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Jefferson Science Fellowships

“Just as in the days of Franklin and Jefferson, American scientists and diplomats share a common goal today: They both seek to apply the best knowledge we have to the most significant challenges we face. This is the spirit of science. This is the spirit of freedom that animates America and inspires our thinkers and scientists to improve the lives of their fellow human beings. I look to our new Jefferson Fellows and to all the men and women of America's scientific community to help us in government build a safer, healthier and better world.”
– Secretary of State Colin Powell, 2004

“…We’re at an inflection point, one where the decisions that we’re making over the next few years will shape not just those next few years but decades to come. And that is certainly true – maybe no more true than for science and technology. So fellowships like the ones that we’re celebrating today are not only a vital part of our past as we celebrate the trajectory we have been on and the long history; they’re not only a part of our present as so many of you in this room are; they’re critical to our future.
We need your good ideas, your innovation, your expertise, so that we can help solving big challenges, so that we can continue our work of trying to build a world that’s a little bit safer, a little bit more secure, a little bit more prosperous, a little bit more full of opportunity for our own fellow citizens here in the United States and for people everywhere.”
-Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, 2023

Established in 2003 by the Secretary of State, the Jefferson Science Fellowships serve as an innovative model for engaging the American science, engineering, and medical communities in the U.S. foreign policy and international development process through a one-year immersive experience at the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Jefferson Science Fellowships are a mutually beneficial partnership between government and participating U.S. academic institutions. These fellowships are open to tenured, or similarly ranked, faculty from U.S. institutions of higher learning who are U.S. citizens. After successfully obtaining a security clearance, Fellows are embedded in an office at the U.S. Department of State or USAID where they can expect to learn the foreign policy and international development process while contributing their technical expertise to policy formulation and implementation.

Fellows can expect to become conversant in the operations and processes of the U.S. Department of State or USAID and will complement existing staff while being provided the opportunity to contribute their expertise on teams managing rapidly evolving foreign policy and international development issues. Fellow placements vary each year and are designed in consultation with host offices within the U.S. Department of State or USAID.

After completing the fellowship, faculty return to an academic career with a deeper understanding of the impact of science and technology in foreign policy, diplomacy, and international development to augment their research and teaching. Upon mutual agreement, Fellows may remain consultants for their host office, further strengthening the partnership between government and the U.S. academic community.

Recruiting Fellows who reflect the diversity of the American people is a high priority. America’s diversity is a source of strength that few countries can match. The more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible the diplomatic and international development communities, the stronger, smarter, and more creative the response will be to the challenges of the 21st Century.

As we celebrate more than 20 years of the Jefferson Science Fellowships, we again extend the call to serve to the academic scientific community. Additional information on the Jefferson Science Fellowships activities can be found here.

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Host Agency Offices

Select the sponsoring agencies below to learn more about host office placements for the Jefferson Science Fellowships.

Website: https://www.state.gov

The United States Department of State was founded in 1789 and is responsible for U.S. foreign relations and diplomatic policy. The Department is responsible for staffing the United States’ 271 diplomatic posts worldwide, along with negotiating international agreements and treaties, representing the United States at international organizations like the United Nations, and maintaining global relations with other countries. With a workforce of over 78,000 people around the world, professionals lead efforts intimately informed by science and technology. As global challenges, such as climate change and global health security, grow increasingly more present, the role of science, technology, and innovation is expanding within the Department, providing an important role for expert practitioners to play. The Jefferson Science Fellowships (JSF) are managed by the Office of the Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary (STAS). 

Areas of Expertise

Fellows bring a broad range of scientific and technical expertise and have worked on issue sets including climate change, global health security, semiconductors, food security and agriculture, internal training and curriculum development, embassy construction and disaster resilience, artificial intelligence, and countering violent extremism. Applicants from a broad array of backgrounds and diversity of geographic, disciplinary, gender and ethnic perspectives, underrepresented groups, and underrepresented disciplines are also strongly encouraged to apply. Below is a list of some areas of expertise that align with overarching priorities of the Administration, the Secretary, and core focus areas in the Department. These are not designed to disqualify potential applicants outside of these areas but rather to highlight the expertise in greatest need to support current priorities.

