WHOI Postdoctoral Scholar Program

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)

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Grant amount: More than US $87,750

Anticipated deadline: Oct 15, 2020 8:59pm PDT

Applicant type: Postdoctoral Researcher

Funding uses: Fellowship

Location of project: Anywhere in the world

Location of residency: Anywhere in the world

Must travel to: Barnstable County, Massachusetts

Degree requirements: Applicants must be within 3 years of receiving their PhD

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About this funder:



WHOI Vision

The ocean is a defining feature of our planet and crucial to life on Earth, yet it remains one of the planet’s last unexplored frontiers. For this reason, WHOI scientists and engineers are committed to understanding all facets of the ocean as well as its complex connections with Earth’s atmosphere, land, ice, seafloor, and life—including humanity. This is essential not only to advance knowledge about our planet, but also to ensure society’s long-term welfare and to help guide human stewardship of the environment. WHOI researchers are also dedicated to training future generations of ocean science leaders, to providing unbiased information that informs public policy and decision-making, and to expanding public awareness about the importance of the global ocean and its resources.

Mission Statement

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is dedicated to research and education to advance understanding of the ocean and its interaction with the Earth system, and to communicating this understanding for the benefit of society.

WHOI Postdoctoral Scholar Program

Eighteen-month Postdoctoral Scholar awards are offered annually to recipients of new or recent doctorates in the fields of chemistry, engineering, geology, geophysics, mathematics, meteorology, physics, and biology as well as oceanography. The competitive awards are designed to further the education and training of the applicant with primary emphasis placed on the individual's research promise.

Successful applicants of awards can initiate their study and research period at the Institution any time after January 1 and before December 1st of the year following the award notification. December 1st is a firm deadline. Recipients of the 2018-2019 awards will receive a stipend of $58,500 per year for an 18 month appointment, plus a relocation allowance. Limited support is also available for travel expenses, equipment, supplies and special services.

Extensions of scholar appointments may be possible if required to complete the initial research program. Extensions are rare, and restricted to one, six-month extension of the initial 18-month Scholar appointment, and the extension must be contiguous to the original appointment. Requests to extend a Scholar appointment will not be considered until after the first annual review. An extension request is initiated by a Scholar and his/her sponsor(s) and requires approval by the Chair of the Department hosting the Scholar and the Vice President for Academic Programs. In addition, a source of WHOI internal funds (unrestricted funds) to support the costs of the extension needs to be identified by the Scholar's advisor or others involved with the Scholar's research program. Extensions of a Scholar appointment beyond 24 months are not allowed, although a Scholar can be considered for appointment as a Postdoctoral Investigator following procedures defined by WHOI Human Resources.

Scholars are chosen through a highly competitive process, and for this and other reasons, these appointments carry special recognition at the Institution. Each recipient is encouraged to pursue his or her own research interests in association with a member of the Resident Scientific or Senior Technical Staff. Each award recipient is provided with office and laboratory space in close proximity to the resident staff acting as sponsor and general advisor throughout the award period.

Communication with potential WHOI advisors prior to submitting an application is encouraged. We will make sure that any staff member you mention as a potential sponsor has an opportunity to review your application. 

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


  • In order to be eligible for one of these awards, applicants must have received their doctoral degree within the past 2-3 years.
  • However, applicants do not need to have already received their degree prior to applying. 
  • It is also expected that candidates will have a command of the English language.
  • Fellowships are available to new or recent doctoral graduates in diverse areas of research. Applications will be accepted from doctoral recipients with research interests associated with the following:
    • Departments - Applicants who wish to conduct research on topics of general interest to one or more of the Departments are encouraged to apply. Interdepartmental research is also encouraged. The Departments are:
      • Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering
      • Biology
      • Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry
      • Geology & Geophysics
      • Physical Oceanography
    • A joint USGS/WHOI award will be given to a postdoc whose research is in an area of common interest between USGS and WHOI Scientific Staff. The individual will interact with both USGS and WHOI based advisors on their research.


  • MIT/WHOI Joint Program Students, and those holding any type of WHOI appointment at the post-Ph.D. level during the 12 months prior to December 31st of the Scholar application year are not eligible for the Scholar competition.
  • Usually, scientists with more than three to four years of postdoctoral experience are not considered eligible for these awards.