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2018 Program

Application for the 2018 NASA Hubble Fellowship Program is now closed.  Check back in September 2018 for information on the 2019 Program.


Overview

The NASA Hubble Fellowship Program (NHFP) provides an opportunity for highly qualified recent postdoctoral scientists to conduct independent research in any area of NASA Astrophysics. The research will be carried out at United States host institutions chosen by each fellow, subject to a limitation on the numbers of fellows that can be hosted by any one institution at any given time (see Host Institution below).

The NHFP provides salary support for up to three years plus benefits, and an additional allowance for travel and other research costs. Contingent upon NASA funding, 24 new fellowships will be awarded for 2018.

The NHFP encompasses the areas of astrophysics previously covered by the NASA Einstein, Hubble, and Sagan Fellowships. To continue the legacy of these programs, after their selection fellows will be named as Einstein, Hubble, or Sagan Fellows, depending on which of the three major NASA Astrophysics science questions most closely aligns with their proposed research.

How does the Universe work? – Einstein Fellows
How did we get here? – Hubble Fellows
Are we alone? – Sagan Fellows

The NHFP is administered for NASA by the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), in collaboration with the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute (NExScI) at the California Institute of Technology and the Chandra X-ray Center at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Awards will be made to support each NHFP Fellow through a designated host institution.

A fellowship application consists of a research proposal and supporting documentation, as described below. Applicants must have received a Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral-level research degree in astronomy, physics or a related discipline. The date of the Ph.D. award should be on or after January 1, 2015, except in cases of extraordinary circumstances (see Eligibility).

Important Dates and Deadlines

  • September 1, 2017: Announcement of Opportunity issued
  • September 1, 2017: Application website open
  • November 2, 2017, 7:00 PM EDT (4:00 PM PDT 23:00 UTC): Applications due
  • November 9, 2017: Letters of reference due
  • By early February 2018: Award offers made

Fellowship Policies

1. Eligibility

Applicants must have received a Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral-level research degree in astronomy, physics, or a related discipline. The date of the Ph.D. award should be on or after January 1, 2015. Applicants with earlier Ph.D. award dates may be eligible in exceptional cases (see below). Graduate-student awardees who have not yet received their doctoral degree at the time of application must present evidence of having completed all requirements for the degree before commencing their fellowships.

Eligibility may extend to those who received their Ph.D. as early as January 1, 2014, if professional work was necessarily delayed by personal or family considerations. Such extended eligibility must be justified by emailing nhfp@stsci.edu, at least 2 weeks in advance of the application deadline.

NHFP Fellowships are open to English-speaking citizens of all nations. Qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to race, creed, color, age, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, veteran status, disability, or national origin. Women and members of minority groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

2. Host Institution

Contingent upon availability of funding from NASA, NHFP fellowships are awarded through grants to U.S. host institutions. Applicants may select any eligible U.S. institution for carrying out their research as long as the choice is suitably justified in their proposals. For the present purposes, "institution" means a separate administrative entity that offers its scientific staff a career advancement process that can lead to long-term/permanent contracts or to tenure.

Justification is particularly important in cases where the selected institution is the same one where the applicant earned his/her degree, or is the current home institution of the applicant.

A faculty member or other eligible member of the scientific staff of the host institution will serve as the faculty contact for scientific purposes and will be the Principal Investigator of the fellow's grant for administrative purposes.

To avoid an excessive concentration of fellows at any one institution, at most two new fellows will be approved for any single institution in a given year, and no more than five fellows will be approved for a single institution in any three-year period, with the accounting beginning with the fellowships awarded in 2018. Thus in any given year some institutions may only be allowed to take one new fellow. However, as the counting of NHFP awards will begin with the class of 2018, all host institutions will be able to accept up to two fellows in both the 2018 and 2019 calls.

Applicants are asked to propose three prospective host institutions, in order of preference. An endorsement letter from the first-choice host institution is no longer required as part of the application procedure (described in detail below). However, an endorsement letter from the host institution will be required for accepted fellows.

The purpose of designating second- and third-choice institutions in the application is to provide the program with flexibility should there be an oversubscription of awardees at any single institution. If a candidate does not provide second and third choices, it is possible they could be denied a fellowship if their first choice institution were filled. It is, however, intended that most awardees conduct their fellowships at their first-choice institutions.

