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This competition year the program will award approximately 24 postdoctoral fellowships. The postdoctoral fellowships provide one year of support for individuals engaged in postdoctoral study after the attainment of the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) degree. 

Postdoctoral fellowships will be awarded in a national competition administered by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on behalf of the Ford Foundation. The awards will be made to individuals who, in the judgment of the review panels, have demonstrated superior academic achievement, are committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level in the U.S., show promise of future achievement as scholars and teachers, and are well prepared to use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students.

Click on the links below to learn more about each aspect of the Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship


Postdoctoral Eligibility

Eligibility to apply for a postdoctoral fellowship is limited to:

  • All U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, and U.S. permanent residents (holders of a Permanent Resident Card); individuals granted deferred action status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program;1 Indigenous individuals exercising rights associated with the Jay Treaty of 1794; individuals granted Temporary Protected Status; asylees; and refugees, regardless of race, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, or sexual orientation;
  • Individuals with evidence of superior academic achievement (such as grade point average, class rank, honors or other designations);
  • Individuals committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level in the U.S.; and 
  • Individuals who have completed all the requirements for a Ph.D. or Sc.D. degree, including successful defense of the dissertation, no earlier than December 8, 2015 and no later than December 8, 2022 in an eligible research-based field from a U.S. institution of higher education.

  • 1Eligibility includes individuals with current status under the DACA Program, as well as individuals whose status may have lapsed but who continue to meet all the USCIS guidelines for DACA.
Receipt of the fellowship award is conditioned upon each awardee providing satisfactory documentation that they meet all the eligibility requirements.

Positive Factors for Selection

The following will be considered as positive factors (not eligibility requirements) in choosing successful candidates:
  • Evidence of superior academic achievement
  • Degree of promise of continuing achievement as scholars and teachers
  • Capacity to respond in pedagogically productive ways to the learning needs of students from diverse backgrounds
  • Sustained personal engagement with communities that are underrepresented in the academy and an ability to bring this asset to learning, teaching, and scholarship at the college and university level
  • Likelihood of using the diversity of human experience as an educational resource in teaching and scholarship
  • Membership in one or more of the following groups whose underrepresentation in the American professoriate has been severe and longstanding:
    • Alaska Natives (Aleut, Eskimo, or other Indigenous People of Alaska)
    • Black/African Americans
    • Mexican Americans/Chicanas/Chicanos
    • Native American Indians
    • Native Pacific Islanders (Polynesian/Micronesian)
    • Puerto Ricans
Applications will be evaluated by panels of distinguished scholars selected by the National Academies. The panels will use academic records, essays, letters of recommendation, the application itself, and other appropriate materials as the basis for determining the extent to which candidates meet the eligibility requirements and the positive factors for selection. The quality of the plan of study or research, the bibliography, the appropriateness of the proposed fellowship activities, the choice of host institution, and the potential for career enhancement will also be carefully reviewed. 
Review panels may also look at additional factors such as the likelihood that the applicant will fully utilize 9 or 12 months of postdoctoral support.  

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Eligible Fields of Study

Awards will be made for study in research-based programs. Examples include: American studies, anthropology, archaeology, art and theater history, astronomy, chemistry, communications, computer science, cultural studies, earth sciences, economics, education, engineering, ethnic studies, ethnomusicology, geography, history, international relations, language, life sciences, linguistics, literature, mathematics, performance study, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, religious studies, sociology, urban planning, and women’s studies. Also eligible are interdisciplinary ethnic studies programs, such as African American studies and Native American studies, and other interdisciplinary programs, such as area studies, peace studies, and social justice. Research-based fields of education are eligible if the major field of study is listed above and is used to describe the Ph.D. or Sc.D. program of the applicant (e.g., sociology of education, anthropology and education).

A list of eligible fields of study supported is available here: Eligible Fields of Study List.

Individuals enrolled in the following programs will not be supported unless the applicant can document that the program of study is research-based, and the applicant plans to follow a career in teaching and research in academia: administration, audiology, business, consumer studies, curriculum development, exercise physiology, filmmaking, fine arts, guidance, human resource management, kinesiology, leadership, library and information science, management, nursing, occupational health, performing arts, personnel, physical education, physical therapy, public health, rehabilitation science, social welfare, social work, speech pathology, and teacher education. In addition, awards will not be made in areas such as medicine or law.

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Proposed Research and Location of Work

Applicants must present a clearly articulated plan of study or research that will further their career in higher education and should explain fully the particular benefits that would accrue from affiliation with the proposed host institution. An applicant proposing to affiliate with a foreign institution may be asked to designate a U.S. institution to act as a liaison between the National Academies and the foreign institution, particularly for handling the disbursement of fellowship funds.

The plan of study or research should include a clear, approximate timeline that aligns with one of the Ford tenure options listed below.

Fellowships are awarded for full-time research at appropriate nonprofit institutions of higher education or research, normally in the United States, including universities, museums, libraries, government or national laboratories, privately sponsored nonprofit institutes, government chartered nonprofit research organizations, and centers for advanced study. Each applicant should designate a faculty member or other scholar who will serve as the host mentor at the proposed fellowship institution. The applicant is responsible for making all arrangements for affiliation with the proposed host institution prior to submitting an application.

Fellowship applicants are encouraged to choose a host institution other than the institution with which they are affiliated at the time of application. For applicants who propose to remain at their current institution for the postdoctoral fellowship, the rationale for and benefits to the applicant should be clearly described.

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Stipend and Benefits

  • One-year stipend: $50,000
  • Fellowship funds may be disbursed through the employing institution if necessary for the continuation of health insurance or other benefits. No dependency allowance is available.
  • An invitation to attend the Conference of Ford Fellows
  • Access to Ford Fellow Regional Liaisons -- a network of former Ford Fellows who have volunteered to provide mentoring and support to current Fellows -- and access to other networking resources

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Each Fellow is expected to begin tenure on June 1 (for 12 months) or September 1 (for 9 or 12 months) of the year in which the award is received. Postdoctoral fellowships may not be deferred or delayed.

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Conditions of the Fellowship

Those who accept a postdoctoral fellowship must agree to the stipulations in the Terms of Appointment for Ford Foundation Fellows that accompany the award notification. In addition, Ford Fellows must agree to participate in regular updates of the Directory of Ford Fellows, as well as periodic surveys designed to demonstrate the impact of this program.