will form a cohort that will participate in hybrid training related to leadership skill development, science communication, policy engagement, effective transdisciplinary research techniques, and inclusive approaches to research and equitable outcomes. This cohort-based training will support fellows in connecting their research to action. The Smithsonian will support travel for participation in the cohort-based training.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the timeline for starting the fellowship?
- There is not a specific start date at this time. However, appointments for all three fellowship programs are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2024.
- Are all the fellowships open to any career stage?
- Climate Change Fellowship: Applicants for this Postdoctoral Fellowship must have or will have received the Ph.D. by the time the fellowship begins. Applicants must propose to conduct research in residence.
- Environmental Justice Fellowship: Minimum: Enrolled in Masters degree program, and relevant research and community-based engagement preferred.
- Resilience and Sustainability Science Fellowship: Applicants for this Postdoctoral Fellowship must have or will have received the Ph.D. by the time the fellowship begins. Applicants must propose to conduct research in residence.
- Can I list a co-advisor or consultant not mentioned in a project description?
- For a data-driven project, could I conduct research in another location and visit the Smithsonian site for a few months only?
- Fellows are expected to propose to conduct research in residence at a Smithsonian site. However, for a data driven project, there may be potential for conducting a portion of the fellowship virtually with approval from your potential advisor.
- For an appointment in Panama, does the salary need to be taxed and in which country?
- Please note that it is a stipend, not a salary, as Fellowships are not considered employment. Fellows will not have to pay nor file taxes in Panama.
- For an appointment in Panama, how much is the living cost?
- This depends on where you would live, but the average cost/month is around $1,250.
- Is there an age limit for eligibility? I did my PhD in 2015, so 8 years ago - does it disqualify me?
- There is no limitation on the time in which you received your PhD in order to be eligible to apply. Please note, a PhD is not required for the Environmental Justice Fellowship Program.
Contact: Office of Academic Appointments and Internships, 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.