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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 history and social study of science 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 doing research in the history and social studies of chemistry, chemical engineering, and the life sciences. Fellows are expected to participate in biweekly informal writing groups and give at least one Lunchtime Lecture. They also have the opportunity to take part in a variety of outreach activities while in residence at the Institute.

The Beckman Center offers a number of fellowship types:

80/20 Postdoctoral Fellowships (2 years)

These fellowships reflect the Institute’s commitment to providing career-launching fellowships for recent PhDs and its support for the career diversity initiatives of the American Historical Association and affiliated scholarly societies. The 80/20 postdoctoral fellowship program will enable the Beckman Center’s postdocs to build skills and experience that can enhance their opportunities outside the academy or their work within it.

During each of the two years fellows will spend on average one day a week working closely with Institute staff on projects related to their research in one of four concentrations: rare books, museum, oral history, or public programs. The rare books and museum concentrations incorporate a digital component, and all fellows undertake at least one outreach activity. The rest of the time fellows are expected to take advantage of the Institute’s considerable resources to develop and publish their own research. In addition, each 80/20 fellow will give one of our two flagship Fellow in Focus public lectures, either in the fall or the spring. There will also be an opportunity to organize jointly a two-day workshop in the Institute’s state-of-the-art conference center on a topic determined collaboratively by the fellows.

Applicants for 80/20 postdoctoral fellowships must expect to have their PhD in hand before July 2020 and have earned that 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 and an annual grant for 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. We also encourage applications from candidates in dissertation- or thesis-only PhD programs outside of the United States whose funding does not extend to a fourth year. The stipend is US$26,000, with an additional one-off grant 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.

Applications for 2021–2022/2023 will open in the fall.
Read about our application procedure here.


Library Travel Grants

The Othmer Library offers travel grants for periods of up to two weeks for research using the primary research materials. Applicants must currently reside more than 75 miles from Philadelphia in order to be eligible. Travel grants will be awarded on a rolling basis starting at the beginning of each fiscal year until all available funding has been distributed.

Travel grants are $750 per week and are intended to help defray the costs of travel and accommodation. To apply fill out our online application form.


Other Fellowships

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