It is essential that candidates for NHFP Fellowships give serious consideration to their designations of first-, second-, and third-choice host institutions before their applications are submitted. These initial designations play an important role in how fellows are matched with host institutions. In exceptional cases, it may be possible for fellows to change their mind after the award is made; however we anticipate that it would then be far harder for the fellow to get the institution of their choice given the restrictions on the number of fellows at host institutions.

In general, fellows will work full time on the research programs proposed in their applications and will be in residence at their designated host institution during the entire period of the fellowship. However, should a fellow have a compelling need to transfer to an institution, and can present suitable justification, the STScI Director may approve the request to transfer the fellowship. Transfers are subject to the policies limiting the number of new fellows per institution. For more information please contact nhfp@stsci.edu

3. Stipend and Benefits

The initial annual stipend for a NHFP Fellow is comparable to that of other prize fellowships and is subject to annual review and adjustment. In addition, the NHFP Fellow will receive support for health insurance, relocation costs, travel, computing services, publications, and other direct research costs. No additional stipend, salary, or other remuneration may be accepted from any other appointment (such as teaching), fellowship, or similar grant during the period of the fellowship. Additional honorary named appointments intended to be linked with the title of "Hubble Fellow,” “Sagan Fellow,” or “Einstein Fellow" are similarly not allowed.

While the salary of the fellows is determined by the NHFP, benefits such as retirement, family leave, etc., depend on the rules of the host institution and whether the fellow is considered an employee or independent (stipendiary) fellow by the host institution. Prospective fellows are strongly encouraged to investigate the policies at potential host institutions before listing them on their application, as changes after acceptance can be difficult, and even impossible as host institutions reach their quota of fellows.

For more information on these issues please see the Fellowship Setup Tips and FAQs for Applicants.

4. Duration of Fellowship

Contingent upon the availability of funding, NHFP Fellowships are awarded through grants to host institutions for up to a three-year period. Funding will be provided initially for the first year of the fellowship; renewals for the second and third years will depend on satisfactory annual performance reviews, and the availability of NASA funds.

5. Status

NHFP Fellowships are analogous to prize fellowships or similar temporary postdoctoral programs at universities. They are not intended to be, nor to compete with, permanent professional career positions.


Application Procedure

1. Application URLs and Deadlines

Application Form:
https://catcopy.ipac.caltech.edu/nhfp/application.php
 
Application Deadline:
Thursday, November 2, 2017, 7:00 PM EDT (4:00 PM PDT 23:00 UTC)
 
Letters of Reference Submission Form:
https://catcopy.ipac.caltech.edu/nhfp/letter.php
 
Letters of Reference Deadline:
Thursday, November 9, 2017

Incomplete applications and/or applications received after November 2, 2017, 7:00 PM EDT (4:00 PM PDT 23:00 UTC), will not be considered.

2. Materials Submitted Directly by the Applicant

Applicants must submit their materials via the web Application Form. These materials must include:

  • Completed Application Form
  • Curriculum vitae
  • List of publications
  • Summary of previous and current research (limited to 3 pages total, including references)
  • Research proposal, described below (limited to 3 pages text plus up to 2 pages of references/figures)

Please do not attach anything not listed above (reprints, preprints, cover letter, etc.) to your application.

All materials submitted must be in at least 12-point font, single spaced, and all pages should be numbered.

Non-U.S. applicants should make sure that their applications will copy successfully onto 8.5x11 inch (21.6x28 cm) paper without loss (i.e., with 1-inch margins on all sides). Please keep each file to less than 2 MB.

When you fill out the Application Form you will be asked to specify the science fields and techniques that best match your proposed research. This is to help us match your proposal to readers. For a detailed listing and more information on how they are used in the review, see Science Categories and Techniques.

3. Research Proposal

Each applicant must formulate a specific research program that is related to or motivated by NASA Astrophysics strategic goals and is compatible with the research activities of the host institution. The research proposal text should be no more than three pages of text in length, with up to two additional pages for references and/or figures. Pages over the limit will be discarded.

4. Letters of Reference

Applicants should arrange for letters of reference to be submitted by three individuals who are familiar with their scientific abilities and listed on the Application Form.  Letters must be no more than 3 pages in length including salutation and signature–any additional pages will be discarded.

