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

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

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Applying for a Jefferson Science Fellowship                     


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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 U.S. Department of State in order to be considered as a finalist. 

 Selection Criteria

Applicants will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Ability to articulate science and technology issues to the non-specialist/general public,
  • Ability to rapidly and accurately understand scientific advancements outside their discipline area and to effectively integrate this knowledge into U.S. Department of State/USAID policy discussions,
  • Open-mindedness and receptive attitudes toward public policy discussions at the U.S. Department of State/USAID, and
  • Stature, recognition and experience in the national and international scientific or engineering communities.

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, 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, 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 U.S. Department of State to document this support.
  • 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.
  • It is expected that each Fellow will travel as part of their assignment with the U.S. Department of State/USAID. $10,000 will 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 in the Fall of 2014 when the 2015-2016 Selection Process begins. After providing basic application information on the online application (i.e., name, institution, phone number, etc), you 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 Fellows Program. In this statement, he/she 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 the U.S. Agency for International Development 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.

  • ESSAY 1: Within your general field of research, describe three major advances in the past ten years that have had significant societal impact on an international scale. Discuss the positive and negative aspects of the impacts, and how effective the scientific community has been in providing information required to permit policy makers to make informed decisions.
  • ESSAY 2: Within your general field of research, identify one or more issues in science and technology that have not received sufficient attention by U.S. foreign policy makers. Describe steps that should be taken by scientists and policy makers to better address these issues.

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 no more than 2 pages. On the online application, you will be asked to list 3 to 5 recommenders before submitting your application. Applicants must contact their recommenders and are responsible for the letters being submitted by the application deadline. The National Academies will not contact any recommenders on behalf of applicants.

Recommendation Letters may be submitted by the applicant or the recommender/nominator. Please submit the Letters as an attachment to the email address listed below.

or by mail to:

Jefferson Science Fellows Program
The National Academies
Fellowships Office
500 Fifth Street NW, 529
Washington, DC 20001

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 will not count against the number of Letters of Recommendation that can be submitted. Letters of Nomination should be submitted to the address listed above. 

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 Jefferson Science Fellowship Memorandum of Understanding

It is required that all applicants' academic institutions have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Department of State by the final stage of the interview process, which usually occurs in mid-February. Please read the MOU Guidelines for instructions on securing a JSF MOU.

Selection Process Timeline

September 15, 2014 -- Application process opens

January 12, 2015 -- Application deadline

February 6, 2015 -- Deadline for completed MOUs

End of February/Beginning of March 2015 -- Interviews of finalists and selection of awardees

Mid-July 2015
-- Placement Week: Jefferson Science Fellows interview at the U.S. Department of State and USAID.  

Mid-August 2015 -- 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 202-334-2643.

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