Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards in Studying Complex Systems

2015 Competition


Overview of the Program

The Studying Complex Systems program supports scholarship and research directed toward the development of theoretical and mathematical tools contributing to the science of complex, adaptive, nonlinear systems. While the program's emphasis is on the development and application of the theory and tools used in the study of complex research questions and not on particular fields of research per se, JSMF is particularly interested in the continued development of complex systems science, and in projects attempting to apply complex systems approaches to coherently articulated questions.



The Fellowship

Students completing doctoral training, desiring to continue gaining experience in a multi-disciplinary field such as complex systems science, benefit from postdoctoral training providing an opportunity to broaden research experience and acquire additional skills prior to pursuing a career in academia or elsewhere.   Success in securing a postdoctoral position, particularly those providing training that adds new dimensions to a student’s doctoral education (adding theoretical skills to one’s experimental training or vice versa; pursuing work in a new topic or field), oftentimes depends on the availability of funds to support positions via institutional training grants or faculty research grants.   The latter case can result in a postdoctoral fellow engaging a research project dictated by the needs of the research grant rather than his or her interests or goals.  

The James S. McDonnell Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship Award in Studying Complex Systems provides fellowships to students completing doctoral training in the multidisciplinary field of complex systems science. The JSMF Fellowship is intended to provide students in the final stages of completing a Ph.D. degree more leeway in identifying and securing postdoctoral training opportunities in complex systems research.  The program, following review of applications, provides selected pre-doctoral students with “letters of intent to fund” that the student can use in negotiating with potential postdoctoral training institutions while the student is in the final phase of graduate school.   The JSMF Fellowship is designed to provide students with an opportunity to seek potential postdoctoral research opportunities on the basis of the student’s interest and desire to obtain additional skills and experience that will further their pursuit of careers in complex systems science.