  • Emerging Technologies (AI, quantum, biotechnology), Digital Policy, Advanced Telecommunications, and Cyberspace Issues
  • Global Food Security
  • Global Health Security
  • Climate, Environment, and Energy
  • Critical Minerals
  • Arms Control and Non-Proliferation
  • Economics
  • Psychology/Behavioral Science
  • Disinformation/Misinformation
  • Humanitarian Assistance/Migration (includes human rights, countering violent extremism)

Organizational Chart: The current organizational chart for the Department of State can be found here. A limited number of Fellows can be hosted by the Department each year, so opportunities for placement will be contingent on availability of funds, interest levels from candidates and offices, and alignment with Department priorities. The Jefferson Science Fellowship is a Washington-DC based fellowship, with the possibility of domestic and international travel, based upon host office purview.

Placement at State

Fellows’ exact experience at the Department will depend heavily on their placement; however, in all Fellow placements, the Department strives to align areas of expertise with office mandate. Fellows often provide technical expertise for policy development; engage in policy-making processes with the interagency; communicate with external stakeholders, such as academia, industry, and non-governmental organizations; and support engagements related to their area of expertise, which can include writing speeches and talking points. Fellows learn deeply about foreign policy and the evidence-based decision-making processes at the Department of State.

At the U.S. Department of State, Fellows are hired through an Intergovernmental Personnel Agreement (IPA) through the Department and the Fellows’ academic institutions. This procedure is standardized across the federal government, and many institutions already have the certifications required to enter into IPAs with the federal government. Should your university not be already in possession of such authorizations, the U.S. Department of State will assist in the certification process.

Applicant finalists go through a mutual selection process before being matched in agency host offices in functional and regional bureaus. The Department is only able to financially support no more than 4-7 Fellows per competition year and encourages all interested applicants to review the different bureaus and offices listed in the organizational chart and focus on their areas of interest and technical proficiency.

Website: https://www.usaid.gov

Mission: On behalf of the American people, we promote and demonstrate democratic values abroad, and advance a free, peaceful, and prosperous world. In support of America's foreign policy, the U.S. Agency for International Development leads the U.S. Government's international development and disaster assistance through partnerships and investments that save lives, reduce poverty, strengthen democratic governance, and help people emerge from humanitarian crises and progress beyond assistance. More about USAID’s mission and values can be found here.

Background: President John. F. Kennedy created the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) by executive order in 1961 to lead the U.S. government’s international development and humanitarian efforts. Learn more about USAID’s history here.

USAID is the world's premier international development agency and a catalytic actor driving development results. USAID's work advances U.S. national security and economic prosperity, demonstrates American generosity, and promotes a path to recipient self-reliance and resilience.

Our objective is to support partners to become self-reliant and capable of leading their own development journeys. We make progress toward this by reducing the reach of conflict, preventing the spread of pandemic disease, and counteracting the drivers of violence, instability, transnational crime and other security threats. We promote American prosperity through investments that expand markets for U.S. exports; create a level playing field for U.S. businesses; and support more stable, resilient, and democratic societies. We stand with people when disaster strikes or crisis emerges as the world leader in humanitarian assistance.

U.S. foreign assistance has always had the twofold purpose of furthering America's interests while improving lives in the developing world. USAID carries out U.S. foreign policy by promoting broad-scale human progress at the same time it expands stable, free societies, creates markets and trade partners for the United States, and fosters good will abroad.

USAID works in over 100 countries:

Organizational Chart: The current organizational chart for USAID can be found here. A limited number of Fellows can be hosted by USAID each year, so opportunities for placement will not be available in all operating units. While USAID has many overseas offices, the Jefferson Science Fellowship is a Washington-DC based fellowship, with the possibility of domestic and international travel.

Working at USAID: USAID benefits from the innovative ideas, energy, and state-of-the-art technical knowledge Fellows bring. Fellows add to the diversity of the workforce by offering a broad set of expertise that complements USAID’s existing staff profile. Fellowship participants enhance their knowledge of government and global issues and obtain valuable professional experience that enriches their careers and the academic institutions to which they return.

Through a fellowship at USAID, Fellows gain practical work experience in humanitarian assistance, economic and social development, and other technical sectors; the opportunity to engage directly in solving the most challenging and critical development issues of our time; and exposure to a broad network of development institutions and actors. While the specific projects vary by operating unit, staff at USAID work on activities such as project design; monitoring and evaluation; procurement (awarding grants and contracts); program management; technical oversight; building partnerships; planning, executing, and attending events; and reporting and communicating our work.

