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Christine Mirzayan Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program
The National Academies
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The National Academies Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program
500 5th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-334-2455
Email: policyfellows@nas.edu


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Who are the National Academies?

Learn who we are
Learn what we do
Download NRC Organizational Chart
Are the National Academies part of a government agency?

The Fellowship Program

Why is a fellowship program needed?
Where does the fellowship program take place?
How competitive is the program?
What do former fellows say about the program?
How are fellows selected?
What is the application deadline?
Can I do a shortened fellowship?

Eligibility

Am I eligible for the program?

Applying for a Fellowship

When is the application deadline?
Are these fellowships available every year?
Is graduate work experience considered work?
How many references do I need?
How will my referees be notified?
Can I reapply for the program?
When will the prospective candidates be informed of their acceptance?

Funding

Does the fellowship program provide scholarship money or other funding for research or continuing education?
Is this program considered employment?
What is the amount of the stipend?
When do I receive my stipend if I am accepted to the program?
Do I receive travel expenses?

Unit Selection

What opportunities can I pursue as part of the fellowship program?
Will all units participate each session?
Will the fellowship be in my particular area of expertise (e.g., molecular biology, cultural anthropology in Africa, etc.)?

Once Selected

Where can I find more information about housing during the fellowship?
What if I can't attend the entire orientation program and need to miss a day?


Who are the National Academies?

Are the National Academies part of a government agency?

No.  The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) was created by the federal government to be an adviser on scientific and technological matters, but is not part of the federal government.  The Academy complex now consists of four organizations collectively known as the National Academies: the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), the Institute of Medicine (IOM), and the National Research Council (NRC).  The National Academy of Sciences was created in 1863 by a congressional charter approved by President Abraham Lincoln.  Under this charter, the National Research Council was established in 1916, the National Academy of Engineering in 1964, and the Institute of Medicine in 1970.

The National Academies is a private, nongovernmental organization and does not receive direct federal appropriations for its work.  The majority of the studies carried out by the National Academies are conducted at the request of government agencies. However, many studies are privately funded.

The Fellowship Program

Why is a fellowship program needed?

Scientists and engineers with PhDs and other advanced degrees play a central and growing role in American industrial and commercial life.  We increasingly depend on people with advanced scientific and technological knowledge in collective efforts to develop new technologies and industries, reduce environmental pollution, combat disease and hunger, develop new sources of energy, and maintain competitiveness.  Traditional graduate education to the doctoral level, organized around an intensive research experience, has served as a world model for the advanced training of scientists and engineers.  However, most PhDs will work outside academia.  As a result, graduate students in science, engineering, and related disciplines need to broaden their professional experience.

Where does the fellowship program take place?

The fellowships will take place in Washington, D.C. at one of the National Academies' facilities.  In general, fellows will work at the Keck Center, 500 5th Street, NW in downtown Washington, D.C.  Fellows may also work at the National Academy of Sciences Building, 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW on the National Mall.

How competitive is the program?

The program is very competitive.  In general, less than 10% of applicants are selected for fellowships. 

When is the application deadline?
 
Applications for a session are due the fall before the session begins.  Check back in summer 2014 for application dates for the January 2015 session or subscribe to the policy fellows mailing list  to be notified of future application dates. 

Can I do a shortened fellowship?

No. Fellows must complete the full 12-week term and be available to start their fellowship on the first scheduled day of orientation.  Any request for scheduled leave (personal or professional) during the term of the fellowship must be approved prior to acceptance to the fellowship program. 

Applying for a Fellowship

Are these fellowships available every year?

The program has been funded to hold one session each year for the next five years beginning in January 2014.  Sign-up for our mailing list to be notified of session dates.

Is graduate work experience considered work?

No. Graduate work such as working as a Teaching Assistant or Research Assistant is part of your graduate education and is not considered work experience for the purpose of the fellowship application.

How many references do I need?

TWO online references are required to complete the application process. References must be relevant to your academic, professional, volunteer or other related experience. You will NOT be able to submit your application until BOTH references have been received. Mailed reference letters will NOT be accepted.

How will my referees be notified?

Once you complete the reference section of the application and provide your referees’ contact information, an automated email request will be sent to each referee.  Be sure to provide your referees with as much time as possible to ensure that their reference is submitted before the application deadline.

Alert your referees that they will receive an automated "Information Request" email from Scholar Select/Mirzayan S&T Policy Fellowship Program. This email will contain a unique link to a recommendation form to be completed on your behalf. An email confirmation will be sent to you when a reference has been received. To ensure delivery of the reference request, you may wish to ask your referees to add automated.email@scholarselect.com to their contacts, email address book, or safe senders list.

Can I reapply for the program?

Yes.  However, if you have applied for a fellowship in the past, you must complete a new application.  Application materials do not carry over from session to session.

When will the prospective candidates be informed of their acceptance?

Candidates selected for interviews are generally notified within three to six weeks of the application deadline.  Unsuccessful applicants will be notified when the selection process is complete (approximately two months after the application deadline).
 
Funding

Does the fellowship program provide scholarship money or other funding for research or continuing education?

No.  This program does not fund research, award scholarships, or provide financial aid assistance of any kind.  If you are awarded a fellowship, a stipend is provided to offset expenses during the fellowship period.
 
Is this program considered employment?

No.

What is the amount of the stipend?

For the 2015 session, the stipend for the 12-week program is $8,500.  The fellowship stipend is provided to offset living expenses during the fellowship period.

When do I receive my stipend if I am accepted to the program?

The stipend is paid out in one installment during the first week of the program.

Do I receive travel expenses?

No.

Unit Selection

What opportunities can I pursue as part of the Fellowship Program?

Please see the Prospective Units page for a listing of all the program units that may be accepting fellows.  Look at the web page for each unit to gain an understanding unit activities and active studies.

Will all units participate each session?

No. All units may not participate during each session, and there is no way to know in advance which units are accepting fellows.  You may apply for up to three units, and we strongly encourage you to select the maximum number.  Please see the Prospective Units page for a listing of all the program units that may be accepting fellows.  Look at the web page for each unit to gain an understanding unit activities and active studies.

Will the fellowship be in my particular area of expertise (e.g., molecular biology, cultural anthropology in Africa, etc.)?

Not necessarily. While we try to place fellows in the units of their choice, the purpose of this fellowship program is to broaden the fellow's experience.  A prospective applicant should not apply for the program if they are only willing to work in their field of study.  Additionally, although we do our best to determine what activities/projects will be active during the fellowship, these may change even in the few months between your interview and the fellowship. If you are interested in only working in a very specific policy area, then this fellowship is not the right one for you.  You may be asked to work on any science and technology policy issue. 

Once Selected

Where can I find more information about housing during the fellowship?

Fellows are responsible for obtaining housing during the fellowship period.  Program alumni suggest searching Craigslist for housing opportunities.  In addition, many universities in Washington, DC, Virginia, and Maryland offer suggestions for off-campus housing.  Program alumni recommend visiting the Georgetown University, George Washington University, and American University web sites. 

What if I can't attend the entire orientation program and need to miss a day?

Acceptance to the program is contingent upon attending orientation in its entirety.