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IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute Science Policy Fellowship Program

About the Program
This two-year fellowship* provides recent bachelor’s or master’s degree recipients a unique opportunity to use their critical thinking and analytic skills to work on a diverse set of challenges in science and technology (S&T) policy areas including energy and the environment, innovation and competitiveness, evaluation and scientometrics, information technologies, national security, and life sciences. Fellows will be involved in collaborative research for leaders in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in the Executive Office of the President and for such federal agencies as the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health.

*Exceptional fellows may have the opportunity to have their two year tenure extended to a include a third year

What to Expect
Fellows will work with a team of researchers to support a wide variety of S&T policy-related tasks. Over the course of the fellowship, fellows will develop professionally through:

  • Participation in analyses in support of tasking from Federal Government policymakers
  • Interaction with OSTP and other Federal science agency personnel
  • Training on specific analytical methods and tools
  • Mentorship from members of the STPI research staff
  • Involvement in workshops and discussion on relevant topics
  • Attending and presenting at select professional society meetings

Who Should Apply?
Applications are accepted each year beginning in the fall and selections are made in the spring of the following year. STPI Fellows are innovative, analytical self-starters who are able to work well in teams. Ideal candidates will have at least a BS/BA degree conferred in the year the fellowship will begin in a range of disciplines, including statistics, computer science, life sciences, physical sciences, engineering, mathematical sciences, or the social and behavioral sciences. Recent MA/MS-degree candidates and individuals who are completing an academically sponsored fellowship program in the year the fellowship will begin are also encouraged to apply.

Additional requirements:

  • Interest in science and technology policy (however, previous policy experience is not required)
  • Participation in analyses in support of tasking from Federal Government policymakers
  • Demonstrated written and oral communication skills
  • Willingness to undergo a security investigation and ability to meet eligibility requirements for access to classified information
  • U.S. citizenship

Application Materials
To be considered for this opportunity, interested candidates should follow a two-step process:

  1. First, interested candidates will apply to the Science Policy Fellowship job posting through the IDA website at: www.IDA.org
  2. Second, interested candidates will also submit the following documents via email to STPI-Fellow@ida.org:
  • Statement of purpose (Explain why you want to work in science and technology policy) - 1000 words maximum
  • Resume
  • Writing sample - 5000 words maximum
  • Transcripts (unofficial is acceptable prior to employment offer)
  • Two letters of academic recommendations; letters must be signed by the individual rendering the reference. PDF preferred. Letters can be sent directly to STPI-Fellow@ida.org by recommender

Applications are due January 31, 2014

Frequently Asked Questions

What science policy areas do Fellows work in?
The work that STPI does depends on the needs of its sponsors. Although previous experience and expertise are often factors in deciding who works on what, Fellows work in a variety of science policy areas. One Fellow with experience working in energy, for example, may participate in an evaluation of a grant program, while another with an education in engineering may be asked to conduct a literature review related to a political topic of the day.

What kinds of work do Fellows do?
STPI tasks are usually team based, and Fellows are an integral part of the team. Every project and sponsor has unique needs, but Fellows gain hands-on experience and develop expertise by conducting qualitative interviews, reviewing literature, coding and preparing data, researching technical issues, analyzing qualitative and quantitative data, writing memos and reports, and presenting study plans and findings to sponsors.

Does STPI hire Fellows that do not have policy experience?
Yes. Although the work that STPI does often informs policy decisions, policy experience is not required. Often, having specific content-area knowledge (or a willingness to dive in and learn about a specific content area) is just as useful as policy experience.

How much of what STPI does is policy creation as opposed to policy support?
STPI is a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC), so staff is not directly involved in writing policy. STPI’s role is to provide objective analysis to support and inform policymakers’ decisions.

What types of interactions do Fellows have with policymakers and other stakeholders?
Fellows frequently interact with sponsors at team meetings and presentations, and they may attend high-level meetings that provide opportunities to engage in discussions with policymakers.

What do Fellows do after their fellowships end?
STPI encourages Fellows to pursue an advanced degree or other opportunities that allow for career growth. Applicants and Fellows are encouraged to pursue studies and employment in technical fields or in more policy-oriented programs; however, there is no expectation or requirement regarding a Fellow’s future plans. As of this writing, Fellows in their second year of the fellowship have plans to pursue graduate studies in a variety of areas, including evaluation, law, and science and technology studies.

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