Funded Research Fellowship for Early-career Scientists in the NASEM Gulf Research program Early-Career Research Fellowships 2021

Sign up now to take risks on untested research ideas, pursue unique collaborations, and build a network of colleagues who share your interest in improving offshore energy system safety and the well-being of coastal communities and ecosystems via the NASEM fellowships.

The Early Career Research Fellowship will provide funding to scientists, engineers, and health professionals working on oil system safety, environmental protection, and human health issues relevant to the Gulf region.

Application Deadline: January 13, 2021.


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Successful applicants will receive the following benefits:

  • An award of $76,000 to be paid to each fellow’s institution in the form of a two-year grant:
    • Research funding of $75,000 will be provided to each fellow to use for research-related expenses, including:
      • equipment purchases, 
      • professional travel, 
      • professional development courses,
      • trainee support, 
      • salary, or any other costs directly related to the fellow’s research. 
    • The remaining $1,000 of the award serves as an honorarium for a mentor.  
  • In addition to the $76,000 fellowship award, additional funding will be provided to all fellows to cover travel expenses for a virtual orientation near the start of their fellowship term and events they are required to attend. 


To be eligible for application, at the time of application, entrants must:

  • Hold a permanent, fully independent position as an investigator, faculty member, clinician scientist, or scientific team lead in industry, academia, or a research organization. 

A postdoc is not considered a fully independent position.

  • Be an early-career scientist who has received their eligible degree within the past 10 years (on or after September 1, 2011).
  • Hold a doctoral degree (e.g., PhD, ScD, EngD, MD, DrPH) in the social and behavioral sciences, health sciences and medicine, engineering and physical sciences, earth and life sciences, or interdisciplinary scientific fields relevant to the charge of the Gulf Research Program.
  • Be affiliated with a non-federal U.S. institution that has a valid tax ID number.
  • Not be currently employed by the U.S. federal government.


  • The use of these funds for any other expenses requires pre-approval from the Gulf Research Program.
  • Applicants must identify a senior-level researcher at their affiliated institution willing to serve as a career mentor.
  • Fellows may be required to attend other events or conferences during their fellowship term, which may include a fellows or alumni networking event.

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Application Instructions

Before applying for the fellowship, learn more about

To apply for the fellowship,

  • Applicants are required to submit the following application materials:
    • Your resume or CV (up to 5 pages).
    • A series of personal essays that respond to the following prompts:
      • Relevance
        • Part 1. Using simple language for a lay audience, explain how your research has contributed to and will continue contributing to the Human Health and Community Resilience Track Goal: “Contribute to the advancement of health equity in the Gulf of Mexico region or Alaska by considering the social determinants of health.”
        • Part 2. What major health issues in the Gulf of Mexico region or Alaska related to the social determinants of health are you investigating and how is your research addressing them? How will your research contribute to the advancement of health equity in communities in the Gulf of Mexico or Alaska? (1000 words total)
      • Research Portfolio: The Gulf Research Program Early-Career Research Fellowship funds people, not projects. Therefore, your research portfolio statement should include information about your research portfolio as a whole, not a specific project. You are urged to write your research portfolio statement in a way that is understandable to a scientifically literate lay reader. (2000 word limit). 

Your research portfolio statement should include:

  • A description of your relevant research and projects to date.
  • A description of future work and the research goals you hope to accomplish in the next two years.

A budget is NOT required, and should not be included in the research statement. You may upload a budget as a separate task if your university requires that one be submitted.

  • Special Skill Essay: Working toward greater health equity requires multidisciplinary approaches, multi-stakeholder partnerships, and/or direct engagement with populations that are most vulnerable or at high risk. Describe the challenges you have had incorporating multidisciplinary approaches, working with diverse stakeholders, and/or engaging with at-risk groups. How did you overcome these challenges? What successes did you achieve? (500 word limit)
  • Personal Growth and Mentoring (750 word limit):
    • Part 1: How will the mentoring provided by the fellowship help you to address your career goals and challenges? What is your strategy to be a productive mentee?
    • Part 2: How will you know when you have achieved professional success in your career? What skills or characteristics do you need to work on in order to achieve this success?
  • Two letters of recommendation. Choose references who know you well and can provide reviewers with insights about your experience, skills, and abilities beyond what can already be gleaned from your resume/CV.
  • A statement (up to 1,000 words) from your selected mentor.