USAID Bureaus: The following bureaus at USAID are among those that have offered assignments in the past to Jefferson Science Fellows or who have expressed interest in hosting future Jefferson Science Fellows. Note that not all offices are always able to host a fellow every year and new offices participate in the program for the first time every cycle. Placement at USAID is contingent on availability of funding and award mechanism supporting the Jefferson Science Fellowships.

Fellowship Criteria

Applicants must agree to meet specific criteria to be selected for a Jefferson Science Fellowship. Select each category below to learn more about these requirements.

To complete an online application, an applicant must confirm they are:
  • A U.S. citizen
  • A scientist (life, physical, and/or social), engineer, or physician
  • Tenured or similarly ranked faculty at a U.S. academic institution
  • Able to confirm or secure an active Memorandum of Understanding between their academic institution and the National Academy of Sciences
  • Not knowingly hindered from obtaining a U.S. government security clearance (more information below under Security Clearance)

Applicants will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Stature, recognition, and experience in national and international sciences (life, physical, and/or social), engineering, or medicine
  • Ability to:
    • rapidly and accurately understand scientific advancements both within and outside primary disciplines
    • effectively integrate technical knowledge into policy documents and discussions
    • articulate science and technology to the non-specialist/general public
    • work collaboratively and effectively in a team-based environment
    • adapt to a changing porfolio of responsibilities
    • benefit themselves and their academic institution from the fellowship
  • Related skills and experience that may enable an applicant to be successful as a Fellow 

Awardees will be required to apply for a security clearance at the level needed for their host office placement. Failure to obtain the needed level of clearance may result in withdrawal of the fellowship offer.

Background investigations will be initiated by the host office soon after a placement is offered. Investigations can generally take several months, and awardees will be expected to take immediate action to complete all required forms and fingerprinting.

Significant delays in gaining clearance are possible, and, very rarely, clearance may not be granted. More information on the security clearance process and information on common reasons for delays can be found below.

The Jefferson Science Fellowships (JSF) are a collaborative effort between the U.S. academic community and the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The financial and institutional support for the fellowship is shared between these partners. The terms of the fellowships include:

  • Placement in a host office that is based on a mutual selection process considering the needs of the U.S. Department of State, USAID, and the identified preferences of the applicant finalist.
  • The 12-month fellowship year is scheduled to begin in mid-August. Individual start dates may vary due to security clearance timelines. This is a full-time fellowship.
  • A Fellow’s academic institution must hold an active agreement (Memorandum of Understanding) with the National Academy of Sciences acknowledging institutional support for the Fellow.
  • A Fellow's academic institution is expected to maintain salary, benefits, rights, and privileges of the Fellow's academic position during the fellowship.
  • A Fellow from outside the Washington, DC metro area will be eligible for reimbursement of select local living expenses in the Washington, DC metro area up to a fixed amount for no more than a 12-month period (approximately $55,000). Fellows already located in the Washington, DC metro area are not eligible to claim reimbursement for local expenses.
  • A Fellow must design and deliver a lecture as a part of the JSF Distinguished Lecture Series.
  • A Fellow must complete a final report at the end of their fellowship to summarize accomplishments, benefits of the fellowship, future plans, and recommendations.
  • A Fellow can request host office approved travel and training. The Fellow must coordinate personal travel and training with their host office. Travel and training funds up to $10,000 will be provided by USAID host offices.
  • A Fellow is expected to return to their academic institution after the fellowship but may be asked to remain available for future collaboration with the U.S. government.

Application Instructions

A complete application package must include the materials described below and must be submitted online by the application deadline. Inquiries regarding Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) or newly signed MOU documents should be sent to jsf@nas.edu. Select the How to Apply tab for instructions for registering and submitting an application. Be aware that all application materials submitted will be shared with the JSF selection panel, as well as the Department of State and USAID hiring offices.

Applicants are strongly discouraged from using generative AI technology to draft narrative portions of their applications.

Receiving a Jefferson Science Fellowship (JSF) is considered a significant honor, both for the individual and for their academic institution. The fellowship 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, an 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.

For Applicants

An active MOU is required for an applicant to be considered as a finalist in the annual competition. It is ultimately the responsibility of the applicant to ensure there is an active MOU in place before the JSF selection process begins. NAS staff can provide guidance, but applicants must initiate and ensure their institution completes the process of signing and submitting the MOU to jsf@nas.edu. It is recommended that applicants begin the process as early as possible.

