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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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Receiving a Jefferson Science Fellowship (JSF) is considered a significant honor, both for the individual, and for their academic institution. The program is structured as a partnership between the U.S. academic community and the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development, designed to meet the challenges of science and technology in foreign policy and international development.

To formalize the respective responsibilities of that partnership, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) must be executed between the applicant's academic institution and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). The MOU stipulates the conditions of the fellowship for the Fellow, the academic institution, and NAS, and an MOU must be in place for an applicant to be considered as a finalist in the annual competition. Please note that NAS considers a signed MOU, once executed, valid for future applicants from that academic institution.¹ However, it is strongly recommended that each applicant discuss their situation with their academic institution prior to applying to the Fellowship to confirm institutional support for their specific situation.

Please email to determine if your institution currently holds an MOU, to request a copy of the MOU template, or to confirm any other details of a current MOU. Fully executed MOU's will be returned to the institution via email and/or postal mail after the MOU submission deadline.

MOU Requirements for the Application
It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that an active MOU is in place or a new MOU has been executed before the final stage of the JSF selection process. Applicants who are selected as finalists, but do not have an MOU in place from their institution, are not eligible for further consideration. NAS staff can assist with the completion process, but applicants must initiate and ensure completion of the process with their institution. It is recommended that applicants begin the process as early as possible during the application period.

If your academic institution does not currently hold an MOU with NAS and you would like to initiate one, contact

By signing the MOU, the academic institution agrees to continue to pay the Fellow’s salary and benefits and retain all rights and privileges associated with the Fellow’s academic position. 

For Academic Institutions
Academic institutions should execute an MOU in anticipation of faculty submitting applications in the current application cycle or in future application cycles. Contact to initiate the process.

By signing the MOU, the institution agrees to continue to pay the Fellow’s salary and benefits and retain all rights and privileges associated with the Fellow’s academic position. It is strongly recommended that specific details of this agreement be discussed between the institution and the faculty member before applying for the fellowship.

If your institution currently holds an MOU, you are encouraged to notify faculty of the opportunity or nominate faculty to serve as a Jefferson Science Fellow. Any nomination process will be internal to your institution; however, recruiting materials can be provided upon request. Please contact with your institution's specific needs.

 ¹The current MOU format was used beginning in the 2016 competition (executed no earlier than August 2015). If you are unsure about whether a past MOU is still valid, please contact to confirm, as we regret that we will not be able to accept outdated MOUs for current competitions.