AAAS Fellowship Application System - Eligibility Questions

Q: Who is the ideal candidate for a AAAS fellowship? 
There is no "ideal" candidate for a fellowship. Fellows come from many different disciplines in science and engineering; they arrive from academia, industry and the non-profit sectors; and they represent a broad range of career stages, from recently graduated postdocs to mid-career professionals and faculty on sabbatical, to retired individuals.

Q: Is previous experience in public policy necessary to be a strong candidate?
No, the fellowships are designed to help scientists and engineers learn about the policymaking process by participating in it. However, it is important to convey an understanding of the societal impacts of science in your application materials and during an interview. You should also be prepared to speak about how your specific scientific specialty relates to policy issues and how it can be applied in government decision-making.

Q: Do I have to have PhD to apply for a AAAS Fellowship? 
No. If you have a master's degree in any field of engineering with a minimum of three years post-graduate professional experience (not including further academic studies) you may apply for a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship. Scientists in the biological, physical, health/medical, or social sciences are required to have a terminal scientific degree (e.g. PhD, ScD, DVM, MD, etc.) to apply for a AAAS Fellowship.

Q: I am completing my doctorate after the application deadline but before the fellowship year starts. Can I still apply? 
No. AAAS will not accept applications from anyone who does not meet the degree requirements by 5 December. If that is your situation, we hope that you will consider applying next year. NOTE: Other scientific societies sponsoring congressional and executive branch fellowships have different application deadlines and selection criteria. We encourage you to explore other appropriate societies based on your discipline.

Q: What if I have completed all of my requirements for my doctorate, but my degree will not be conferred until after 5 December? 
Candidates who have completed all of the requirements for their PhD or equivalent degree by 5 December, but whose degree will not be conferred until after 5 December, may be eligible for a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship. The candidate must complete all degree requirements by 5 December, including dissertation defense and any revisions. In addition, the candidate's committee chair or equivalent appropriate official must submit a letter verifying that the candidate has satisfied all requirements for the PhD or equivalent degree. The letter must state the official date the degree will be conferred.

Q: May I apply with permanent resident status even though I am not a U.S. citizen?
No. US citizenship is required for all Fellowships. Permanent resident status does not qualify.

Q: May I apply if I expect to have my citizenship before the fellowship year begins?
No. Applicants must have citizenship at the time of application.

Q: Why are federal employees not eligible for the AAAS Fellowships?
The AAAS Fellowships are designed to educate about the policy process, and to bring additional scientific knowledge and external perspectives to government decision-making. Federal employees are often already involved in the policy process, and they would not bring external perspectives. Those not in policy-related positions have the opportunity to seek such positions from within the government system. There also are other options for federal employees to arrange exchanges that provide an experience in another agency or on Capitol Hill, such as an IPA (inter-personnel agreement). Also, the executive branch fellowships are funded by the hosting agencies and they seek individuals who cannot easily move into the system without a fellowship. NOTE: Some of the other scientific societies that sponsor congressional and executive branch fellowships do accept applications from federal employees.

Q: Are post-docs at federal agencies or national labs considered federal employees?
No, with the exception of individuals holding Title 42 positions. This category conveys the privileges of federal employment, and therefore is not eligible for the AAAS Fellowships. Applicants who hold a temporary/term-limited fellowship or post-doc with a federal agency are considered eligible, as are post-docs at national labs who are funded by a federal agency.

Q: I currently work for Congress; am I considered a federal employee?
Yes. Anyone working in a full-time, paid, permanent position at the federal level of government (including the executive, judicial and legislative branches) is considered a federal employee for eligibility purposes.

Q: Are members of the military eligible to apply?
Yes, members of the active military are eligible to apply, provided that the applicant is not part of the career military, thatmilitary service has ended before the start of the fellowship, and the applicant meets the other eligibility criteria.


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