The James S. McDonnell Foundation 21st Century Postdoctoral Fellowship Award in Understanding Dynamic and Multi-scale Systems is intended to provide students in the final stages of completing a Ph.D. degree more freedom in identifying and securing postdoctoral training opportunities. Following a multi-phase review of applications, selected pre-doctoral students are granted “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 fellowship is geared to students near the completion of their doctoral training and committed to acquiring new skills and experience in a multi-disciplinary field such as complex systems science.  This fellowship is targeted towards students who wish to broaden their research experience and require protected time to acquire new knowledge and skills.  Postdoctoral positions providing experiences that contribute 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) can be limited if the position is supported by institutional training grants or faculty research grants.  Too often, the more traditional postdoctoral experience results in a postdoctoral fellow engaging in a research project dictated by the needs of the research grant (this is not a problem if the grant goals align with training goals) rather than providing the freedom for pursuing a creative and self-directed training program based on his or her interests or goals.

Award Details

  • $200,000 USD to be expended in no less than 2 and no more than 3 years. Recently, JSMF has experienced Fellows using less than 50% of the fellowship funds. If you do not believe that you are committed to pursuing 2-to-3-year postdoctoral research, please reconsider applying.
  • 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 independence of the postdoctoral fellow. JSMF does not consider dependence on institutional or research grant funding as commensurate with such independence. 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.

The deadline to submit all application materials is June 11, 2021 15:59 CDT (20:59 UTC). For more information, visit the JSMF website.


Categories: April 2016, April 2018, April 2020, Funding Opportunities, June 2016, June 2017, June 2018, May 2016, May 2018, May 2019
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