Smithsonian Climate Change Fellowships: Advancing Life on a Sustainable Planet

Smithsonian Climate Change Fellowships

Climate change is dramatically and profoundly altering our planet, and for decades, Smithsonian researchers have been conducting studies and collecting data to understand these changes. The Smithsonian hosts one of the largest natural history collections in the world, and through its 21 museums and science and cultural research centers, the Institution conducts multidisciplinary research on climate change with partners and collaborators in over 140 countries.

Smithsonian Climate Change Fellowships
Smithsonian Climate Change Fellowships

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Smithsonian Climate Change Fellowships

Through the Smithsonian Climate Change Fellowship, the Smithsonian seeks to support five fellows as they conduct independent research in the spirit of the Smithsonian’s wide-ranging research effort and in support of the Smithsonian’s goals to understand and inform solutions to climate change. These fellows will be able to leverage the Smithsonian’s resources, including its researchers, collections, exhibits, and data sets, to advance scientific understanding of climate change and the impacts it is having on nature and human well-being.

Fellows will be hosted by a Smithsonian Museum or research center. Fellows must identify an advisor from one of the identified units and we encourage applicants to identify a second advisor from another Smithsonian Museum or research center to foster cross-institutional collaboration. All proposals are welcome, but the following focus areas have been suggested by Smithsonian scholars who are poised to serve as advisors.

Deadline: August 31, 2023. 
Notification Date: Fall 2023
Term: 24 months (in residence)
Stipend: Recipients will receive a stipend of $62,000 per year for Postdoctoral Fellows. Stipends are prorated for periods of less than 24 months. A maximum research allowance up to $10,000 is available for the fellowship period.

Potential research themes include, but are not limited to:


Applicants for Postdoctoral Fellowships must have or will have received the Ph.D. by the time the fellowship begins. Applicants must propose to conduct research in residence.

How to Apply for the Smithsonian Climate Change Fellowships

Apply Through the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment System (SOLAA). Select “Start Your Application” and only enter the program name. 

The SOLAA application will allow you to upload the following files types (there is a 3MB limit and only the following types of documents are supported: .bmp, .doc, .docx, .gif, .jpeg, .jpg, .pdf, .png, .rtf, .tif, .tiff, .txt, .xls, and .xlsx):

Applicants are encouraged to propose to conduct research in-residence at the Smithsonian based on the research topics listed in either the Smithsonian Climate Change Fellowship or Smithsonian Environmental Justice Fellowship. Your proposal should include the following components:

Abstract: Abstract of the proposed research, not more than one page double spaced.

Research Proposal: No more than 1500 words, double spaced with a maximum of 6 pages. (Excluding all other parts of the application, such as the abstract and bibliography). Paper size should be 8.5 by 11 inches (210 mm x 297 mm), do not use type smaller than 12-point font.

In preparing your proposal, be sure to provide and address the following:

  • A description of the research you plan to undertake, including the methodology to be utilized.
  • The importance of the work, both in relation to the broader discipline and to your own scholarly goals.
  • Justification for conducting your research at the Smithsonian and utilization of Smithsonian collections and resources.
  • Identification of the member of the Smithsonian’s research staff who might serve as your principal advisor/host. Also identify potential co-advisor(s) and/or consultant(s) if applicable. The publication, Smithsonian Opportunities for Research and Study (SORS), contains the necessary information on staff research specialties and current departmental interests to help you determine which staff members are best suited to your research needs. Research staff may be named by applicants to serve as principal advisors, co-advisors or consultants. Affiliated research staff may be named as co-advisors or consultants if they will be in residence during at least a portion of the tenure period proposed. You are strongly encouraged to correspond with your proposed advisor(s) as you prepare your proposal.

Timeline: Estimate of time period for each phase of the research proposed for the full time period (regardless of one or two years).

Diversity Statement: 

  • Please address – How your perspective, experience, and/or project contribute to a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable discipline.
  • No more than one (1) page, double spaced.
  • This needs to be uploaded for the application material name “Other” in SOLAA.

Budget and justification: Budget and justification for equipment, supplies, research-related travel costs, and other support required to conduct the research itself (excluding stipend and relocation costs). You are encouraged to discuss potential research costs with your proposed advisor(s) before submitting your application. If the funds required to support the research exceed the maximum research allowance of $10,000 please explain the source of additional funds.

Bibliography: Bibliography of literature relevant to the applicant’s proposed research.

Curriculum vitae: Curriculum vitae, including previous and current fellowships, grants, and/or awards, and a description of your research interests. Also, if English is not your native language, describe the level of your proficiency in reading, conversing, and writing in English.

Transcripts (unofficial are acceptable): Applicants for postdoctoral fellowships need only submit graduate transcripts. If transcripts or other materials are not in English, the applicant should provide translations.

References: You will need the names and email addresses of two persons familiar with your work. Please note that all reference letters are considered confidential unless confidentiality has been specifically waived by the referee. Do not list Smithsonian staff members as your referees; they will have the opportunity to review your application after it is submitted. Please provide a copy of your proposal and a copy of Letter to Referee (downloadable pdf) to your referees. Please be sure reference letters are submitted by the application deadline.

  • Through SOLAA you will send an email from the system to these referees so they can provide references through the SOLAA system. Please note: referees will not be able to view your application and you may send the request any time prior to submission. They will still be able to submit their reference before or after you submit your application.
  • Referees are encouraged to submit references no later than the application due date. However, references can be submitted after the deadline and but there is no guarantee it will be included once the review process begins.
  • Applicant’s can check their SOLAA application to determine if letters of recommendation have been submitted or not. Applicants are encouraged to follow-up with referees who have not yet submitted.

Apply Here for the Smithsonian Climate Change Fellowships

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