UPDATED Policy Fellowships For Scientists & Engineers

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | August 23, 2010 10:41 am

I regularly receive emails about breaking into the policy realm, becoming a science writer, or career advice in general. Recently, the volume of these has gone way up. Perhaps it’s the economy, hiring freezes at major institutions, and the overproduction of talented, newly-minted PhDs on the market contributing to a tough job environment. Maybe there’s also renewed interest in becoming a Renaissance scientist–the type of individual combining her or his scientific expertise with writing, communication, art, and more to help broaden public understanding of science and its influence in society.

I’d like to remind readers of my list of Policy Fellowships For Scientists & Engineers and encourage those seeking opportunities beyond and within the ivory towers of academia to take a look and consider applying. In 2009 I realized there was no comprehensive clearinghouse of what’s available, so I worked with a group of terrific staffers and interns at American Association for the Advancement of Science to come up with this list. I also hope students, professors, and industry members will kindly add any fellowships they know of that are not currently here in comments below as I update this regularly.


AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships

National Academies Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program

National Academies Jefferson Science Fellowships

Presidential Management Fellows Program

The Royal Society (U.K.) MP-Scientist Pairing Scheme

The Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowships Program

American Chemical Society

Hellman Fellowship

American Psychological Association

American Physical Society

Belfer Center, Kennedy School of Government

American Institute of Biological Sciences

American Astronomical Society – John Bahcall Public Policy Fellowship

American Society for Microbiology

National Human Genome Research Institute

Health and Aging Policy Fellowship

Society for Research in Child Development Policy Fellowship

Department of Commerce – Commerce Science and Technology Fellowship

ASPH/EPA Environmental Health Fellowship Program

American Institute of Physics and Member Society Government Science Fellowships

Harvard University – Science, Technology, and Public Policy Fellowships

American Society for Biochemisty and Molecular Biology

American Geophysical Union – Congressional Science Fellowship

American Society of Human Genetics

California Science and Technology Policy Fellowships

John A. Knauss Sea Grant Fellowship (I did this one!)

American Chemical Society San Diego Section – Public Policy Fellowship

Optical Society of America – Congressional Fellows Program

Social Science Research Council – Abe Fellowship Program

David A. Winston Health Policy Fellowship – Association of University Programs in Health Administration

National Center for Health Statistics – Health Policy Fellowship Program

Packer Policy Fellowships – Australian-American Health Policy Fellowships Program

The ASPH/CDC Allan Rosenfield Global Health Fellowship Program

The Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center Postdoctoral Fellowship in Comparative Health Policy

Geological Society of America Congressional Science Fellowship


American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

NASA Congressional Fellowship

Morris Udall Foundation

Academy of Medical Sciences/Wellcome Trust

Aldo Leopold Leadership Program

Harkness Fellowship


Comments (7)

  1. Thanks for a great list Sheril! The link to the Research!America science policy intern/fellowship was just updated to include our October 15 deadline for winter/spring applications. You can find more information here: http://www.researchamerica.org/intern_sciencepolicy

  2. Thanks Heather,
    Link updated!

  3. Thank you so much for this list! With a year and a bit before the end of my PhD, it’s good to have these things around!

  4. Lyndsay

    Thanks for including The Optical Society in your list of Fellowships, Sheril. We recently relaunched our website though, so our old links no longer work — sorry about that! More info on our Fellowships can be found here: http://www.osa.org/about_osa/public_policy/congressional_fellowships/default.aspx


  5. MJMurphy

    Hi! I am an incoming 2010-11 CRP Fellow at MIT. My personal decision to go for this program was the access to MIT’s academic community and coursework with hands-on research and internship in chosen field.

    Thank you for the above comprehensive list. (I am considering MIT’s new master’s program in Science Communication-I believe Chris Mooney just completed ? )

  6. (a different) Heather

    Thank you for this great list! I am currently a Ph.D. student studying the applications of synthetic biology. Because of a recent advance in the field (), I’ve been paying particular attention to the reaction in D.C. (). All of this hullabaloo has really sparked an interest in science policy and communication.

    This post has been a blessing for me, saving me a lot of time searching online for various fellowships. Since I still have 1.5-2 years left until I finish my degree, I was wondering if you have any suggestions in what I can do until then to be immersed more in science policy and communication. I would greatly appreciate any recommendations for general areas of volunteer work, classes, or national clubs that would help me see what working in this field is really like.

    Thank you again!


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About Sheril Kirshenbaum

Sheril Kirshenbaum is a research scientist with the Webber Energy Group at the University of Texas at Austin's Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy where she works on projects to enhance public understanding of energy issues as they relate to food, oceans, and culture. She is involved in conservation initiatives across levels of government, working to improve communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public. Sheril is the author of The Science of Kissing, which explores one of humanity's fondest pastimes. She also co-authored Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future with Chris Mooney, chosen by Library Journal as one of the Best Sci-Tech Books of 2009 and named by President Obama's science advisor John Holdren as his top recommended read. Sheril contributes to popular publications including Newsweek, The Washington Post, Discover Magazine, and The Nation, frequently covering topics that bridge science and society from climate change to genetically modified foods. Her writing is featured in the anthology The Best American Science Writing 2010. In 2006 Sheril served as a legislative Knauss science fellow on Capitol Hill with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) where she was involved in energy, climate, and ocean policy. She also has experience working on pop radio and her work has been published in Science, Fisheries Bulletin, Oecologia, and Issues in Science and Technology. In 2007, she helped to found Science Debate; an initiative encouraging candidates to debate science research and innovation issues on the campaign trail. Previously, Sheril was a research associate at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment and has served as a Fellow with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History and as a Howard Hughes Research Fellow. She has contributed reports to The Nature Conservancy and provided assistance on international protected area projects. Sheril serves as a science advisor to NPR's Science Friday and its nonprofit partner, Science Friday Initiative. She also serves on the program committee for the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She speaks regularly around the country to audiences at universities, federal agencies, and museums and has been a guest on such programs as The Today Show and The Daily Rundown on MSNBC. Sheril is a graduate of Tufts University and holds two masters of science degrees in marine biology and marine policy from the University of Maine. She co-hosts The Intersection on Discover blogs with Chris Mooney and has contributed to DeSmogBlog, Talking Science, Wired Science and Seed. She was born in Suffern, New York and is also a musician. Sheril lives in Austin, Texas with her husband David Lowry.Interested in booking Sheril Kirshenbaum to speak at your next event? Contact Hachette Speakers Bureau 866.376.6591 info@hachettespeakersbureau.comFor more information, visit her website or email Sheril at srkirshenbaum@yahoo.com.


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