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Fellowships

Supporting the brightest
tropical researchers

During his STRI fellowship, Mauro Lepore, a coral researcher from Argentina, joined STRI staff scientist Aaron O’Dea’s expedition to the Dominican Republic as part of the marine paleontology O’Dea lab’s Baseline Caribbean project.

Note: The Short Term Fellowship Program deadline for October 15, 2021 has been rescheduled for November 15, 2021.

Overview

Much of STRI’s success is due to its ability to attract some of the brightest scholars from diverse fields of tropical research. We invest more than $3 million every year to support creative young researchers at critical stages in their careers. Fellowships range from three months to three years and allow young scholars to explore their own research questions across Panama’s rich tropical ecosystems while based at our state-of-the-art facilities.

Before you apply

Prior to submitting the formal application, applicants must first reach out to the staff scientist they are interested in working with to determine if that scientist is available to serve as a research advisor and mentor. Staff research profiles and contact information can be found here and a list of research associates is here. Also, applicants should review the specific guidelines of each fellowship. You must use the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment System (SOLAA) available through the Office of Fellowships and Internships webpage to apply for all internships for which you are eligible.

* Tax Information – This information is being offered as a courtesy only for fellows and interns.  Fellows and interns are solely responsible for determining their own tax liability and complying with all applicable tax laws and reporting obligations.

Note: Neither the Smithsonian, on behalf of STRI, nor the Republic of Panama withholds taxes on any fellowship awards.  This is because fellows are performing their own, independent research and are neither treated as employees or contractors of the Smithsonian. 

US citizens: Payment of income tax is a personal obligation of each individual.  The Internal Revenue Service of the United States (IRS) specifies that all income of citizens and residents of the USA, and their spouses if filing jointly, that is generated from fellowship or internship appointments is reportable.

Smithsonian stipend recipients who are U.S. citizens or residents will NOT receive an IRS tax form (W-2 or 1099) from the Smithsonian because they are not employees of or contractors for the Smithsonian. Stipend recipients are responsible, however, for including the entire award (stipend, travel and research allowances) in their income tax return for each full or partial tax year during which he/she received an award. U.S. citizens who reside in the U.S. will receive a Financial Statement from the Smithsonian that includes the amount of the stipend paid but this is for the fellow or intern’s personal records and is not submitted to the IRS.  U.S. Citizens who reside in Panama will not receive a Financial Statement unless they request one.  Persons who are residents of other countries are responsible for complying with the applicable tax reporting requirements for their home country,

For those required to report their income to the IRS, various income exemptions and the tax credits on fellowship and internship awards may be available, depending in part on the length of time the fellow or intern spends in Panama during a tax year. These exemptions vary tremendously with individual circumstances and each fellow/intern is responsible for determining his/her own exemptions and tax liability. The Smithsonian cannot provide tax advice on these matters. Fellowship recipients are encouraged to consult IRS publications 970 "Tax Benefits for Education" at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p970.pdf, and publication 54 “Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad” at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p54.pdf. You may call the IRS at 1-800-829-3676 for further information and to request forms by mail. Commercial online tax preparation services also are available.

Current fellowship opportunities

D. Ross Robertson fellowships for field research on neotropical shore-fishes

Deadlines

September 15

Duration

The 2021 fellowship is a 12 month predoctoral fellowship.

Program Dates

Fellowships usually begin about two months after notification of acceptance.

Description

Supported by an endowment created to further the accomplishment of field research on the evolution, ecology, natural history and related taxonomic and systematic issues, of marine and brackish-water fishes found in nearshore, tropical and subtropical waters of North, Central and South America, and the Panama Canal. This includes research in neotropical countries other than Panama, although the fellow is expected to be based at STRI during at least part of the tenure of the fellowship.

Eligibility

PhD students formally enrolled at a university.

Award

In 2021 this endowment will support a 12 month predoctoral fellowship for a student pursuing a PhD. Stipend: US$44,000/year;  Research allowance: up to $25,000/year (note that this is intended to cover, and be the sole source of STRI funding for, all reasonable expenses for the research planned in the proposal, so prepare the budget accordingly); Relocation: round trip airfare to Panama; Health insurance - up to $2,500/year.

Earl S. Tupper three-year postdoctoral fellowship

Deadline

September 15

Duration

Three years

Program Dates

Fellowships usually begin about two months after notification of acceptance.

Description

STRI’s most prestigious postdoctoral fellowship is awarded once a year to an outstanding candidate in one of the many research fields practiced at STRI. Successful candidate will conduct a three-year research program based at a STRI facility, typically in the lab of a staff scientist who serves as host or advisor on the project. 

Eligibility

Researchers whose Ph.D. studies are completed before fellowship begins.

Award

A yearly stipend of $US 55,000 and a research budget of up to $16,000.

