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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Jefferson Science Fellowship
Fellowships Office
Policy and Global Affairs
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I am interested in applying for this fellowship, but I am not sure if I am competitive. 

Prospective applicants can refer to biographies and profiles of past Jefferson Science Fellows to compare qualifications. While academic stature is an important consideration in selection, other factors are of equal importance (see Eligibility and Selection Criteria). Candidates will be asked to articulate important issues in science, technology, engineering, and medicine that impact foreign policy and/or international development and to demonstrate an understanding of how their knowledge could be used to inform decision-making.

I am interested in applying, or a colleague is interested in applying, but we do not know if our university holds a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). How can we find out?

E-mail and you should receive an answer within a few days.

Will I receive a salary and benefits during the fellowship?

The Jefferson Science Fellowship will not provide a Fellow with salary or benefits while serving on assignment at the Department of State or USAID. As part of the application process, an applicant’s home institution will need to sign an agreement (Memorandum of Understanding) with NAS that confirms institutional support for the applicant should they be selected for the fellowship. That agreement stipulates that the Fellow’s home institution will maintain the Fellow’s salary and benefits while on the 12 months assignment, as is usually the case when tenured faculty take a sabbatical year.

What resources are available to Fellows through the Jefferson Science Fellows (JSF) program?

A Fellow who did not live in the Washington, DC metro area before they are awarded the fellowship will be eligible for reimbursement of select local living expenses up to a fixed amount over the 12-month period (approximately $50,000). Travel funds may also be provided by the Fellow’s bureau or office. A Fellow who lives in the Washington, DC metro area before they are awarded the fellowship is not eligible to claim expenses for being located in DC.

Will I be required to relocate to the Washington, DC metro area to carry out the fellowship?

Relocating to the Washington, DC metro area is expected. All Fellows should be prepared to move to Washington, DC for the full 12 months of their fellowship year. While in DC, a Fellow is exposed to many people and activities that are critical parts of the Fellowship experience. However, health and safety concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic have compelled greater flexibility around virtual and in-person work. Ultimately it is at the discretion of the host office whether a Fellow will be allowed to perform any of their work virtually. This decision takes into consideration many factors including but not limited to whether the host office has returned to in-person work, the nature of the assignment, required access to sensitive information, health and safety, and a Fellow’s needs and preferences.

What is the timeline for the JSF program selection process?

The timeline can be viewed here. 

Why is there such a long period of time between the selection of Fellows and the Fellows' start date?

Once Fellows are selected for a JSF award, they must go through a U.S. government security clearance process that can take anywhere from 2 to 12 months. To ensure that Fellows can begin a productive fellowship year in mid-August (to coincide with the academic calendar), Fellows are selected in early 2023.

Do Jefferson Fellows get placed in an office at the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) or do they get to choose their assignment there?

The placement process at the U.S. Department of State or USAID is similar to a job interview process. Participating bureaus and offices will express their interest in certain finalists, and appointments will be scheduled for these finalists to meet with individuals from these bureaus and offices during Interview Week. Work statements from all participating offices and bureaus will be provided to finalists, and finalists will be able make arrangements for additional interviews with offices and bureaus that have indicated their availability. Most finalists will meet with several different bureaus and offices during Interview Week; however, final placement and an award offer depends on mutual interest between each party and with guidance from the Office of the Science and Technology Adviser and USAID. This process ensures that Fellows are placed in the best possible position within the U.S. Department of State or USAID.

Which bureaus and offices within the U.S. Department of State and USAID have had opportunities for Jefferson Science Fellows?

A list of U.S. Department of State bureaus and offices can be found here.

A list of USAID bureaus and offices can be found here

For a more comprehensive look at Jefferson Fellows' experiences at the U.S. Department of State or USAID, visit Jefferson Fellows Bios and Profiles.