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Terms of Appointment - Postdoctoral Fellowships

The goals of the Ford Foundation Fellowships are to increase the diversity of the nation’s college and university faculties by increasing their ethnic and racial diversity, to maximize the educational benefits of diversity, and to increase the number of professors who can and will use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students.

The Ford Foundation Fellowships at the postdoctoral level are intended to identify and facilitate the academic, intellectual, and professional development of individuals who have demonstrated superior scholarship, are committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level, 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.

Postdoctoral fellowships are intended for individuals awarded a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) degree in an eligible research-based discipline (the fields of behavioral and social sciences, humanities, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, and life sciences) no earlier than seven (7) years prior to the Ford Fellowship application deadline.

Conditions of Awards

By accepting this award, individuals are affirming that their career goals include teaching and research at the college or university level.

By accepting this award, Fellows are confirming that they will work full-time on the Proposed Plan of Study or Research for which the fellowship was awarded at the institution specified in the application. Funds accepted and used for purposes other than those stated in the postdoctoral fellowship application must be returned.

Prior to the start of fellowship tenure, the Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow must provide the Fellowships Office of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine with a letter from the proposed host mentor, affirming that the postdoctoral Fellow plans to complete the work as outlined in the Proposed Plan of Study or Research with the host mentor's collaboration during the academic year for which the award is made. The letter should include arrangements for on-campus resources as applicable, including office space, professional networks, and access to libraries, archives, and other facilities. Letters must be uploaded to the Ford Fellows web module or sent electronically to

A delay in receipt by the Fellowships Office of required documentation may result in a delay in the receipt of stipend payments.

If the Fellow’s appointment is temporarily suspended or terminated, funds received after the date of suspension or termination must be returned.

Acceptance of the fellowship affirms that the information contained in the fellowship application and supporting documents is true and accurate to the best of the individual’s knowledge.

Fellows are expected to conform to their institution’s established policies, procedures, codes of conduct, and health and safety requirements as they pertain to faculty members and/or postdoctoral fellows.

Major Changes

Any Fellow who changes their plans with regard to the institution identified in their application should consult the Fellowships Office prior to accepting the award. Major changes in the Proposed Plan of Study or Research require prior approval by the Fellowships Office. Failure to notify the Fellowships Office of an intended change may result in the forfeiture of the fellowship. Requests for approval regarding major changes must be sent in writing to

Fellowship Tenure and Stipend

Postdoctoral Fellows have the option of selecting a tenure period that is 9 or 12 months. Postdoctoral Fellows may begin tenure on:

1. June 1st for 12 months,

2. September 1st for 9 months, if they may have other sources of funding for summer months, or

3. September 1st for 12 months.

If the awardee knows with certainty that they cannot use the full amount of support at the time of the award, they are not eligible for the fellowship.

Tenure and stipend schedule are determined when a Fellow accepts the Ford Foundation Fellowship award. The information entered by the Fellow may be changed up to the 15th day of the month prior to the start date (e.g., August 15 for a September 1 start). To change tenure or stipend schedule, please contact

Stipend: A stipend of $50,000 is paid directly to the Fellow in monthly installments during the tenure year. Fellows should determine whether payments will be disbursed directly to the Fellow or to their institution.

Stipend funds disbursed by an academic institution must be distributed to the Fellow in full within the Fellow's selected tenure period. Any undisbursed funds remaining after the conclusion of the tenure period must be returned.

There is no dependency allowance, institutional grant, or travel allowance provided as part of the postdoctoral fellowship award.

Concurrent Awards and Employment

Fellows on tenure are expected to devote full time effort to the Proposed Plan of Study or Research. Continued or supplemental funding from an affiliated institution, including continued health insurance and benefits, is encouraged. Institutions are encouraged to provide supplementation to the Ford Fellowship stipend up to typical institutional fellowship or faculty stipends or salaries. Such funding, however, must not carry with it teaching or other similar institutional responsibilities that detract from full-time effort devoted to the fellowship. The intent of the Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship is to provide support to advance the career of the Fellow, by allowing them to pursue a Fellowship Proposed Plan of  Study or Research, which would not be otherwise possible based on existing resources.

