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 diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB), and invite individuals who bring a diversity of lived experience and ideas to apply. We believe diversity promotes innovation and is essential to addressing complex conservation challenges, leading to more just, equitable and effective conservation goals. We are committed to an inclusive environment, ensuring that everyone connected to the program feels valued, supported, and empowered to thrive. Our commitment to DEIB extends to all aspects of the Program, including recruitment, selection, support, and advancement of our Fellows.
Smith Fellows are awarded two years of support for applied research in the field of conservation science and closely related fields, including conservation social science. Research may include approaches such as comparative studies, synthetic analyses across sites, experimentation or observational studies, applied modeling, incorporation of social science data, or any combination. In all cases, the central questions of the inquiry must be clearly articulated. Proposed study site(s) must be noted; and an explanation and plan for how the results inform conservation practice is required. For a strong proposal this explanation should include specifics for how the applicant will work with a broad array of partners and collaborators to ‘apply’ this work.
Each applicant proposes a team of at least two mentors to work closely with them during their Fellowship including: providing an ‘institutional home’ for the Fellow, helping with research design, connecting the Fellow and their research to practical applications, supporting the Fellow’s professional development as a conservation scientist, and helping to build research skills, collaborations, and networks. At least one of the mentors should have a primary focus on conservation practice and will help connect the Fellow’s research to practical applications and provide insight into the management and policy implications of the work. The mentor team is integral to the Fellow’s and project success, and mentors are expected to be an active part of the proposed research plan and to meet with Fellows regularly to help shape and guide the work.
Fellows may be administratively based at either the sponsoring academic institution or a conservation organization and are typically based at 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 2024 (September 2024 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 $65,000 plus benefits, with the post-doctoral position expected to run for two consecutive years. In addition to the stipend, each Fellow receives a travel and research budget of $40,000 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.
Click on the "Register" link and complete and submit the registration form.
Login to the proposal submission platform with your email and password.
Create your online application. For a list of required information and attachments, please review the Proposal Guidelines
During the Request for Proposals period, your application can be saved as DRAFT until all the required information is completed and attachments uploaded. As each section is complete, you will see a appear in the category tab when the application is saved. At any time, you can download and print your application by clicking on the icon in the Application Summary section.
On completion, save your proposal as FINAL. Download and print a copy of your application for your records by clicking on the icon in the Application Summary section in the right column. Note: If an update is required prior to the deadline, you can make the update and resave as FINAL.
If you require assistance or additional information, please contact the Program Staff - firstname.lastname@example.org