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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
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POSTDOCTORAL APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS

 

Deadlines

Application: December 10, 2019 at 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST)
Supplementary Materials: January 7, 2020 at 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST)

PLEASE NOTE:
The application system will close promptly at 5 PM EST on the deadlines listed above. Please take the time zone into account if you or your letter writers will be submitting your application or supplementary materials from a different time zone. Please also be advised that due to a large number of applications, as the deadline approaches, server traffic may slow the ability to upload and submit files. For that reason, we strongly recommend that you and your letter writers submit your materials well in advance of the deadline. We cannot consider requests for extensions for anyone (applicants or letter writers) who is unable to submit by the deadlines stated above.

If you have further questions not covered by the instructions below, please visit the FAQ page for more information regarding the fellowship and application process. 

General Guidelines and Advance Preparation
  • Provide all information requested on the application web pages. Follow the instructions carefully.
  • Prepare and upload essay documents.
    • Essays must be the applicant's original work.
    • Get feedback from advisers, mentors, and colleagues.
    • Carefully proofread all documents.
    • Avoid technical jargon.
  • Contact potential letter writers to submit letters of recommendation and a host commitment letter by the Supplementary Materials deadline.
  • Confirm the minimum Supplementary Materials required for complete application submission.
Formatting Documents
  • Save in .pdf file format prior to upload.
  • Do not use long file names or special characters in file names.
  • Double-space using a standard 12-point font.
  • Set margins at 1" (top and bottom) and .5" (left and right sides)
  • Do not exceed the maximum page limits.
  • Do not exceed the maximum file size limit (4 MB).
  • Do not include headers or footers.
  • Write all materials in English.
Audience

Each application will be reviewed by two to five reviewers. Not all reviewers will have specific technical expertise; therefore, applications should be written to provide informative detail without jargon and highly technical content.

Application Components (items in bold are required)

A complete application includes the materials described below. Failure to complete any part of the application, including essays and all requested supplemental materials, will result in removal of the application from the competition. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all uploaded documents are accurate, legible, and complete and that they comply to the formatting requirements listed above.

  1. Profile Information 

    Contact information, demographic information, education history (name, location, enrolled date, degree received, and research field for all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended or currently attending as of fall 2019), employment history, honors, and awards  
Education history (including Ph.D. or Sc.D. institution) must be entered here correctly. Entering incomplete or incorrect information may result in missing documents (transcripts and a verification form, if applicable).

Applicants are encouraged to enter any employment starting from the time period of their undergraduate studies. This may include unpaid work, internships, outreach efforts, or volunteer activities.

Note: Contact and demographic information will not be shared with application reviewers.

  1. Application 
Eligibility

Eligibility Checklist: citizenship, future career goals, Ph.D. or Sc.D. degree completion 


The completion date must align with the eligibility requirements.

Membership in Historically Underrepresented Groups: Indicate if you identify as one of the listed groups. This information is collected here for statistical purposes only and is not an eligibility requirement. Applicants who identify as a member of one of the groups should include that information in the Personal Statement.

Application Main

Proposed Plan of Study: Proposed Title for Research Project, Proposed Institution, Department, Adviser/Mentor

Field of Study:

Primary Field of Study, Secondary Field(s) of Study. This information is used to match applications to appropriate review panels.

Keywords: Enter 3-5 keywords, one at a time. Click Assign new keyword and type the desired keyword in the search field. If your keyword appears, click on it from the list to update your keywords. If your keyword does not appear, click Add to update your keywords.
 
Essays (Citations are not required, but if used, they may be single-spaced and will be included in the total page count. Applicants should use a standard bibliographic format appropriate to their field.)