Fellows requesting supplementary funding from their current institution may obtain a letter from the Fellowships Office to support their request. Please contact if you wish to obtain such a letter. A Ford Foundation Fellow may not accept a stipend from another major fellowship or similar internal and external awards while on Ford Foundation Fellowship tenure. Fellows receiving support from multiple sources are urged to discuss and negotiate the terms of the funding with all funding agencies, including the Fellowships Office, and their institution.

Leave of Absence

A Fellow on tenure may need to request a "leave of absence" from the Fellowship for personal or family medical events that prevent the Fellow from pursuing their program of study. During an approved leave of absence, and at the request of the Fellow, the fellowship tenure and stipend may be continued for a period of up to six weeks from the beginning of an approved leave of absence. For any additional time required away from the fellowship, tenure and stipend payments will be suspended until the Fellow resumes their Proposed Plan of Study or Research. Fellows requesting a paid or unpaid leave of absence must contact Reinstatement or continuation of tenure and stipend payments after the leave period concludes is contingent upon the Fellow providing any requested documentation of reinstatement in their postdoctoral program to the Fellowships Office.

Health Insurance

No health insurance is provided through the fellowship award.


A Ford Foundation Fellowship award is considered income from a non-compensatory fellowship or scholarship. The Fellowships Office is not required to report payments on IRS Form W-2 or 1099-MISC and will not send Fellows an official tax form. Fellows should contact a tax professional or a local Internal Revenue Service office to determine their individual tax liability.

Reporting Requirements

Fellows are required to submit two reports during the tenure year. These include a mid-year progress report and a final report. If Fellows are encountering any difficulties at their institutions or in receiving fellowship funds, they are encouraged to contact the Fellowships Office before submitting a mid-year report. Failure to submit required reports may result in stipend payment suspension until the requirements are fulfilled.

Fellows are required to maintain up-to-date contact information in the Ford Fellows web module during and after the term of their fellowship to allow the Ford Foundation to track progress and facilitate professional interaction, enrichment and participation among Fellows. In addition, Fellows may be asked to complete periodic surveys which assist the Ford Foundation in evaluating the effectiveness of this program.

Conference of Ford Fellows

The Conference of Ford Fellows brings together newly awarded predoctoral, dissertation, and postdoctoral Fellows, along with a group of past Fellows who plan and lead the Conference. The conference provides opportunities for an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas and opportunities to identify mentors and peers from across the country. The Fellowships Office also invites representatives from a selection of university and commercial publishers as well as from other funding sources.

New Fellows will be invited to attend the Conference of Ford Fellows in the fall of their award year. Pending the availability of funds, support may be provided for a second annual Conference the following year. The Ford Foundation will cover domestic travel, hotel accommodations, and other eligible travel expenses for in-person Conferences.

Regional Liaisons

Regional Liaisons are past Ford Fellows who volunteer to serve as sounding boards and senior mentors to Fellows. For contact information, visit the Regional Liaisons webpage. In particular, new Fellows are encouraged to avail themselves of this valuable resource.


Neither the National Academy of Sciences nor the Ford Foundation assumes any liability or responsibility whatsoever for the payment of any compensation with regard to a Fellow's possible involvement in any accident or incident causing injury to other persons or damage to property.

Neither the National Academy of Sciences nor the Ford Foundation assumes any responsibility to the Fellow or their dependents for any compensation for injury, disability, or death of the Fellow during the tenure of the fellowship or travel to and from the institution.

Program and Award Administration

The Fellowships Office of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine administers the program and follows the progress of Fellows' work. Inquiries concerning all aspects of program and award administration should be directed to:

The Fellowships Office

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth Street, N.W. Keck 576
Washington, D.C. 20001
Tel: (202) 334 2860