Applicants should email jsf@nas.edu to determine if their institution currently holds an active MOU, to request a copy of the MOU template if their institution, or to confirm any other details of a current MOU. Academic institutions that do not currently hold an MOU with NAS and would like to initiate one should also contact jsf@nas.edu. Fully executed MOUs will be returned to the institution via email and/or postal mail after the MOU submission deadline.

An MOU can be completed well in advance of the application period.

NAS considers a signed MOU, once executed, active 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.

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

For Academic Institutions

Academic institutions that do not currently hold an MOU with NAS and would like to initiate one should contact jsf@nas.edu to initiate the process.

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

An academic institution with an active MOU is strongly encouraged to notify faculty of the opportunity to apply for the JSF. While any internal nomination process would need to be coordinated by the academic institution, recruiting materials can be provided upon request. Institutions should contact jsf@nas.edu with their specific needs.

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

At the U.S. Department of State, in addition to the MOU requirement, Fellows are hired through an Intergovernmental Personnel Agreement (IPA) through the Department and the Fellows’ academic institutions. This procedure is standardized across the federal government, and many institutions already have the certifications required to enter into IPAs with the federal government. Should your university not be already in possession of such authorizations, the U.S. Department of State will assist in the certification process.

The applicant should provide a Resume that is no more than five pages, 12-point font, 1" margins and includes the following:

  • Name and current institutional affiliation
  • Education (degrees, institutions, dates)
  • Academic employment history (including dates, academic rank, and tenure)
  • Honors and awards (up to ten of the most significant)
  • University service (past five years)
  • Professional society service (past five years)
  • Other national or international professional experience
  • Peer-reviewed publications
  • Other publications or patents
Note: If the applicant provides a resume that exceeds five pages, only the first five pages will be reviewed.

The applicant should provide a concise Statement of Interest that is no more than two, single-spaced pages, 14-point font, 1" margins. The Statement of Interest must explain what the applicant expects to derive for their academic institution and themselves if selected as a Fellow. In this statement, the applicant should include a section describing their interest in a fellowship at the U.S. Department of State or U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), a description of their relevant professional skills and experiences, and what they intend to bring back to their academic institution from the fellowship experience. In addition, the applicant should indicate any knowledge they might have of the U.S. Department of State or USAID and possible contributions they hope to make to different bureaus and offices therein.

Applicants are strongly discouraged from using generative AI technology to draft narrative portions of their applications.

The applicant should prepare two documents in response to the prompts below.

Common Essay (no more than 300 words for each of the three topics, 14-point font, 1" margins)

Please provide answers to the following:

      1. To succeed at the U.S. Department of State or USAID, you must have excellent writing and oral briefing skills. Please describe an experience talking or writing about technical issues to non-technical audiences that occurred within the last 2 years.
      2. Discuss your experience working as both a leader of, and member of, a team. How does your approach shift given your role on a team?
      3. The U.S. Department of State and USAID operate in a fast-paced environment, and every person must be flexible. Imagine a situation where your job portfolio changes entirely and you are asked to focus on a new priority outside of your area of expertise. Describe how you would handle this scenario, and what steps would you take to adapt to this situation and quickly learn about something new.
Briefing Memo (limited to two, single-spaced pages, 14-point font, 1" margins)

Prepare a briefing memo on a scientific or technological topic that is not related to your area of expertise and is relevant to U.S. foreign policy or international development. Assume you are working for a Bureau within the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. Agency for International Development (note: knowing the mandate for the unit you have selected will help provide a reference point) and have been asked to provide a short analysis and recommendations for next steps on the topic you have chosen. Your memo should have sufficient context and clarity so that a non-scientist could understand the issue. Ensure you address the basic scientific/technological facts and context that underlie the topic, present the policy/programming options, and include your recommended action(s). Please include a BLUF (bottom line up front) short summary at the top of the briefing memo.

Applicants are strongly discouraged from using generative AI technology to draft narrative portions of their applications.

Applications must be accompanied by at least three (3) and no more than five (5) Letters of Recommendation from peers of the applicant. Letters of Recommendation should address the qualifications of the applicant relative to the Selection Criteria.

Applicants will be required to list the contact information for three to five letter writers in the online application and must initiate sending the letter requests to the letter writers before their application can be submitted.