Personal Statement (maximum two pages, 12-point font, double-spaced) describing the applicant’s background and experience and commitment to the goals of the Ford Foundation Fellowship Programs by addressing all of the following that apply:
  • the applicant’s capacity to respond in pedagogically productive ways to the learning needs of students from diverse backgrounds
  • the applicant’s sustained personal engagement with communities that are underrepresented in the academy and ability to bring this asset to learning, teaching, and scholarship at the college or university level
  • the applicant’s likelihood of using the diversity of human experience as an educational resource in teaching and scholarship, and
  • the applicant's 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 (Hawaiian/Polynesian/Micronesian)
    • Puerto Ricans 
Applicants should describe their past and ongoing community service efforts such as: 
    • Tutoring and mentoring students in challenging environments
    • Participation in housing or public service projects
    • Leadership and organizational skills that benefit a larger community
      • Campus-based student activities
      • Language teaching
      • Involvement in professional organizations that serve the community
Applicants should note anything in their background that speaks to their unique perspective:
    • Membership of a group designated by the Ford Foundation Fellowship Programs as currently underrepresented in the American professoriate
    • Membership of another underserved group
    • First person or generation in family to achieve college degree or seek advanced degree
Applicants may also cite the following:
    • Teaching methods and academic interests that are inclusive and sensitive to diversity
    • Any successes that can be attributed to using new techniques to create an inclusive and respectful teaching and learning environment
    • Personal goals, both long-standing and future-focused, that involve increasing understanding in the college or university setting and are in the broader context
    • Employment that demonstrates a long-standing commitment to diversity and depth of understanding of a multicultural society
    • Efforts to improve access and opportunity for all, particularly in one's local community (neighborhood, place of worship, geographic region)
Statement of Previous Research and Scholarly Productivity, including a list of publications and presentations (maximum three pages, 12-point font, double-spaced; publications/presentations may be single-spaced)

Applicants should outline any previous research including:
    • Research undertaken as an undergraduate and graduate student
    • Research undertaken in academic and other job-related activities since receipt of the doctoral degree
    • Include goals, major results, and impacts of the research

    List of publications and presentations for the last five years. Items should be listed in the following order:

    • Publications in reverse chronological order
    • Presentations in reverse chronological order
Abstract of Dissertation (maximum one page, 12-point font, double-spaced)

Proposed Plan of Study or Research and long-range career goals (maximum three pages, 12-point font, double-spaced)

Applicants should prepare a document describing the study or research they expect to undertake if awarded a fellowship.
    • Statement of hypothesis and how proposed study relates to the current body of research, providing any context that will add to a better appreciation of the project and its significance
    • Description of the applicant's proposed methodology, providing (if appropriate to the field of study) information about sampling, instrumentation, data sources and collection, and analyses
    • A timeline for the completion of the project, including a description of expected results of research. Timeline should reflect one of the Ford tenure options: 9 months or 12 months (please see the Postdoctoral Fact Sheet for information about tenure starting dates and durations)
    • Explanation for choice of fellowship institution and how it will enhance the applicant's plan, the kind of assistance and support expected, and the networks and professional associations to be established
    • If required for research, indication that the applicant has received specific permissions from the host institution
    • Description of how the proposed research will facilitate and enhance the applicant's career plans and contribute to the field of study
    • Explanation of how the proposed research relates to a larger academic community and society as a whole, as well as why the study is useful
    • Applicants may wish to ask a trusted colleague to review the proposed plan (especially for substance, clarity, and organization) prior to submission
    Annotated Bibliography: Two to four sentences each for no more than ten key sources, including primary and secondary sources, which are the most important in shaping the current status of the problem which the applicant will be studying (no maximum page limit beyond the limit of the ten key sources, 12-point font, entries may be single-spaced)
  1. Supplementary Materials (required by the Supplementary Materials deadline)
References: Names and contact information of a minimum of three (maximum of five) individuals who will upload a letter of recommendation on the applicant's behalf (four letters are highly recommended).
    • While it is at the discretion of the applicant to select other individuals to write letters on their behalf, it is recommended that the following letter writers be included in the application:
      • At least one letter writer should be a colleague (e.g. department chair, division chair, or dean) in the applicant's current institution who has had an opportunity to observe the applicant's teaching and research abilities.
      • Other letter writers may be selected from within or outside the applicant's institution (e.g. recognized authorities in the applicant's field with whom the applicant is well acquainted, individuals in closely allied fields, or the applicant's thesis adviser).
      • Letters of recommendation from personal friends, clergy, medical doctors, and family members are not appropriate.
    • Each letter writer should have current knowledge of the applicant's academic and professional experience and abilities. They should be familiar with the applicant's specialized field of research and proposed research plan.
    • Applicants should provide each letter writer a copy of their essays and any other relevant information which will enable the writer to submit a strong letter on their behalf.
    • Letters must be saved in .docx or .pdf format and should be smaller than 4MB.
    • It is the responsibility of the applicant to notify their letter writers through the online application system. Once applicants take this action, letter writers will receive an e-mail notification from NASEM-FO-NoReply@nas.edu with a link to instructions on the content of their letters. Letter writers must upload their letters via the online application module. The Fellowships Office will not accept hard copy letters or letters sent as e-mail attachments.
    • It is the practice of the Ford Foundation Fellowships Program that letters of recommendation are not made available to applicants.
    It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the minimum number of letters of recommendation are submitted by the deadline. Applications with fewer than three letters of recommendation submitted by letter writers by January 7, 2020 at 5 PM EST will not be reviewed. The host commitment letter described below is in addition to the minimum number of letters of recommendation.

