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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Jefferson Science Fellowship
Fellowships Office
Policy and Global Affairs
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Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be a U.S. citizen   
  • Must be a scientist, technologist, engineer, or physician holding a tenured or similarly ranked academic appointment at a U.S. college or university
  • If awarded, the candidate must successfully complete and maintain security clearances at the U.S. Department of State/USAID
  • Applicant's academic institution must sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Academy of Sciences in order to be considered as a finalist 

 Selection Criteria

Applicants will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Stature, recognition, and experience in the national and international scientific or engineering community
  • Ability to articulate science and technology to the non-specialist/general public
  • Ability to rapidly and accurately understand scientific advancements both within and outside their discipline area and to effectively integrate this knowledge into U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) policy discussions
  • Benefit of the fellowship to the applicant and the applicant's university
  • Related experience which may positively influence the success of the applicant in this fellowship

Terms of the JSF Award

Since the JSF program is a partnership between the U.S. academic community and the U.S. Department of State and USAID, financial and institutional support for the JSF program is shared among these parties.

  • The tenured or similarly ranked academic position of those selected to be Jefferson Science Fellows, together with all the rights and privileges associated with that position, will be maintained by the Fellow’s home academic institution during their assignment at the U.S. Department of State/USAID.
  • During their one-year assignment at the U.S. Department of State/USAID, the salary and benefits of the Fellow will be paid by the academic institution at which the tenured appointment is held.
  • The Fellow’s home academic institution will be expected to execute a Memorandum of Understanding (JSF/MOU) with the National Academy of Sciences to document this support.
  • The Jefferson Science Fellow will be paid a stipend of $50,000 by the National Academy of Sciences.
  • It is expected that each Fellow will travel as part of their assignment with the U.S. Department of State/USAID. $10,000 will also be made available to the Fellow for travel associated with their assignment(s). Travel support may also be provided by the Fellow’s office or bureau.
  • The U.S. Department of State will apply for a security clearance consistent with the assignment given to each Fellow and will provide the administrative and logistical resources normally associated with an assignment at the U.S. Department of State/USAID. Click here for more information about the JSF security clearance process.
  • Following their JSF assignment at the U.S. Department of State/USAID, each Jefferson Science Fellow will be expected to remain available for short-term projects.

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 Instructions for Applications

A complete application package should be completed online and will include the following components:

  1. Application
  2. Curriculum Vitae (limit 10 pages)
  3. Statement of Interest (1-2 pages)
  4. Two Essays (limit 2 pages each)
  5. Letters of Recommendation (minimum of 3, maximum of 5)

Online Application
The online application will open on August 1 when the selection process for the 2017-2018 Jefferson Science Fellows begins. After providing basic application information on the online application (i.e., name, institution, phone number, etc), applicants will be asked to upload the following supporting documents in PDF format: a Curriculum Vitae, a Statement of Interest, and two Essays (content and format details are described below).  Applications must be submitted online to be considered in the review process. Click here to access the online application system. If you have technical difficulties, please contact

Curriculum Vitae (limit 10 pages) should include the following:

  • Name and Current Institutional Affiliation
  • Education (degrees, institutions, dates)
  • Academic Employment History (including dates, academic rank, and tenure)
  • Honors and Awards (list up to 10 of the most significant)
  • University Service (past 5 years)
  • Professional Society Service (past 5 years)
  • Other National or International Professional Experience
  • Peer-Reviewed Publications (no more than 5 of the 10 pages; you may indicate the total number of publications from which the list is derived)
  • Other Publications or Patents

Statement of Interest
The applicant should provide a concise (1-2 page) Statement of Interest in the Jefferson Science Fellowship Program. In this statement, the applicant should explain what benefits they hope to derive for themselves and their university, if selected for the program, and also indicate any knowledge they might have of the U.S. Department of State or USAID and possible contributions they might make to different bureaus and offices therein.

The applicant should prepare essays responding to the following two questions. Each response should be limited to 2 pages (12-point font, 1" margins, double-spaced).

  • ESSAY 1: Within your general field of research, describe two major advances in the past ten years with significant international socio-economic impact. Discuss how effective the scientific community has been in providing information to policy makers on these advances, such that these socio-economic impacts can be managed effectively.
  • ESSAY 2: Within your general field of research, describe one emerging science and technology issue with implications for foreign policy. Describe steps that should be taken by scientists and policy makers to better address this issue.

Letters of Recommendation
Applications must be accompanied by at least three (3) and no more than five (5) Letters of Recommendation from peers of the applicant. Letters of Recommendation should address the qualifications of the applicant relative to the selection criteria listed above and are limited to two pages. On the online application, applicants will be asked to list three to five letter writers before submitting their application. Applicants must contact their letter writers and are responsible for the letters being submitted by the application deadline. The Fellowships Office will not contact any letter writers on behalf of applicants.

Letters of Nomination
Applicants are not required to be nominated by their university; however, a Letter of Nomination from a university official may be submitted as part of the application package. A Letter of Nomination is limited to two pages and should clearly indicate that it is a Letter of Nomination (not an Letter of Recommendation). Letters of Nomination will not count against the number of Letters of Recommendation that can be submitted.

Letters of Recommendation and Letters of Nomination may be submitted by the applicant or the letter writer and should be sent as pdf attachments to

 Jefferson Science Fellowship Memorandum of Understanding

It is required that all applicants' academic institutions have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Academy of Sciences by the final stage of the interview process. Please read the MOU Guidelines for instructions on securing a JSF MOU.

Selection Process Timeline

August 1, 2016 -- Application process opens

October 31, 2016 -- Application deadline

October 31, 2016 -- Deadline for completed MOUs

November 7-18, 2016 -- External Review of applications

November 22-25, 2016 -- Finalists notified and interviews and travel scheduled

December 12-13, 2016 -- Interviews of finalists and selection of awardees

February 2017 (TBD) 
-- Placement Week: Jefferson Science Fellows interview at the U.S. Department of State and USAID  

Mid-August 2017 -- Jefferson Science Fellows report to the U.S. Department of State and USAID for orientation and to begin work

Please direct all questions to or call 202-334-3560.

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