Science Policy Fellowship Opportunities

The effective communication of science to a broader spectrum of audiences including lawmakers, corporations, agencies, and the general public is crucial to implementing science-based policies. Landmark legislations like the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Pollution Prevention Act, and many others have used scientific research and conclusions in order to shape how the policies were written.

There are many opportunities to get involved in Science Policy, both introductory and advanced. This post will detail some of the Science Policy Fellowships available to graduate students and recent graduates. Applications can take time to complete, so make sure to start early!

The Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program

This is a full-time hands-on training and educational program that provides early career individuals with the opportunity to spend 12 weeks at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington, DC learning about science and technology policy and the role that scientists and engineers play in advising the nation. Applications open June 15-Sept 14.

John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship Program

The Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship provides a unique educational and professional experience to graduate students who have an interest in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions affecting those resources. The Fellowship matches highly qualified graduate students with “hosts” in the legislative and executive branch of government located in the Washington, D.C. area, for a one-year paid fellowship. Applications usually due in January/February.

AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships

This fellowship provides opportunities to outstanding scientists and engineers to learn first-hand about policymaking while contributing their knowledge and analytical skills to the federal policymaking process. Fellows serve yearlong assignments in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the federal government in Washington. Each year, the program adds to a growing corps over 3,400 strong of policy-savvy leaders working across academia, government, nonprofits and industry to serve the nation and the world.

Geological Society of America’s Congressional Science Fellowship

The Congressional Science Fellow spends a year working as a staff member for a member of Congress or congressional committee. Applications typically due in January.

American Geophysical Union’s Congressional Science Fellowship

The AGU Congressional Science Fellowship program places highly qualified and accomplished scientists, engineers, and other professionals in the office of an individual member of Congress or on a committee for a one-year assignment. Applications open in the Fall.

Alaska Sea Grant State Fellowship Program

Modeled after the highly successful Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship, the state fellowship program provides an opportunity to acquire on-the-job experience in the planning and implementation of marine resource policies and programs in Alaska. The program matches highly motivated graduate students and recent graduates with hosts in Alaska-based state or federal agencies for a 12-month paid fellowship. Applications are typically due in February.

California Council on Science & Technology Science Fellowship

To address the challenge this represents, each year the CCST Science Fellows program recruits a corps of fifteen PhD scientists and engineers. These Science Fellows spend one year in Sacramento, directly serving decision makers within the California State Legislature and Executive Branch.

Gulf Research Program’s Science Policy Fellowship program

This fellowship helps scientists hone their skills by putting them to practice for the benefit of Gulf Coast communities and ecosystems. Fellows gain first-hand experience as they spend one year on the staff of federal, state, local, or non-governmental environmental, natural resource, oil and gas, and public health agencies in the Gulf of Mexico region. Applications typically due February/March.

These are just a small subset of the fellowships offered. Great places to start when looking are on professional society, your state government, and university websites. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about applications or science policy in general. Look out for future posts on what science policy is, and opportunities for those looking to gain a little experience without committing to a full fellowship!

By Brian Redder

Penn State University

Twitter: @BrianRedder

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