Instructions for letter writers on expected content will be provided in the request sent to letter writers when initiated by the applicant. Letter writers must upload their letters in the online application by the application deadline. Letters sent via postal mail or email will not be accepted nor will letter writers be notified on behalf of applicants. When a letter is succesfully uploaded, the letter writer and the applicant will receive a confirmation email from jsf@nas.edu. If an applicant or letter writer has not received a confirmation, they should reach out to jsf@nas.edu to confirm. 

A Letter of Nomination from an academic institution is not required; however, an academic institution official may submit a Letter of Nomination for the applicant as part of the application package.

Applicants who include a Letter of Nomination will be required to list the contact information for the letter writer in the online application and must initiate sending the letter request to the letter writer before their application can be submitted.

Instructions for letter writers on expected content will be provided in the request sent to the letter writer when initiated by the applicant. The letter writer must upload the letter in the online application by the application deadline. Letters sent via postal mail or email will not be accepted nor will letter writers be notified on behalf of applicants. When a letter is succesfully uploaded, the letter writer and the applicant will receive a confirmation email from jsf@nas.edu. If an applicant or letter writer has not received a confirmation, they should reach out to jsf@nas.edu to confirm.

How to Apply

Select the sections below to learn more about how to apply and submit an application to the Jefferson Science Fellowships. You may also download this information under Fellowship Resources.

  • Select the Register button.
  • Complete the fields for your Login Profile and Contact Information.
  • Enter the spam control answer value.
  • Select the Submit button.
  • Select the Log in button.
  • Enter the email address and password you registered with.
  • Select the Log in button.

  • Select Jefferson Science Fellowships from the dropdown on the Dashboard/My Fellowships page.
  • Select the Create button.
  • On the Survey page, select the response that best describes how you discovered the Jefferson Science Fellowships. Please enter additional details if a text box is populated for your selected response. You may select Other and enter a response if it is not listed.
  • Respond to each of the questions on the Eligibility page. You will not be able to proceed with the application unless these questions are answered accurately.
  • Select the Save button.

  • Complete all the required fields in the Applicant Profile section.
  • Select responses that best describe your demographic information.
  • Select up to three areas that best describe your field of expertise. You may select Other and enter a response if an area is not listed.

  • Carefully read and adhere to the content and formatting instructions for each file, including file length.
  • Save each file as a PDF prior to upload.
  • On the Uploads page, select the Choose File button.
  • Select and open the file from your device.
  • Select the Save as DRAFT button to complete the upload and save each document.

  • Enter the contact information for at least three letter writers who will submit letters of recommendation on your behalf. Downloadable letter writer instructions can be found under Fellowship Resources. 
  • Select the Save as DRAFT button after entering each letter writer’s information.
  • Select the Initiate Email Request button to send the letter writer an email requesting them to submit a letter on your behalf. Instructions for letter content and formatting will be included in the email request.
  • Select the number (0, 1, or 2) of additional letters of recommendation to be submitted on your behalf from the Additional Letters of Recommendation dropdown.
  • If you select 1 or 2:
    • Enter the contact information for each letter writer.
    • Select the Save as DRAFT button.
    • Select the Initiate Email Request button to send the letter writer an email requesting them to submit a letter on your behalf.

Letters of Nomination are optional; however, you are still required to indicate whether or not you intend to request a letter of nomination.

  • Select Yes or No from the dropdown.
  • If you select Yes:
    • Enter the contact information for the letter writer who will submit a letter on your behalf. Downloadable letter writer instructions can be found under Fellowship Resources. 
    • Select the Save as DRAFT button.
    • Select the Initiate Email Request button to send the letter writer an email requesting them to submit a letter on your behalf. Instructions for letter content and formatting will be included in the email request.

In order to be considered for review, all application components – including letters of recommendation – must be submitted by 5 pm Eastern Time on October 15, 2024.

Applicants may submit their application as FINAL any time prior to this deadline and before receiving all required letters of recommendation.

  • Select the Save as DRAFT button to save information you have entered or to upload documents.
  • Select the Submit as FINAL button once your application is absolutely complete and you are satisfied with its contents. A green checkmark will populate on the tab once the page has been fully completed.
  • You will receive a confirmation email after you select the Submit as FINAL button.
  • To download the application form (without document uploads) you may select the the Download button on the My Dashboard page. Alternatively, you may select the icon next to Download Application in the Application Summary box to save the application form as well as each document upload.

