NATIONAL-ACADEMIES.ORG   Contact Us  |  Search:  
National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Engineering
Institute of Medicine
National Research Council
Jefferson Science Fellowship
Fellowships Office
Policy and Global Affairs
Jefferson Home Programs Fellowships Office & Resources
Quick Links

Contact Us
Jefferson Science Fellowship
The National Academies
500 Fifth Street NW, W529
Washington, DC 20001

Phone: 202-334-2643
Fax: 202-334-2759

State seal

USAID logo

Frequently Asked Questions                     

I am interested in applying for this fellowship, but I am not sure if I am competitive. 

Prospective applicants can refer to biographies and profiles of past Jefferson Science Fellows to compare qualifications.  While academic stature is an important consideration in selection, other factors are of equal importance (see selection criteria).  Candidates will be asked to articulate important issues in science, engineering and technology that impact foreign policy and to demonstrate an understanding of how their knowledge could be used to inform foreign policy decision-making.

I am interested in applying, or a colleague is interested in applying, but we do not know if our university holds an MOU with the Department of State. How can we find out?

Email and you should receive an answer within a few days.

How is funding managed for the Jefferson science Fellows Program?

The Jefferson Science Fellow will be paid a per diem of up to $50,000 by the U.S. Department of State to cover local living expenses for a full year (i.e., rent, meals and incidental expenses). If your permanent home is in the Washington, DC area, you do not receive any per diem. If you own or purchase a home in the Washington, DC area where you reside during your tenure as a Jefferson Science Fellow, we cannot cover your lodging. In this case, you will be reimbursed approximately $24,000 for meals and incidental expenses.  A travel budget of $10,000 is provided through the National Academies and supplemental travel funds are provided by the Fellow’s bureau or office.  Under the JSF MOU, the Fellow’s home institution will be responsible for all salary and benefits due to the Fellow during that academic year.

What is the schedule for the Jefferson Science Fellows selection process?

Mid-September: The application period opens
January 12th: The application and reference letter deadline occurs
February-March: The review process occurs and Fellows are notified
Mid-August: Fellows begin their Fellowship in Washington, DC

Why is there such a long period of time between the selection of fellows and fellows start date at the State Department?

Once Fellows are selected for a JSF award, they must go through a U.S. government security clearance process that can take anywhere from 2 to 6 months. To assure that  Fellows can begin a productive fellowship year in mid-August (to coincide with the academic calendar) Fellows are selected in late February.

Do Jefferson Fellows get placed in an office at the State Department or do they get to choose their assignment there?

The process for finding a placement at the State Department or the U.S. Agency for International Development is similar to a job interview process, though one that is guaranteed to be successful in the end for a selected Jefferson Fellow. Fellows will have the opportunity to review a series of work statements, then to meet with bureaus and offices that are interesting or relevant to their expertise and abilities.  At the same time, certain bureaus and offices will show interest in specific Fellows and will contact them. Fellows can meet with several different bureaus and offices during the process; the final placement depends on mutual interest between each party and with some guidance by the Office of the Science and Technology Adviser. This process generally is completed within the first two weeks of the fellowship and ensures that the Fellow is placed in the best possible position within the State Department or the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Which bureaus within the Department of State and USAID currently have opportunities for Jefferson Fellows?

U.S. Department of State

Bureau of African Affairs
Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance
Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs
Bureau of Energy Resources
Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
Bureau of Intelligence and Research
Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation
Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
Office of the Secretary of State
Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs


Office of the Administrator
Bureau for Food Security
Bureau for Economic Growth, Agriculture and Trade
Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)
Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning

For a more comprehensive look at Jefferson Fellows' experiences at the State Department, go to Jefferson Fellows Bios and Profiles.