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The application portal will open in the late summer of 2024 and close on October 18, 2024.

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Stanford Science Fellowships are intended for exceptional early career scientists with great promise. Successful candidates will have a strong record of scientific achievement, clear intellectual drive to advance scientific understanding, and a commitment to engage collaboratively with a diverse community of scholars and transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries. Candidates are sought who intend to pursue experimental and/or theoretical research in any natural science discipline. 

At the start of the fellowship, eligible applicants will have been awarded their PhD within the last three years and will have no more than two years of prior postdoctoral experience at another institution. Fellows will hold primary appointments in an academic unit in any participating school appropriate to their research interests.

New:  As of the 2025-2027 application cycle, applicants may not be affiliated with Stanford in a paid or unpaid position throughout the duration of the selection process, which lasts through the end of February. Current Stanford graduate students and postdocs are therefore ineligible, as are certain prospective postdocs.

Although Stanford Science Fellowships are awarded on the basis of a proposed research program, they are not awarded to accomplish a specific statement of work, and they do not lead to an employer-employee relationship. International scholars on an H-1B (employment) visa are therefore ineligible. International scholars are eligible to apply and must qualify for a J-1 visa, although F-1 extensions may be appropriate for some.

Application Process

The following application materials must be submitted to Academic Jobs Online. Application is open to all nationalities.

  • Curriculum Vitae (including publications, full legal name, contact information, and (expected) date of PhD, which must be received by the start of the fellowship).
  • A cover letter.
  • Three letters of recommendation; one letter from the candidate’s PhD advisor is advised.
  • A statement about the candidate’s career goals, relevant experience, and how the candidate would contribute to the goals of the Stanford Science Fellows Program (up to 2 pages).
  • A research statement addressing the following questions (up to 2 pages. An additional page may be used for references):
    • What is the research problem?
    • What could be accomplished on a 3- to 5-year timescale?
    • How can Stanford enable these accomplishments?

All applications will be evaluated by a committee of Stanford faculty from departments across the natural sciences. Each applicant is encouraged to use their research statement to identify faculty members with whom they wish to collaborate. Each fellow will participate in one or more faculty research groups. Based on review of the application materials, candidates will be invited to interview with a panel of faculty. The majority of the interviews, but not necessarily all of them, occur in the weeks immediately following American Thanksgiving. Note: the Stanford Science Fellows program is open to applicants from all backgrounds, and applicants will be evaluated in conformance with applicable laws.

Terms of Appointment

  • Stanford Science Fellow appointments are for a three-year term, typically beginning August 1 and ending on July 31. However, start dates are negotiable and can be between July 1 and September 1.  An appointment may not begin later than September 1.  
  • Fellows will receive an annual stipend of $90,000, benefits, up to $8,000 per year of supplemental funds to support research and professional development, and up to $2,000 in relocation expenses. Supplemental child care assistance grants and visa expense assistance are also provided to eligible fellows.  
  • Fellows are expected to participate in the SSF program’s community-building and professional development activities, complete annual progress reports, and acknowledge SSF funding as appropriate.

Additional Application Guidelines

Both the career statement and the research statement must use no less than an 11-point font with at least 3/4 inch margins. Single or double spacing is permitted. Figures with legends of at least 9-point font are permissible.

To receive full consideration, all application materials--including letters of reference--must be received by 11:59 p.m. EDT on October 18. 

Academic Jobs Online (AJO)

AJO will generate and send automated requests and upload links for reference letters to recommender email addresses provided by the applicant. Applicants are advised to confirm with letter writers that they have received the request and link from AJO. Auto-generated messages are prone to loss and spam filtering. 

Applicants may verify that letters of reference have been uploaded by checking the application Status on AJO.

Applicants are advised to include a telephone number and an active email address in the application cover sheet.  In the past, applicants have nearly missed time-dependent invitations to interviews due to missing or secondary contact information.

Current graduate students should enter the date of their “Highest Degree Earned” as their expected PhD conferral date rather than as the date of their bachelor’s degree. 

To facilitate the assignment of reviewers to applications, applicants are asked to choose a primary research area from the menu below.  The choices will not map perfectly to every proposal. Indeed, many interdisciplinary proposals will fit comfortably across two or more research areas. Remember that each application is read by at least two reviewers and that reviewers share applications across research areas as needed. The research areas are:

  • Astronomy and astrophysics
  • Biological sciences
  • Chemistry (including chemical biology)
  • Earth and oceans (including ecology)
  • Mathematics and statistics
  • Physics
  • Theory