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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
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February Review: February 1
May Review: May 1
August Review: August 1
November Review: November 1

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

The online application system will close on the deadline date at 5:00 PM Eastern Time. All application components, including letters of recommendation, must be submitted by this deadline. Access to the online application system will not be available to applicants and letter writers after this time.

General Guidelines and Advance Preparation
  • Provide all information requested on the application web pages. Follow instructions carefully when preparing and uploading sections on Previous and Current Research and the Research Proposal
  • Allow sufficient time to obtain and upload current versions of transcripts (not required for senior applicants).
  • Contact letter writers in advance, allowing sufficient time to submit letters of recommendation.

Formatting, Uploading, and Viewing Documents
  • Save as .pdf files prior to upload.
  • 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.
  • Do not upload secured, password protected, or encrypted files as reviewers will not be able view these documents.
  • View each document after upload to ensure it is the appropriate file, complete, current, and legible.

A complete application includes the materials described below. All components must be received by the application deadline stated above. Applications with missing, incomplete, out of date, or ineligible materials will not be considered for review.

1. Profile Information (items in bold are required)

Prior to completing an application, the following profile information must be entered.
  • Contact information, demographic information, confidential information
Note: Contact, demographic, and confidential information will not be shared with application reviewers.
  • Education history (name, location, enrolled date, degree awarded/expected, and research field for all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended or currently attending as of the current review cycle)

  • Transcripts

    • General guidelines

      • Postdoctoral applicants must upload transcripts from all post-secondary (undergraduate and graduate) institutions attended. Senior applicants are not required to upload transcripts.
      • Transcripts may be unofficial but must be current and must include all coursework (including any in-progress coursework) as well as the degree being pursued. (If selected for an award, an official doctoral transcript including the date of the degree must be sent from the institution directly to the Fellowships Office.)
      • If any institution does not calculate a GPA or the applicant prefers not to enter it, it is not required.
      • For degrees already earned, transcripts must include the date of the degree awarded.
      • Applicants who have applied in a previous review must ensure they have uploaded the most up-to-date version of their transcripts to their application prior to the application deadline. 
      • Transcripts should not include Personal Identifying Information (PII). Applicants should redact, cover, or remove any complete Social Security numbers and their date of birth prior to uploading the document. Staff may delete transcripts from your application if these data are present. 
      • Transcripts may not be secured, password protected, or encrypted files as reviewers will not be able view these documents.

    • Transcripts from non-U.S. institutions

      • Transcripts issued in a language other than English must be accompanied by a certified translation into English.
      • Transcripts must include a description of the institution’s grading system.
      • Postdoctoral applicants who are pursuing or hold a degree from a non-U.S. institution that does not issue transcripts must upload an official letter from their institution including the following information:
        • Statement that the institution does not issue transcripts
        • Applicant's dates of enrollment at the institution
        • Degree applicant received and date it was awarded or confirmation that applicant is currently enrolled in a doctoral program and anticipated award date
      • Postdoctoral applicants who are pursuing or hold a degree from a non-U.S. institution that does not require coursework for obtaining a degree must upload proof of their degree (e.g. a degree certificate) accompanied by an official letter from their institution including the following information:
        • Statement that the institution does not require coursework for the degree
        • Applicant's dates of enrollment at the institution
        • Degree applicant received and date it was awarded or confirmation that applicant is currently enrolled in a doctoral program and anticipated award date

  • Employment history

  • Honors and awards

  • Profile Uploads

    • Dissertation Abstract (maximum 1 page; not required for Senior applicants)

    • Previous and Current Research: Description (maximum 4 pages)

    • Provide a concise description of all research investigations conducted within the past five years. Include information on where, when, and with whom these investigations were carried out.