In order to be considered complete and eligible for review, all applications must include at least three letters of recommendation.

  • You will receive a copy of the confirmation message sent to the letter writer once a letter has been successfully uploaded.
  • You can re-send requests to letter writers by selecting the Initiate Email Request button on the Letters of Recommendation or Letter of Nomination pages.

You may update your application at any time up until the application deadline, even if you have already saved your application as FINAL.

  • Log in.
  • Select the Edit button on the My Dashboard/My Fellowships page.
  • Make any necessary changes.
  • Select the Save as FINAL button. Do not select Save as DRAFT; otherwise, your application will not register as complete and may not be considered for review.

If you no longer wish your application to be considered for review, you may withdraw it from the competition.

  • Log in.
  • Select the Withdraw button on the My Dashboard/My Fellowships page.
  • Enter your reason for withdrawal.
  • Select OK.

FAQ

Select the categories below for responses to frequently asked questions.

Q: I am interested in applying for this fellowship. How can I determine if I am competitive?

A:
Prospective applicants can refer to biographies and profiles of current and past Jefferson Science Fellows to compare qualifications. While academic stature is an important consideration in selection, other factors such as those listed in the Fellowship Criteria are of equal importance. In the application, candidates will be asked to articulate an important issue in science, technology, engineering, and medicine that impacts foreign policy and/or international development to demonstrate how their experience and knowledge could be used to inform decision-making.

Q: 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. How can we determine this?

A:
 Prospective applicants or academic institutions can email jsf@nas.edu to inquire about the status of an active MOU. A response should be received within a few days.

Q: What is the timeline for the Jefferson Science Fellowships selection process?

A: 
All applicants will be notified of whether or not they were selected as a finalist in November. In January, finalists will be notified about host office expressions of interest in meeting for a virtual interview. Interview Week will take place virtually in January. Host office placements will be communicated in February, confirming which finalists are selected for a fellowship.

Q: Do Jefferson Science 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 placement?

A: 
The host office placement process is similar to a job interview. Participating bureaus and offices will express interest in certain finalists, and appointments will be scheduled for these finalists to virtually meet with these bureaus and offices during Interview Week. Work statements from 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. Ultimately, placement in a host office depends on mutual interest between each party with coordination from the Office of the Science and Technology Adviser at the U.S. Department of State and USAID. This process is designed to position Fellows to succeed within the U.S. Department of State or USAID.

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

A: 
A list of U.S. Department of State and USAID bureaus and offices who have hosted Fellows can be found here. Applicants can learn more about former and current Jefferson Science Fellows' experiences at the U.S. Department of State or USAID, including their bureau and office placements and what type of projects they led or joined, by visiting the Fellows Directory.

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

A: 
Fellows selected for a host office placement must go through a U.S. government security clearance determination that can take anywhere from 2 to 12 months. Fellows are selected in early 2025 to best enable Fellows to begin the fellowship year in mid-August to coincide with the academic calendar.

Q: Will I receive a salary and benefits during the fellowship?

A: 
A Jefferson Science Fellowship (JSF) does not provide salary or benefits while serving at the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. Agency for International Development. The applicant’s academic institution will need to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Academy of Sciences to confirm institutional support for the applicant should they be selected for the fellowship. The MOU stipulates that a Fellow’s academic institution will maintain the Fellow’s salary and benefits while on the 12-month fellowship, as is often the case when tenured faculty take a sabbatical year.

Q: What resources are available to Fellows through a JSF?

A: 
A Fellow who does not live in the Washington, DC metro area before being awarded the fellowship will be eligible for reimbursement of select local living expenses up to a fixed amount over the 12-month period (approximately $55,000). Travel and training funds up to $10,000 will be provided by USAID host offices. A Fellow who lives in the Washington, DC metro area before they are awarded the fellowship is not eligible to claim reimbursement for expenses for being located in DC.

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

A: 
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 a critical part 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.

Key Dates

Application opens: August 1, 2024
Application deadline: October 15, 2024
5 pm Eastern Time
Finalists notified: November 2024
Virtual interviews: January 2025
Fellowships awarded: February 2025
Fellowships start: Fall 2025

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Contact Us

Jefferson Science Fellowships
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
Fellowships Office
500 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-334-3478
E-mail:   jsf@nas.edu

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