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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
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Am I eligible for an NRC Research Associateship award?
Eligibility varies by sponsoring laboratory and some laboratories have citizenship restrictions. To determine your eligibility, review the general Eligibility Criteria as well as the specific criteria of the program to which you are applying

Are NRC Research Associateship awards only for postdocs?
Some sponsors offer Research Opportunities for senior, as well as postdoctoral researchers. Check the eligibility criteria for the program to which you are applying. The NETL Methane Hydrate Fellowship Program is available for applicants enrolled in master's and Ph.D. programs. The Davies Teaching Fellowships offer opportunities to combine teaching with research at a federal laboratory. 

What are the deadline dates for each review?

    Online Application Opens    
Application Deadline* (5 PM ET)
December 1
February 1
March 1
May 1 
June 1
August 1 
September 1
November 1 

*If a deadline falls on a weekend or federal holiday, the deadline is moved to the next business day.

Must I already have my degree to apply?
You can apply before receiving your degree; however, all degree requirements must be met prior to beginning tenure. 

Which Agencies accept Foreign Nationals?
To view Agencies which accept Foreign Nationals, view the Participating Agencies page.

Terms of an Associateship Award

What are the terms of an Associateship award?
An NRC Research Associate receives a stipend, health insurance, and a travel allowance. A relocation allowance is also available for those who qualify. The stipend and travel allowance vary by sponsoring agency. Applicants should check the specific agency details to determine these amounts.

What is the length of an Associateship award?
Most awards are for one year and are renewable for up to three years. Some awards are initially two years. Applicants should check the specific agency details to determine the initial term of the award.

Can an Associateship award pay for research done at my current institution?
Associateships are awarded to individuals to do research on-site only at sponsoring laboratories and affiliated institutions participating in the program

Is my Associateship award categorized as employment? Who is considered to be my employer?
Associateship awards to postdoctoral and senior researchers under the NRC Research Associateship Programs are characterized as non-compensatory grants. Since you are conducting independent research at a host laboratory, you are not considered an employee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine or the federal laboratory.

Applying for an Associateship Award

What do I need to do before applying?
Prior to applying, you must identify a prospective Adviser and a Research Opportunity. You must contact the Adviser before applying to ensure mutual interest in hosting you as an NRC Research Associate.

How do I apply for an Associateship award?
The application is completed online. Prior to applying, prospective applicants should read the Navigating the Online Application and How to Apply pages. 

What required documents are uploaded to the application?

Uploads include the following:

  • Academic Transcripts (not required for Senior applicants)
  • Dissertation Abstract (not required for Senior applicants)
  • Statement of Previous and Current Research
  • List of Publications and Presentations
  • Research Proposal
  • Letters of Recommendation

What should I include in my Research Proposal?
Refer to the Research Proposal section of the Application Instructions and Requirements.

What are the formatting guidelines for uploads?
Documents to be uploaded must be in .pdf format, double-spaced, in a standard typeface no smaller than 12-point font, 1” margins top and bottom and .5" margins on the left and right.

  • Dissertation Abstract –  maximum 1 page
  • Previous and Current Research – maximum 4 pages
  • List of Publications – maximum 2 pages
  • Research Proposal – maximum 10 pages

Am I permitted to list a reference who is employed at the agency to which I am applying?
Letter writers may not be employed in any capacity, or any location, of the agency to which you are applying unless they have served as mentors or collaborators on research performed while the applicant was a student, postdoc, or faculty member.

How do my letter writers submit their letters?
After adding your references, you must click Notify to send a notification through the online application system. Your letter writer will then receive an e-mail with a unique link to your application where they can upload their letter.

Can my letter writer send their letter via e-mail or postal mail?
All letters of recommendation must uploaded via the online application module by the letter writer. Letters sent via e-mail or postal mail will not be accepted. If your letter writer is having difficulty uploading their letter, please ask them to send an e-mail to

How can I monitor the receipt of my letters of recommendation?
Sign in to your online application and select Data Review under the Applications section of your application to view the status of your letters. 

Will I be notified when my application is complete?

No. Before submitting your application, check its completeness by selecting Validate & Submit in the left navigation of the application module. You will not be able to submit your application until all required fields and uploads have been completed. Once you have successfully submitted your application, your application will indicate its submitted status. 

Are all submitted applications reviewed?
It is at the discretion of the laboratory whether or not to recommend a submitted application for review. To increase the likelihood of having your application approved for review, please discuss your application and research proposal with your proposed Research Adviser prior to submitting the application. The proposed Research Adviser may suggest revisions to improve a proposal's scientific or technical quality or to provide better integration into the research mission of the agency or center. Determining if a proposal is viable based on either funding availability or research scope is left to the agency.

How are applications reviewed?

Applications are reviewed by panels of experts in the discipline area of your proposal. Reviewers include leading researchers in science, engineering, and technology from academia, government, and industry.

What criteria are applied to the review?
Refer to the Review Criteria.

How do I get feedback on the review of my application?
You may check the status of your application online. Your scores and comments will be available approximately six to eight weeks after the application deadline. 

What happens after the review is completed?
If you passed the review, you are then eligible for an award and the agency may select you if funding is available. Agency decisions are based your relative rank among other applicants and additional factors including importance of your proposed work to the mission of the agency.

How long does the award decision process take?
The process varies by agency. In some cases it could be very soon after the review but more typically it will be six to eight weeks after the review is finalized. Decisions where funding is in question may take longer.

Who notifies me if I am selected to receive an award?
In most cases, you will be notified by the Fellowships Office of the National Academies regarding an award offer. For applicants to NIST Research Opportunities, notification will come directly from NIST.

If I do not receive an award when can I reapply?
Candidates who were recommended for an award by the panels but who were not offered an award because of funding or other limitations may reapply at any time without a mandatory waiting time.

Applicants who do not pass the review must wait one year to reapply and are encouraged to read the comments of reviewers to improve their application prior to reapplying.

I have previously held an NRC Research Associateship. Am I eligible to apply for another award?
Persons who have previously held an NRC Research Associateship may apply for another award only if a period of at least two years will have elapsed between termination of the first award and the proposed tenure of a second.

Can I use transcripts from a previous review?
Transcripts can be carried over without any restrictions if there are no changes. You should ensure that the most current version of your transcript has been uploaded to your application prior to the application deadline. Applications with out-of-date transcripts will be deemed incomplete and will not be considered for review.
Can I use letters of recommendation from a previous review?
Letter writers may use a previous letter; however, they must re-upload their letter on your behalf by the application deadline.

How many Agencies can I apply to in each review?
You can apply to a maximum of three different Agencies (e.g. AFRL, NRL, EPA, NOAA) and only to one opportunity per agency in each review.

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