    • Previous Research: List of Publications and Presentations (maximum 2 pages, single-spaced within each entry and double-spaced between entries)
Include a list of publications and presentations for the past five years, listed in the order below, using the following section headings for each type of publication:

1. Refereed journal articles including refereed conference proceedings
2. Non-refereed articles, including books/book chapters, proceedings, technical reports
3. Patents
4. Presentations
Citations for publications should include the following:

1. Author(s)
2. Year of publication (or Accepted, Under Review, Submitted, In Preparation)
3. Title of article
4. Full name of journal, book, proceedings, etc.
5. Volume number or date of publication, if applicable
6. Page number(s), if applicable

If your document exceeds the maximum specified length, please include only the most important publications. 

2. Application Materials (items in bold are required)
  • Research Opportunity number, opportunity Research Adviser (applicants must contact the proposed Research Adviser prior to applying), tenure length, agency affiliation (If you are or have been affiliated with the agency to which you are applying, review the Eligibility Criteria to determine if you are still eligible to apply.) If you have questions about eligibility related to prior affiliation, please contact
  • Proposal title, proposal abstract, anticipated research needs, keywords (at least three) 
    In the proposal abstract, clearly state the problem to be studied and its importance to the host agency.

  • Research Proposal (maximum 10 pages, including citations, graphs, figures, and photos) 
The Research Proposal reflects your thinking and design of an original research project that is within the scope of the Research Opportunity to which you are applying. The Research Proposal should be innovative, technically sound, and feasible to complete in a 2-3 year period of time. The outcome of the proposed research should be new information that can be published in the peer-reviewed literature and that will further knowledge in a field of science or engineering. The proposal must represent the applicant's own intellectual effort; however, 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.

When preparing the proposal, include the following key elements and identify each section with the following headings:

Statement of the problem

Write a clear and concise statement describing the subject area of your research and what you hope to accomplish.

Background and relevance to previous work

Briefly review the relevant literature as it pertains to your stated problem. Describe how previous work, by you and others, has led to the research that you propose to perform. Discuss any technological developments that have contributed to the state of knowledge that will allow you to conduct this research.

General methodology

Provide sufficient detail of your plan of work such that knowledgeable reviewers can evaluate whether the work you plan is technically sound. Whenever possible, refer to published methods. Include analytical methods that will be used to interpret or evaluate results (e.g. statistical methods). If the proposed research involves the use of animal or human subjects, a statistical discussion of the number of animals (or human subjects) relative to the validity of the results should be included. Make sure you provide an overall timeline for completion of the research within the projected length of the fellowship.

New or unusual methods

If your research will include new methods or methods that are not likely to be generally known in the discipline, provide additional detail that documents the feasibility of these methods in the context of your proposed research.

Expected results, significance, and application

Describe the results that you hope to obtain, including any contingencies that might apply if unexpected results are obtained or methodologies fail. Describe the significance of these results and how they might be used in practical application to problems of interest to the agency to which you are applying. If your proposed research does not have obvious practical applications in the short term, explain how the work will advance knowledge in the field that will eventually lead to practical application.

Literature cited (may be single-spaced)

Provide citations to all published work that is cited your proposal.
  • References

  • Names and contact information of a minimum of 3 (maximum 5) individuals who will upload a letter of recommendation on the applicant's behalf.

    • Postdoctoral applicants must include their dissertation adviser as one of their required references.
    • Letter writers should be acquainted with the applicant's academic and professional background. At least two should be persons the applicant has recently worked with in their major field.
    • Letter writers may not be employed in any capacity or any location of the agency to which the applicant is applying unless the letter writers have served as mentors or collaborators on research performed while the applicant was a student, postdoc, or faculty member. If you have selected a letter writer who is employed at the agency to which you are applying, you must send an email to explaining why you selected this person to write a letter and your relationship to the letter writer. Letters submitted by ineligible letter writers will be removed from the application and will not be counted towards the number of required letters for the application.
    • Applications with an insufficient number of letters of recommendation or missing the dissertation adviser letter will be deemed incomplete and will not be considered for review.
    • It is the responsibility of the applicant to notify their letter writers through the online application system. Letter writers will receive instructions on the content of their letters and they must upload their letters via the online application module by the application deadline. The Fellowships Office will not accept hard copy letters or letters sent as e-mail attachments. 

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.
  • For additional information or questions, contact