Your selected mentor must be in a senior-level position at your affiliated college, university, research institution, or organization.

Do not choose a mentor for a research collaboration. Choose a mentor who is willing and able to meet at least twice a month to provide guidance and advice on professional development and career topics. 

In their statement, your mentor should address how you, the applicant, will benefit from mentoring. Your mentor should consider your professional development holistically, beyond research productivity alone, and identify areas for improvement or potential growth. (1,000 words)

If you are unable to find a mentor at your affiliated organization, the mentor honorarium will be waived and you will be asked to answer an additional question justifying your selection of an external mentor.

  •  Click here to submit your application and all documentation.

About the NASEM Gulf Research program Early-Career Research Fellowships 2021

The Gulf Research Program’s Early-Career Research Fellowship was established to support emerging scientific leaders as they pursue untested research ideas and collaborations. 

The program helps researchers build their interest in improving offshore energy system safety and the well-being of coastal communities and ecosystems.

Due to understanding that the early years of a researcher’s career are a critical time, this fellowship provides unrestricted funds and mentoring to help recipients navigate this period with independence, flexibility, and a built-in support network.

The 2021 Early-Career Research Fellowship will have a three-topic track system with application periods spread out over the year.

The three tracks, aligned with the Gulf Research Program’s program areas, are:

  • Human Health and Community Resilience
  • Environmental Protection and Stewardship
  • Offshore Energy Safety

The Early Career Research Fellowship’s Human Health and Community Resilience track aligns with one of Gulf Research Program’s five program areas, and narrows the focus of the fellowship to support the most relevant research to the goals and objectives of the Board on Gulf Health and Resilience.

For the 2021-2023 Application Cycle, the Human Health and Community Resilience track goal focuses on contributing to the advancement of health equity in the Gulf of Mexico region or Alaska by considering the social determinants of health.

Discover more opportunities from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM).

Key Dates and Order of Program

All applications with required materials must be submitted by the deadline of January 13th, 2021 at 5:00 PM ET. 

By February 2021, written applications will be reviewed and fellows will be selected. 

By March 2021, all applicants will be notified of funding decisions. 

By June 1st, 2021 Fellowships will commence. 

The Required virtual fellowship orientation will also take place by June 2021.

Progress reports are due by June 30th, 2022. 

The fellowships will end by May 31st, 2023. 

The final reports are due by June 30, 2023.

Fellows will be selected based on a set of review criteria. 

The application review will be conducted in two stages by at least three reviewers. Applications will first go through an eligibility and relevance review conducted by Gulf Research Program staff. 

Applications that are eligible and deemed highly relevant to the charge of the Gulf Research Program will proceed to the second review stage focused on merit and impact.

In addition, the Gulf Research Program will be considering how applicants fit into its overall goals as well as balancing fellows across scientific disciplines and institutional affiliations. 

Up to seven fellows will be chosen for the Human Health and Community Resilience Track in 2021. 

Factors that contribute to an applicant’s likelihood for success include:

  • A strong scientific and technical background and superior scholarship.
  • Strong research background with a clear alignment to the track goal and charge of the Gulf Research Program.
  • Experience or demonstrated willingness to work in an interdisciplinary field or participate in interdisciplinary collaborations.
  • Effective verbal and written communication to both scientific and non-scientific audiences.
  • The initiative, creativity, organization, and interpersonal skills needed to help ensure projects, teams, or individuals accomplish their goals and achieve successful outcomes, whether small or large.
  • Experience or achievements outside of research such as community and civic engagement.
  • Membership in one or more groups that are traditionally underrepresented in the applicant’s scientific discipline.
  • Affiliation with primarily undergraduate or minority-serving institutions.
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Babajide is a content writer and site admin at Camberene. He majored in zoology and is also a tech enthusiast proficient in the use of python, R and other data analytics tools.

Babajide is looking into using machine learning and artificial intelligence in the near future.

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