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With around 20 scholars in residence each year, the Science History Institute is home to the largest private fellowship program in the historical study of science, medicine, and technology in the United States. Researchers travel from all over the world to use our collections and take part in a vibrant scholarly community.

Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry

The Beckman Center at the Science History Institute offers fellowships on an annual cycle for scholars whose research would benefit from the use of our collections. While in residence, fellows are expected to participate in regular informal writing groups, give at least one lecture, and more generally contribute to the vitality of our fellowship community.

The Beckman Center offers several fellowship types:

80/20 Postdoctoral Fellowships (2 years)

These fellowships reflect the Institute’s commitment to providing a career-launching platform for recent PhDs and our support for the career diversity initiatives of the American Historical Association and affiliated scholarly societies. Postdoctoral fellows of the Beckman Center have the opportunity to build skills and experience relevant to work both within and outside the academy. We encourage applications from scholars aspiring to library, museum, and public history careers, as well as those targeting the tenure track.

Our postdoctoral fellows are presented with the option of spending roughly one fifth of their time working closely with Institute staff mentors on “engagement” projects related to their research and based loosely in one of three concentrations: rare books, museum, or oral history. Each concentration incorporates a digital component, and all fellows are encouraged to undertake a range of outreach activities, which include contributing to our in-house digital magazine and podcast, Distillations. The rest of the time fellows are expected to take advantage of the Institute’s considerable resources to develop and publish their own research.

Applicants for 80/20 postdoctoral fellowships must be on track to defend the dissertation by the end of July 2021 or have earned the doctoral degree within the last five years. Postdoctoral fellowship stipends are US$45,000, paid in monthly installments, with an additional US$2,500 subsidy for health insurance, an annual allowance for research expenses, and an additional one-time reimbursement for initial travel expenses.

Dissertation Fellowships (9 months)

These fellowships are open to graduate students whose PhD dissertation proposals have been accepted by their respective university departments. The stipend is US$26,000, with an additional one-time reimbursement for initial travel expenses.

Short-Term Fellowships (1–4 months)

These fellowships are open to all scholars and researchers irrespective of career stage, including doctoral students, who plan to work closely with the Institute’s collections on an independent research project. The stipend is US$3,000 per month to defray the costs of travel, accommodation, and living expenses in Philadelphia. A limited additional travel subsidy may be granted to international scholars depending on the availability of funds.

Distinguished Fellowships (4 months)

These 4-month fellowships are open to established scholars who are able to spend either the fall or the spring semesters in residence at the Institute carrying out research related to the history of chemical or molecular science. The stipend is US$5,000 per month, plus an additional travel subsidy. Applications are made via the same process as short-term fellowships.

Applications for 2021–2022/2023 are now closed.
Read about our application procedure here.

For more information contact

Library Travel Grants

The Othmer Library offers travel grants for periods of up to two weeks for research using our primary research materials. Travel grants are $750 per week and are intended to help defray the costs of travel and accommodation. Applicants must currently reside more than 75 miles from Philadelphia in order to be eligible.

N.B. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we are not currently accepting travel grant applications.

For more information contact

Other Fellowships

Other departments periodically post listings for predoctoral, postdoctoral, and public-history fellows working in fields related to the historical study of science, medicine, and technology. These fellowships will be listed as they are announced.