Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships

Ford Foundation

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Next deadline: Dec 10, 2020 2:00pm PST (Pre proposal)

Later deadlines: Jan 10, 2021 2:00pm PST (Full proposal)

Grant amount: US $45,000

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Applicant type: Postdoctoral Researcher

Funding uses: Fellowship

Location of project: Anywhere in the world

Location of residency: United States

Location of citizenship: United States

Degree requirements: Applicants must be within 7 years of receiving their PhD

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About this funder:



NOTE: Deadlines are as follows:

  • Application: 'pre-proposal' deadline above.
  • Supplementary Materials: ' full proposal' deadline above.

This year the program will award approximately 24 postdoctoral fellowships. The postdoctoral fellowships provide one year of support for individuals engaged in postdoctoral study after the attainment of the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) degree. 

Postdoctoral fellowships will be awarded in a national competition administered by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on behalf of the Ford Foundation. The awards will be made to individuals who, in the judgment of the review panels, have demonstrated superior academic achievement, are committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level, show promise of future achievement as scholars and teachers, and are well prepared to use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students.

Location of Work and Proposed Research

Fellowship applicants are encouraged to choose a host institution other than the institution with which they are affiliated at the time of application. Fellowships are awarded for full-time research at appropriate nonprofit institutions of higher education or research, normally in the United States, including universities, museums, libraries, government or national laboratories, privately sponsored nonprofit institutes, government chartered nonprofit research organizations, and centers for advanced study. Each applicant should designate a faculty member or other scholar who will serve as host at the proposed fellowship institution. If affiliating with another institution would create personal hardship, applicants may make special arrangements to travel several times to a research site for data collection or to confer with a chosen adviser. 

Each applicant must present a clearly articulated plan of study or research that will further his or her career in higher education and should explain fully the particular benefits that would accrue from affiliation with the proposed institution. A fellow affiliating with a foreign institution may be asked to designate a U.S. institution to act as a liaison between the Academies and the foreign institution, particularly for handling the disbursement of fellowship funds.

The applicant is responsible for making all arrangements for affiliation with the proposed host institution prior to submitting an application.

Stipends and Benefits

  • One-year stipend: $45,000
  • Fellowship funds may be disbursed through the employing institution if necessary for the continuation of health insurance or other benefits. No dependency allowance is available.
  • Expenses will be paid to attend at least one Conference of Ford Fellows
  • Access to Ford Fellow Regional Liaisons, a network of former Ford Fellows who have volunteered to provide mentoring and support to current fellows


Each Fellow is expected to begin tenure on June 1 (for 12 months) or September 1 (for 9 or 12 months) of the year in which the award is received. Any Fellow having difficulty in meeting this stipulation should consult the Fellowships Office prior to accepting the award. Postdoctoral fellowships may not be deferred or delayed.

Conditions of the Fellowship

Those who accept a postdoctoral fellowship must agree to the stipulations in the Terms of Appointment for Ford Foundation Fellows that accompanies the award letter. In addition, Ford Fellows must agree to participate in regular updates of the Directory of Ford Fellows, as well as periodic surveys designed to demonstrate the impact of this program.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Eligibility to apply for a postdoctoral fellowship is limited to:
    • All U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, and U.S. permanent residents (holders of a Permanent Resident Card), as well as individuals granted deferred action status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, political asylees, and refugees, regardless of race, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, or sexual orientation, 
    • Individuals with evidence of superior academic achievement (such as grade point average, class rank, honors or other designations), 
    • Individuals committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level, and 
    • Individuals awarded a Ph.D. or Sc.D. degree no earlier than December 6, 2011 and no later than December 6, 2018 in an eligible research-based field from a U.S. institution of higher education.
  • Eligible Fields of Study
    • Awards will be made for study in the following major disciplines and related interdisciplinary fields:
      • American studies, anthropology, archaeology, art and theater history, astronomy, chemistry, communications, computer science, cultural studies, earth sciences, economics, education, engineering, ethnic studies, ethnomusicology, geography, history, international relations, language, life sciences, linguistics, literature, mathematics, performance study, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, religious studies, sociology, urban planning, and women’s studies.
    • Also eligible are interdisciplinary ethnic studies programs, such as African American studies and Native American studies, and other interdisciplinary programs, such as area studies, peace studies, and social justice.
    • Research-based fields of education are eligible if the major field of study is listed above and is used to describe the Ph.D. or Sc.D. program of the applicant (e.g., sociology of education, anthropology and education).
    • The complete list of eligible fields of study supported at the postdoctoral level of the fellowship program is available here: Eligible Fields of Study List.


  • The following will be considered as positive factors in choosing successful candidates:
    • Evidence of superior academic achievement
    • Degree of promise of continuing achievement as scholars and teachers
    • Capacity to respond in pedagogically productive ways to the learning needs of students from diverse backgrounds
    • Sustained personal engagement with communities that are underrepresented in the academy and an ability to bring this asset to learning, teaching, and scholarship at the college and university level
    • Likelihood of using the diversity of human experience as an educational resource in teaching and scholarship
    • Membership in one or more of the following groups whose underrepresentation in the American professoriate has been severe and longstanding:
      • Alaska Natives (Aleut, Eskimo, or other Indigenous People of Alaska)
      • Black/African Americans
      • Mexican Americans/Chicanas/Chicanos
      • Native American Indians
      • Native Pacific Islanders (Polynesian/Micronesian)
      • Puerto Ricans
  • Applications will be evaluated by panels of distinguished scholars selected by the Academies.
    • The panels will use academic records, essays, letters of recommendation, the application itself, and other appropriate materials as the basis for determining the extent to which candidates meet the eligibility requirements and the selection criteria.
    • The quality of the plan of study or research, the bibliography, the appropriateness of the proposed fellowship activities, the choice of host institution, and the potential for career enhancement will also be carefully reviewed. 
  • Review panels may also look at additional factors such as the likelihood that the applicant will fully utilize 9 to 12 months of postdoctoral support.  


  • Individuals enrolled in the following practice-oriented programs will not be supported:
    • administration, audiology, business, consumer studies, curriculum development, human resource management, exercise physiology, filmmaking, fine arts, guidance, kinesiology, leadership, library and information science, management, nursing, occupational health, performing arts, personnel, physical education, physical therapy, public health, rehabilitation science, social welfare, social work, speech pathology, and teacher education.
  • In addition, awards will not be made in such areas as medicine, law, and public health.
  • Interdisciplinary areas of study that have major content in ineligible fields listed above will not be included in the competition.