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SBE Postdoctoral Research Fellowships (SPRF)

Fellowships to USA Early-Career Scientists
for Social and Economic Sciences Research

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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National Science Foundation (NSF)

Deadline Date:

11/01/19 5:00 PM Submitter's Local Time


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Fellowships of up to $69,000 per year to USA postdoctoral scientists at IHEs and nonprofits to support research within the behavioral, social, and economic sciences disciplines. The fellowship must support the early-career scientist’s research and training objectives. Proposals are encouraged from a broad range of doctoral-level investigators including those from groups that continue to be underrepresented in their field.

The National Science Foundation offers Postdoctoral Research Fellowships to provide opportunities for recent doctoral graduates to obtain additional training, to gain research experience under the sponsorship of established scientists, and to broaden their scientific horizons beyond their undergraduate and graduate training. Postdoctoral Fellowships are further designed to assist new scientists to direct their research efforts across traditional disciplinary lines and to avail themselves of unique research resources, sites, and facilities, including at foreign locations. NSF seeks to promote the participation of scientists from all segments of the scientific community, including those from underrepresented groups, in its research programs and activities; the postdoctoral period is considered to be an important level of professional development in attaining this goal.

The goal of the SBE Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (SPRF) program is to promote fundamental research in the SBE sciences; enhance the participation of underrepresented groups in science and engineering; provide an opportunity for independence and advanced training under the direction of a sponsor; and encourage doctoral-level scientists (who are not yet in full-time positions) to take advantage of the two-year Fellowship to prepare for scientific careers in academia, industry or private sector, and government.

This SPRF program offers two tracks of Fellowships. For both of these tracks, proposals are encouraged from a wide range of doctoral-level investigators including those from groups that continue to be underrepresented in their field. Some proposals may contain elements of both tracks, in such cases it is up to the Fellowship candidate to choose which track to submit his or her proposal.

  • Track 1: Fundamental Research in the SBE Sciences (SPRF-FR):
  • Track 2: Broadening Participation in the SBE Sciences (SPRF-BP): 

Examples of eligible expenses:

  • Expenses directly related to the conduct of the proposed research and education activities, including but not limited to materials and supplies, equipment, computing resources, access to databases, travel, publication charges, and subscription fees;
  • Expenses in support of the Fellow, such as office space, general purpose supplies and use of equipment, facilities, and other institutional resources; and
  • Expenses in support of fringe benefits, including but not limited to employee contributions to individual or family health insurance provided through a group or individual plan, dental and/ or vision insurance, retirement savings, dependent care, and moving expenses.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 175976

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Between 15 to 20 total Fellowship awards will be made each year.

Estimated Size of Grant:

The annual Fellowship amount of $69,000 consists of two types of payments, a stipend and a research and training allowance:
1. An annual stipend of $54,000, paid directly to the Fellow in monthly installments of $4,500.
2. An annual research and training allowance of $15,000, paid directly to the Fellow and intended to cover the costs of the Fellowship.

Term of Contract:

Support may be requested for up to 24 months.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Proposals may only be submitted by the following:
- NSF SBE Postdoctoral Research Fellowships are awards to individuals; proposals are submitted directly by the Fellowship candidate to NSF. Each Fellowship candidate must identify one sponsoring scientist and host institution (with whom the sponsoring scientist is affiliated) at the time of proposal submission.

Fellowship candidates may propose to hold the Fellowship at:
- Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) - Two- and four-year IHEs (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in the US, acting on behalf of their faculty members.
- Non-profit, non-academic organizations: Independent museums, observatories, research labs, professional societies and similar organizations in the U.S. associated with educational or research activities.

Fellowship candidates must meet all of the following eligibility requirements:
- Be a U.S. citizen, national, or legally admitted permanent resident alien of the United States as of the application deadline;
- Obtained a doctoral degree in the SBE sciences within 36 months before the application deadline or will obtain the doctoral degree within 10 months after the application deadline;
- Not already in a full-time tenure-track faculty position; and
- Not have submitted the same research to another NSF program.

Note: It is anticipated that the research will be conducted at an institution other than the Fellowship candidate's doctoral-granting or current postdoctoral fellowship institution. However, if the Fellowship candidate chooses to remain at their current institution, the Project Description should include a strong justification of how this choice benefits their research and career development.

Pre-Application Information:

Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5:00 PM submitter's local time):
- November 01, 2019
- November 1, Annually Thereafter

Full proposals may be submitted via FastLane or Submission through NSF FastLane is strongly recommended because these are Fellowships with unique requirements. If the proposer elects to submit through, notification that all required documents have been successfully uploaded into FastLane by the deadline date must be affirmed. Otherwise this will be considered an incomplete or late proposal and will be returned without review.

View the RFP online:


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For a list of relevant application documents, go to the Package tab (press Preview) on the link above.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Josie S. Welkom, Program Director
(703) 292-7376

Lisa M. Jackson, Program Specialist
(703) 292-7882

The National Science Foundation
2415 Eisenhower Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22314

CFDA Number:


Funding or Pin Number:

NSF 18-584

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

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