The Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program (SIFP)
Applications for the 2018 SIFP will open on Friday September 1, 2017.
Upcoming SIFP Application Deadlines (Tentative and Subject to Change):
2018 Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program: Friday December 1, 2017
2019 Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program: Monday December 3, 2018
2020 Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program: Monday December 2, 2019
The Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program (SIFP) is the Smithsonian Institution’s centrally-funded flagship in-residence fellowship program. SI Fellowships are awarded annually to graduate students, predoctoral students, postdoctoral, and senior investigators to conduct independent study or research at one or more of the Smithsonian’s 19 units and research centers. These fellowships are offered through the Smithsonian’s Office of Fellowships and Internships, and are administered under the charter of the Institution, 20 U.S. Code section 41 et seq.
Qualifications for Application
Applicants must propose to conduct research at the Smithsonian in one of its areas of research as outlined in the Smithsonian Opportunities for Research and Study (SORS), for a period of three to twelve months, or ten weeks for the Graduate Student Fellowship. Past or current SIFP fellowship recipients are eligible to apply for another SIFP award.
No employee or contractor of the Smithsonian Institution may hold a Smithsonian fellowship during the time of his/her employment or contract, nor may an award be offered to any person who has been employed by or under contract to the Institution in the previous year, without the prior approval of the Office of Fellowships.
Applicants whose native language is not English are expected to have the ability to write and converse fluently in English. All application materials must be presented in English (foreign transcripts may be translated, see below).
Determination of the fellowship category for which to apply should be based on the anticipated academic level at the time the fellowship would begin:
Graduate Student Fellowships
Graduate Student Fellowships: When they apply students must be formally enrolled in a graduate program of study at a degree granting institution. Before the appointment begins fellows must still be enrolled and must have completed at least one full time semester or its equivalent. Graduate Student Fellowships are usually intended for students who have not yet been advanced to candidacy if in a doctoral program. Graduate student fellowships are offered for 10 weeks and are not available for periods of less or more than 10 weeks.
Predoctoral Student Fellowships*
Predoctoral Student Fellowships are typically 3 to 12 months in length (please see below for exceptions). Students must be enrolled at a university as a candidate for the Ph.D. or equivalent. By the time the appointment begins the university must approve the undertaking of dissertation research at the Smithsonian Institution and certify that requirements for the doctorate, other than the dissertation, have been met.
Postdoctoral Researcher Fellowships**
Postdoctoral Student Fellowships are typically 3 to 12 months in length (please see below for exceptions). The doctorate degree must be completed by the time the fellowship begins.
Senior Researcher Fellowships**
Senior Fellowships are typically (pls see below for exceptions) 3 to 12 months in length. Applicants must have held a Ph.D. or equivalent for at least 7 years.
*Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Fellows with advisors at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) are eligible for extended tenures beyond the one year SIFP through the Peter Buck Fellowship Program. Buck fellowships supplement one-year Smithsonian Institution Fellowship (SIFP) awards by one or two years. Buck awards may also include a research allowance for additional year’s study.
*Postdoctoral Fellows with advisors at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) are eligible for extended tenures beyond the one year SIFP through STRI’s Earl S. Tupper Fellowship. Tupper fellowships supplement Smithsonian Institution Fellowship (SIFP) awards by one or two years. See Tupper Fellowship for information on how to apply.
Please note, Tupper postdoctoral applicants can also submit a one-year SIFP fellowship. However, this needs to be a separate application submitted through SOLAA with a separate description and research schedule.
All applicants for SI Fellowships, regardless of academic area, are eligible and automatically considered for the Secretary’s Distinguished Research Fellowship, which provides the awardee with a second year of support.
Criteria for Selection
Applications are evaluated and fellows are selected, by scholars in appropriate fields, on the basis of the proposal’s merit, the applicant’s ability to carry out the proposed research and study, the likelihood that the research could be completed in the requested time, and the extent to which the Smithsonian, through its research staff members and resources, could contribute to the proposed research. The number of appointments made each year is determined by the availability of funds for the program.
The Smithsonian does not discriminate on grounds of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, parental status, marital status, sexual orientation, or participation in protected activity.
Conditions of Appointment:
- In submitting an application for a fellowship at the Institution, the applicant does not incur any obligation to accept the appointment if selected.
- Smithsonian Institution Fellows must begin their fellowship within one (1) year from the date of their award letter.
- The fellowship must be completed within two (2) years of the start date.
- In accepting an appointment, the fellow will be expected to devote full time effort to the research proposed and to be in residence at the Smithsonian except for approved absences.
- Financial support for such purposes as research, travel and equipment may be received from other sources provided that no special demands are made upon the fellow’s time.
- Permission to receive additional stipend support must be requested in writing from the Office of Fellowships and Internships.
Use of Smithsonian Facilities
Fellows will be provided with space to conduct their research within the department in which they are working. Applicants should consult in advance with their proposed advisor(s) regarding the availability of facilities and necessary equipment. The amount of support services available to the fellow will be determined by the workload of the department and the policy of the department chairperson and/or unit director. Fellows have access to the Smithsonian Institution Libraries with privileges which include borrowing library materials, interlibrary loans, intralibrary loans, document delivery, database searching, and reference assistance.
Stipend Allowances and Taxes
The Smithsonian Institution Fellowship award amounts are as follows:
Graduate Student Fellowship**: $7,500.00 for 10 weeks.
Predoctoral Fellowship: $36,000 annually; research allowance up to $4,000.
Postdoctoral Fellowship: $50,400 annually; research allowance up to $4,000.
Senior Fellowship: $50,400 annually; research allowance up to $4,000.
Fellows in earth/planetary sciences and conservatory sciences are eligible to receive up to $5,000.00 over the amounts listed above.
**Graduate Student Fellowships are offered for 10 weeks and are not available for periods of less or more than 10 weeks. Research allowances are not offered for graduate student fellowships.
Stipends for all fellowships other than graduate students are pro-rated for periods of less than twelve months.
Smithsonian fellowship stipends are not salary or compensation. They are meant to support study and research during the tenure of the appointment and cannot be issued retroactively.
The Office of Fellowships and Internships cannot provide funds for the travel or living expenses of dependents.
All funds provided under Smithsonian Institution fellowships, including base stipends, research, and travel relocation allowances are subject to tax. Fellows awarded stipends receive a financial summary at the end of each calendar year and are responsible for meeting their own state and federal tax obligations.
In addition to a base stipend, awardees may receive allowances to assist with the fellow’s research-related expenses and for temporary relocation to the Smithsonian. The budget for the research allowance should not include costs for relocation to the Smithsonian, which is awarded separately. A maximum research allowance of $4,000 is available. The amount awarded will be determined based upon the budget and justification presented by the applicant.
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