The purpose of the David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship is: To create opportunities for leading conservation scientists to strengthen their skills through two years of applied post-doctoral research, supplemented by training programs, peer networking, and field learning experiences; so that they may: 1. Build productive partnerships with conservation practitioners; and 2. Contribute and communicate scientific knowledge to problems of critical importance in conservation.
The focus of Smith Fellows’ research and activities should be characterized by:
These Fellowships provide support for outstanding early-career scientists from around the globe based at a United States institution to improve and expand their research skills while directing their efforts towards problems of pressing conservation concern for the United States. Individuals who want to better link conservation science and theory with policy and management are encouraged to apply. We envision that the cadre of scientists supported by the Smith Fellows Program will eventually assume leadership positions across the field of conservation science. The Program is funded by the Cedar Tree Foundation, founded by Dr. David H. Smith, and administered by the Society For Conservation Biology. The Smith Fellows Program and its administrative host, the Society for Conservation Biology, are committed to equity, inclusion and diversity and invites individuals who bring a diversity of culture, experience and ideas to apply.
Smith Fellows are awarded two years of support for applied research in the field of conservation science and closely related fields. Research approaches may include comparative studies, synthetic analyses across sites, experimentation or observational studies, applied modeling, or any combination. Proposed research may include intensive work at one site, work at multiple sites, or comparative evaluations of studies by other scientists across many sites. In all cases, the central questions of the inquiry must be clearly articulated. Proposed study sites must be noted; an explanation of how the results will inform conservation practice is required.
Each Fellow is mentored by; 1) an academic mentor, typically at an academic institution, who encourages the Fellow's continued academic development, and 2) a field or practitioner mentor who helps the Fellow connect her/his research to practical conservation challenges. The practitioner mentor is typically affiliated with a conservation organization (government agency, non-governmental organization, or other non-academic conservation organization) with expertise and experience in “on-the-ground” application of conservation science. Fellows may be administratively based at either the sponsoring academic institution or conservation organization, typically the location of either the academic or practitioner mentor. We encourage applicants to explore both options to determine which would be more suitable to the proposed research and beneficial to their continued development as a scientist.
To be eligible individuals must have completed their doctorate within the past five years or by the time the award is made in 2023(September 2023 latest). Applicants who have not yet completed their doctorate must clearly indicate on the application the date the degree is expected.
The Fellowship funders require that the Fellowship be administered by a U.S. based institution and that the research have relevance to conservation in the U.S. However, U.S. citizenship is not required.
Each Fellow will receive an annual salary of $63,500 plus benefits, with the post-doctoral position expected to run for two consecutive years. In addition to the stipend, each Fellow receives a travel budget of $8,000 and a research fund of $32,000 over the 2-year fellowship period.
Fellows will spend up to three weeks per year during their fellowship attending Program-sponsored professional development retreats each year. These retreats provide opportunities to cultivate skills typically not covered during their academic education including: leadership, communications, professional and funder networks, and to gain better understanding of policy-making and application of research. Fellows are expected to pursue their research outlined in their proposal on a full-time basis.
Fellows are employed either by their sponsoring academic institution or conservation organization, typically the location of either their academic or practitioner mentor. The Program will provide up to 5% of the total direct costs as overhead reimbursement to the host organization. Second-year renewal of the fellowship is contingent upon satisfactory progress (including but not limited to participation in Program sponsored retreats) as well as timely completion of first-year activity and financial reports.
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