Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards in Studying Complex Systems

2015 Competition


Overview

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.




Award Details

The total amount of the JSMF Fellowship is $200,000 USD to be expended in no less than 2 and no more than 3 years.

  • The cost of the full postdoctoral salary or stipend and fringe benefits must be paid in full from the fellowship.
  • Institutions cannot request that other funding sources be used to cover the Fellow’s salary or stipend; JSMF Fellowship funds are not intended to be used primarily as a source of laboratory support.
  • If the institutional postdoctoral salary scales are set such that there are funds in excess of what is needed for stipend and benefits, the excess funds can be used by the institution to support the Fellow’s research.

Important Note: JSMF Fellowships are not awarded until the student applies to and is accepted as a postdoctoral fellow at a qualified 501(c)(3) institution or foreign equivalent and the institution submits an acceptable application to JSMF.


Eligibility

This fellowship is intended for Ph.D. students with theoretical and/or experimental training in Complex Systems Science that anticipate completing their graduate training in late 2015 or in 2016.

Important Note: It is not intended for individuals that already have a Ph.D. or students that have already identified a postdoctoral position and a postdoctoral mentor as there are traditional funding mechanisms available for these students.

  • Applicants must not already have a Ph.D. or expect to receive one before the application deadline.
  • Applicants should have theoretical and/or experimental training in Complex Systems Science.
  • Applicants should not have already identified a postdoctoral position and postdoctoral research mentor.
  • Applicants should understand that if a letter of intent to fund is received, it is unlikely that an application to remain at the same institution will be approved.
  • Applicants should understand that JSMF Fellowships can only be used to support postdoctoral training at a qualified institution with 501(c)(3) status or foreign equivalent.


Deadline

The deadline for applications and letters of support is June 12, 2015, 15:59 CDT (20:59 UTC). All materials must be submitted electronically through the specified process.


Decisions and Notification

Applications that meet the eligibility requirements will be reviewed by an expert advisory panel. The panel will use the quality and appropriateness of the proposed fellowship plan, academic productivity, and letters of support as the basis for recommending applications for funding consideration.

Final funding decisions will be announced at the end of October after the JSMF Board of Directors meets and considers the advisory board’s recommendations.

It is planned that JSMF could support up to 10 Fellowships, possibly more, each year.


Frequently Asked Questions

Am I eligible to apply for a JSMF Postdoctoral Fellowship Award?

I have a question about font, margin, page requirements, references, image captions, etc.

I have more than one Ph.D. mentor. Should I have each mentor submit a letter of support?

I have more than one letter for the non-mentor letter of support. Should I have each letter writer upload a letter?

Will you accept a late application or letter of reference?

If I apply and receive a letter of intent to fund, when can I activate the award?

I’m having a problem with an electronic application or a particular program guideline. Whom can I contact for help?

I applied to the program in a prior year. Am I eligible to apply again this year?

Can images and graphics/effects be used in the 60 second video?

If I receive a letter of intent to fund, am I able to stay at my current institution?

 

Am I eligible to apply for a JSMF fellowship award?
Take the eligibility quiz and review the eligibility requirements to determine if you are eligible to apply for a fellowship award.


I have a question about font, margin, page requirements, references, image captions, etc.
There are no specific guidelines related to these types of questions. Use your best judgment, and understand that the application file submitted needs to be easily readable. References and image captions are not included in word counts.


I have more than one Ph.D. mentor. Should I have each mentor submit a letter of support?
No. Only one Ph.D. mentor letter of support will be included with your application file. If you have more than 1 mentor please ask them to write a joint letter.


I have more than one letter for the non-mentor letter of support. Should I have each letter writer upload a letter?
No. Only one non-mentor letter will be included with your application file.


Will you accept a late application or letter of reference?
No. All materials must be received on or before the official deadline. Late applications and letters of reference will not be reviewed.


If I apply and receive a letter of intent to fund, when can I activate the award?
Letter of intents awarded in 2015 may be activated beginning November 1, 2015.


I'm having a problem with an electronic application or a particular program guideline. Whom can I contact for help?
For the fastest response, send an email to help@jsmf.org.


I applied to the program in a prior year. Am I eligible to apply again this year?
No. Once you have applied to the JSMF Postdoctoral Fellowship program you are not eligible to apply again in future years.


Can images and graphics/effects be used in the 60 second video?
Yes.


If I receive a letter of intent to fund, am I able to stay at my current institution?
The intent of this program is to allow students to broaden their training and experience. It is unlikely that an application to remain at the same institution will be approved.