Short-Term fellowships

Deadlines

February 15, April 15, July 15 and October 15

Duration

Three months

Program dates

Fellowships usually begin about two months after notification of acceptance.

Description

The Short-Term Fellowship Program allows selected candidates to come to STRI at any time of the year and is an excellent resource to provide support for graduate students and introduce them to tropical research. Although focused primarily on graduate students, awards are occasionally given to undergraduate and postdoctoral candidates. These fellowships enable selected candidates to work in the tropics and explore research possibilities at STRI.

Eligibility

Graduate students, undergrads and postdocs.

Award

Fellowships provide a modest stipend to cover living expenses while at STRI (currently $1,000/month, a total amount of $3,000 for stipend), a modest research allowance, NOT to exceed $2000; and a round-trip coach airfare. Partial awards are occasionally given depending on funding availability. Applicants are encouraged to seek additional sources of funding.

STRI-SENACYT Academic Opportunity

Deadlines

Open applications, 2021

Duration

Three to nine months

Program dates

Fellowship usually begin approximately two months after notification of acceptance into the program.

Description

Panama’s Science and Technology Secretariat (SENACYT) provides fellowships to Panamanians enrolled in a Bachelor, Masters’ or PhD program in a local university;  researchers recently graduated from a local university; or Panamanians who received their PhD within the past 3 years either from a local or an international university.

Eligibility

Applicants need to be:

  1. Panamanian,
  2. currently enrolled in a Bachelor, MSc or PhD program at a Panamanian university/institution.
  3. Have obtained a BS or MSc degree within the past 3 years (also from a Panamanian university).
  4. Have obtained a PhD from a local or international university within the past 3 years
Award

The program will provide a monthly stipend of $1,000 for up to 9 months, a research allowance, a travel allowance if applicable and health insurance.

Smithsonian Institution fellowships

The Smithsonian Institution’s central fellowship program awards scholarships to conduct independent study at one or more of the Smithsonian’s 19 units and research centers. Fellowships are designed for young scholars at different stages of their academic career from graduate students to senior postdoctoral researchers. Please follow the links below for information about duration, eligibility and stipends related to specific SI fellowships.

There are numerous Smithsonian Institution fellowships that can be hosted at STRI, ranging from 10 weeks to three years, depending on the fellowship. These academic appointments are targeted to a range of young scholars from graduate students to senior post-doctoral researchers. All applicants for fellowships are eligible and considered for the Secretary’s Distinguished Research Fellowship, which provides the awardee with an additional year of support.

The Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program (SIFP) is listed in SOLAA under the Office of Fellowships.

Graduate student fellowships

Deadline

November 1

Duration

10 weeks

Program dates

Fellows must begin within one year from the date of their award letter.

Description

Graduate student fellowships are for students formally enrolled in a graduate program. Before appointment, students must have completed at least one full-time semester or equivalent of their graduate program. These fellowships are intended for students who have not advanced to candidacy if enrolled in a doctoral program.

Eligibility

Students currently enrolled in a graduate program.

Award

$8,000

Predoctoral student fellowship

Deadline

November 1

Duration

3-12 months

Program dates

Fellows must begin within one year from the date of their award letter.

Description

Pre-doctoral student fellowships are for university students currently enrolled as a candidate for a Ph.D. or equivalent. Before appointment, the university must approve the undertaking of dissertation research at the Smithsonian Institution and certify that the requirements for the dissertation have been met.

Award

$40,000 annually; up to $4,000 research allowance

Postdoctoral Researcher Fellowship

Deadline

November 1

Duration

3-24 months

Program dates

Fellows must begin within one year from the date of their award letter.

Description

Postdoctoral fellowships require that the fellow’s doctorate be complete by the time the fellowship begins.

Award

$55,000 annually; up to $4,000 research allowance

Senior postdoctoral researcher fellowship

Deadline

November 1

Duration

3-24 months

Program dates

Fellows must begin within one year from the date of their award letter.

Description

Senior postdoctoral positions are available to those who have held a Ph.D. for at least seven years or equivalent.

Award

$55,000 annually; up to $4,000 for research allowance.

Biodiversity Genomics Postdoctoral Fellowship

Deadline

November 1

Duration

12-24 months

Program dates

Awards announced in April; fellows must begin within one year from the date of their award letter.

Description

The Smithsonian Institution Biodiversity Genomics Postdoctoral fellowship promotes collaborative research in fields involving comparative genomic approaches such as phylogenetics, population genomics, metagenomics or transcriptomics, and has a component that involves significant bioinformatics analysis. STRI is one of four Smithsonian units with molecular research facilities. Cross-unit collaboration is encouraged under this fellowship. The National Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute/National Zoological Park and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center are the other molecular facilities. Researchers who have completed their Ph.D. by the start date of the fellowship are eligible to apply.

Award

$55,000 annually; up to $4,000 research allowance

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