Postdoctoral Fellowship - Understanding Dynamic and Multi-scale Systems 2018, USA

Publish Date: May 22, 2018

Deadline: Jun 15, 2018

Postdoctoral Fellowship - Understanding Dynamic and Multi-scale Systems

Overview of the Program

The Understanding Dynamic and Multi-Scale Systems program supports scholarship and research directed toward the development of theoretical and mathematical tools contributing to the science of complex, adaptive, nonlinear systems. While the program's emphasis is on the development and application of the theory and tools used in the study of complex research questions and not on particular fields of research per se, JSMF is particularly interested in the continued development of complex systems science, and in projects attempting to apply complex systems approaches to coherently articulated questions.

Important Note: JSMF supports research in the brain sciences through its topical program Understanding Human Cognition. The Foundation recommends that researchers in the neurosciences not submit applications to the Dynamic and Multi-scale Systems Postdoctoral Fellowship Award. Typically, such applications are unsuccessful.

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The Fellowship

Students completing doctoral training, desiring to continue gaining experience in a multi-disciplinary field such as complex systems science, benefit from postdoctoral training providing an opportunity to broaden research experience and acquire additional skills prior to pursuing a career in academia or elsewhere. Success in securing a postdoctoral position, particularly those providing training that adds new dimensions to a student’s doctoral education (adding theoretical skills to one’s experimental training or vice versa; pursuing work in a new topic or field), oftentimes depends on the availability of funds to support positions via institutional training grants or faculty research grants. The latter case can result in a postdoctoral fellow engaging a research project dictated by the needs of the research grant rather than pursing a self-directed training program based on his or her interests or goals.

The James S. McDonnell Foundation 21st Century Postdoctoral Fellowship Award in Understanding Dynamic and Multi-scale Systems provides fellowships to students completing doctoral training in the multidisciplinary field of complex systems science. The JSMF Fellowship is intended to provide students in the final stages of completing a Ph.D. degree more freedom in identifying and securing postdoctoral training opportunities in complex systems research. The program, following review of applications, provides selected pre-doctoral students with “letters of intent to fund” that the student can use in negotiating with potential postdoctoral training institutions while the student is in the final phase of graduate school. The JSMF Fellowship is designed to provide students with an opportunity to seek potential postdoctoral research opportunities on the basis of the student’s interest and desire to obtain additional skills and experience that will further their pursuit of careers in complex systems science.

Award Details

The total amount of the JSMF Fellowship is $200,000 USD to be expended in no less than 2 and no more than 3 years.

  • The cost of the full postdoctoral salary or stipend and fringe benefits must be paid in full from the fellowship.
  • Institutions cannot request that other funding sources be used to cover the Fellow’s salary or stipend; the primary purpose of this fellowship is the continued education and training of the postdoctoral fellow. The fellowship is not intended to provide general support to a laboratory or department.
  • If the institutional postdoctoral salary scales are set such that there are funds in excess of what is needed for stipend and benefits, the excess funds can be used by the institution to support the Fellow’s research.
Important Note:  JSMF Fellowships are not awarded until the student applies to and is accepted as a postdoctoral fellow at a qualified institution and the institution submits an acceptable application to JSMF.


The JSMF Fellowship is a unique opportunity for students with complexity science training who are in the final stages of completing their Ph.D. looking to make a significant change in direction for their first postdoctoral fellowship (field of study, model organism, theory vs experimental, etc.) that will either be difficult or impossible without an external source of funding.  Students should anticipate activating the fellowship between June 2019 and February 28, 2020. In prior years, upwards of 70% of submissions are not advanced past the first review phase due to poor fit with this goal of the program. Important Note:  It is not intended for individuals that already have a Ph.D. or students that have already identified a postdoctoral position and a postdoctoral mentor as there are traditional funding mechanisms available for these students.

Decisions and Notification

Applications that meet the eligibility requirements will be reviewed by an expert advisory panel. The panel will use the quality and appropriateness of the proposed fellowship plan, academic productivity, and letters of support as the basis for recommending applications for funding consideration. Final funding decisions will be announced at the end of October after the JSMF Board of Directors meets and considers the advisory board’s recommendations.It is planned that JSMF could support up to 10 Fellowships, possibly more, each year.

For more information click "LINK TO ORIGINAL" below.

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United States