Smithsonian Mpala Postdoctoral & Senior Fellowship

Smithsonian Institution (SI)

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Deadline: Nov 1, 2020

Grant amount: Up to US $51,500

Fields of work: Biology Hydrology Anthropology & Cultural Studies Soil Science Humanities & Social Science Materials Science and Engineering Geology Show all

Applicant type: Postdoctoral Researcher, Faculty

Funding uses: Fellowship

Location of project: Kenya

Location of residency: Anywhere in the world

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

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About this funder:



In 1991, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) was instrumental in establishing the Mpala Research Centre, a site for multidisciplinary research and training in Africa,  in collaboration with Princeton University, the Kenya Wildlife Service, the National Museums of Kenya, and the Mpala Wildlife Foundation. Located on the Laikipia Plateau in north central Kenya, the Centre provides an ideal setting for research in a variety of disciplines, offering 49,107 acres of savannah and dry woodland, an extensive wildlife community typical of East Africa, and ample housing and laboratory space for 35 researchers and students.

The Mpala Research Centre is perfect for studies ranging from ecology and botany to animal behavior and human-wildlife interactions. Research at Mpala can be conducted by any applicant with an explicitly proposed, approved, and funded project.


The purpose of the Mpala Postdoctoral & Senior Fellowship are to promote the study biology, anthropology, geology, hydrology, material science, social science, soil science or related areas. Projects must be tenable in residence at Smithsonian Institution facilities and Mpala Research Centre.

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


    • Applicants must propose to conduct research at the Smithsonian in one of its areas of research as outlined in the publication, Smithsonian Opportunities for Research and Study.
    • Past or current fellowship recipients are eligible to apply for another award.
    • Applicants whose native language is not English are expected to have the ability to write and converse fluently in English.
    • Postdoctoral Fellowship:
      • Applicants are eligible to apply for postdoctoral fellowships who have or will have received the Ph.D. or equivalent.
      • The degree must be completed by the time the fellowship begins.
    • Senior Fellowship:
      • Applicants who have had a Ph.D. or equivalent for a minimum of seven years are eligible to apply for senior fellowships.
      • Senior Fellowship applications may be submitted one and a half years in advance.
    • The proposed research topic must be in an area of science or culture supported by Smithsonian that is also appropriate to Mpala.
    • The majority of the fellowship period should be spent in residence at Mpala [except if there is good reason not to, explain in the proposal].
    • All funds provided under Smithsonian fellowships, including stipends and research and travel allowances, are subject to tax.
    • The project must be a meaningful collaboration with an appropriate Smithsonian unit (collaboration with multiple units is encouraged) and include an endorsement from a Smithsonian sponsor.
    • The fellow must also collaborate with an appropriate Kenyan organization such as National Museums of Kenya or Kenya Wildlife Service.


    • Collaboration with the international organizations in Kenya, such as the International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology, is encouraged.
    • Collaboration with the SIGEO/CTFS plot is encouraged.
    • Proposals are encouraged in the fields of:
      • Conservation medicine,
      • Soils/erosion potential/water conservation,
      • Rangeland regeneration/grazing management,
      • Ecosystem services,
      • Socio-economic studies of natural resource management, and
      • The principals of wildlife ecology and behavior,
      • Other creative ideas are also welcome.


    • No employee or contractor of the Smithsonian Institution may hold a Smithsonian fellowship during the time of his/her employment or contract,
    • Nor may an award be offered to any person who has been employed by or under contract to the Institution in the previous year, without the prior approval of the Office of Fellowships and Internships.
    • The Office of Fellowships and Internships cannot provide funds for the travel or living expenses of dependents.
    • Predoctoral and Masters students are ineligible.