    Host Commitment Letter (name and contact information of host are required by application deadline)

    Postdoctoral applications must include a letter documenting the commitment of the proposed host mentor/host institution. The letter should be written by the proposed mentor or an individual who can address the commitment of the proposed fellowship institution (e.g. an administrator or department chair).
     
    The Host Commitment Letter should address the following points:
     
    • Describe how the host mentor/host institution will support the applicant’s Proposed Plan of Study or Research both intellectually and logistically, including information on the advantages that the chosen fellowship location will provide in facilitating the completion of the proposed work.
    • Confirm that the applicant has made the necessary contacts that will enable him/her to take advantage of the proposed research site, including any formal permission necessary to conduct the research.
    • State whether the host mentor/host institution will provide the necessary facilities (including any requirements for space, equipment, etc.) or materials to assist the postdoctoral Fellow in the successful completion of his/her proposed project.

    It is the responsibility of the applicant to notify the host letter writers through the online application system. Once an applicant takes this action, the host letter writer will receive an e-mail notification from NASEM-FO-NoReply@nas.edu with a link to instructions on the content of the letter, and the host letter writer must upload the letter via the online application module. The Fellowships Office will not accept hard copy letters or letters sent as e-mail attachments.

    In some cases, the host is a close mentor of the applicant and will also submit a traditional reference letter; in this case, please follow the instructions above regarding letters of recommendation for the second letter. The letter writer will receive a separate notification for each letter to be submitted.

    It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the host commitment letter is submitted by the deadline. Postdoctoral applications missing a host commitment letter by January 7, 2020 at 5 PM EST will not be reviewed.

    Transcripts
    and GPAs
     
    • Ph.D. or Sc.D. transcript showing all Ph.D. or Sc.D. courses taken, final grades for each course, and date of award of the Ph.D. or Sc.D. degree as well as GPA. (Note: If any institution does not calculate a GPA or the applicant prefers not to enter it, it is not required.)
    • Transcripts issued in a language other than English must be accompanied by a certified translation into English and must include a description of the institution’s grading system.
    • Unofficial transcripts or grade reports are acceptable for the review; however, if offered an award, applicants will be required to submit an official Ph.D. or Sc.D. transcript showing the degree with the degree receipt date.
    • Uploaded transcripts should not be secured, password protected, or encrypted files as reviewers will not be able view these documents.
    • Transcripts should not include Personal Identifying Information (PII) such as a Social Security number and date of birth (names are acceptable). Staff may delete transcripts from your application if these data are present. Applicants should redact, cover, or remove this information prior to uploading the document.
    • Transcripts from non-degree programs (including study abroad programs) or Associate degree programs are not required.
    • It is the responsibility of the applicant to upload all transcripts and to ensure transcript legibility and degree attainment dates after each document has been uploaded. Transcripts sent via postal mail or e-mail will not be accepted.
    • It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all transcripts include the most up-to-date information. Applicants re-applying to the program should note that uploaded transcripts from a previous application will carry over into the current application; however, if a transcript is outdated, the applicant must upload a current version of the document by the supplementary materials deadline. Note that any changes to the education record may result in loss of transcripts; it is the applicant’s responsibility to verify that all materials are included in the application at the time of the supplementary materials deadline.

    Applicants must ensure that the Education History section is accurate, at the time of application, to ensure that all required transcript upload fields are available in the application.

    Verification of Doctoral Degree Status (VS) Form 


    The applicant's department chair or dissertation adviser must sign the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's Verification of Doctoral Degree Status Form for applicants whose Ph.D. or Sc.D. degree is not shown as completed on the Ph.D./Sc.D. transcript. The Verification of Doctoral Degree Status Form confirms that the applicant has completed all requirements for the Ph.D./Sc.D. degree, including successful defense of the dissertation, by December 10, 2019. The signed form must be uploaded to the application as a .pdf document before the deadline of 5:00 PM Eastern Time on January 7, 2020.

    As noted above, if offered an award, applicants will be required to submit an official Ph.D. or Sc.D. transcript showing the degree with the degree receipt date.

    Applicants must ensure that the Eligibility section is accurate, at the time of application, to ensure that a verification form upload field is available on the Supplementary Materials section of the application.  
Additional Information
  • All application materials become the property of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and will not be returned. Applicants should retain copies of all submitted application materials for their personal records.
  • Visit the Helpful Resources page for more information regarding preparing an application.
  • For additional information or questions, contact FordApplications@nas.edu.
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