These letters must be uploaded no later than November 9, 2017.

Applicants should emphasize to their referees that the letters must be uploaded as PDF files using the submission form by the deadline for the review panelists to be able to see the letters. There is no assurance that late letters can be sent to the reviewers in time to be considered during the selection process.

Both referees and applicants will receive an email confirming the submission of each referee letter. If this email is not received, or if there are any other questions, please contact nhfp@stsci.edu.

5. Endorsement Letter

Applicants who have been offered an NHFP Fellowship must arrange for their fellowship to be endorsed by an official of the host institution. The letter of endorsement must be provided to STScI after the notification letters have been received by the successful offerees. The faculty contact at the host institution can usually help the offeree to determine who is the appropriate official, e.g. the department chair, division head, etc. The institutional endorsement is necessary to indicate that adequate facilities will be provided for the fellow. The endorsement consists of an acceptance letter signed by an authorizing official (typically the department chairperson) of the first-choice host institution. An example acceptance letter is as follows:

NASA Hubble Fellowship Program
Space Telescope Science Institute
3700 San Martin Drive

I am writing in regard to [offeree's name]'s application for an NHFP Fellowship. We have reviewed his/her research proposal entitled "[program title]" and are pleased to endorse it and to inform you that we will welcome him/her here and offer him/her support and facilities during the fellowship. Dr. [Faculty Contact's name] has agreed to serve as his/her faculty contact. Dr. [Faculty Contact's name] is authorized to act as Principal Investigator for external funding at our institution.

We acknowledge that our institutional indirect costs will be waived on the Fellowship stipend and fringe benefits.

Sincerely yours,
Chairperson

The authorizing official should upload the letter per the instructions received in the email sent to the successful offeree.


For Further Information

Prospective applicants may wish to consult the website Hints for Applicants for some helpful suggestions. Requests for additional information on application procedures and supporting documents may be requested by emailing nhfp@stsci.edu.


Selection & Award of Fellowships

1. The Panel Review

The application materials and supporting documents will be reviewed by the NHFP Selection Committee in January 2018. Applications will be read both by experts in the area of proposed research, as well as by astrophysicists from other areas of research. Applicants are therefore advised to attempt to write a proposal that will appeal to experts and non-experts alike.

The NHFP Selection Committee makes recommendations to the STScI Director in the form of a ranked list of candidates, which forms the basis on which the Director grants the NASA Hubble Fellowship awards. It often happens, however, that several successful candidates have requested the same host institution. In these cases, priority is usually given to the higher-ranked candidate. The general approach taken is to place as many new fellows as possible in the host institutions of their choice, subject to: the limits on the number of fellows that can go to a given institution, the prioritized list of host institutions provided by the candidates, and the ranked list of candidates provided by the selection committee. This process can become complicated, with the decisions of one candidate affecting those of several other candidates. Thus, with the goal of filling all the fellowships in an orderly manner and avoiding last-minute decision cascades, all successful candidates are requested (and in rare cases, may be required) to make their decisions as expeditiously as possible.

Fellowship offers for 2018 will be made by early February 2018, and acceptance or refusal must be made no later than February 16, 2018. After this date additional offers may be made if any of the initial awards are not accepted.

2. Review Criteria

The primary task assigned to the NHFP Selection Committee is to identify the best science programs proposed by applicants, which can span the breadth of NASA astrophysics.

The prime criterion used by the committee in their evaluation is excellence and expected impact of the proposed research.

The committee also takes into account the following criteria:

  • Results and impact of prior research, including Ph.D. thesis
  • Feasibility of proposed project within the fellowship timescale
  • Evidence of scientific leadership  
  • Evidence of service and public outreach activities
  • Sufficient intellectual, physical, and administrative support from the host institution and faculty advisor

Once selected, fellows are named to one of three sub-categories corresponding to NASA’s “big questions”: 

  • How does the Universe work? – Einstein Fellows
  • How did we get here? – Hubble Fellows
  • Are we alone? – Sagan Fellows

The fellowship sub-categories of Einstein, Hubble, and Sagan have no quotas and therefore do not affect acceptance into the NASA Hubble Fellowship program.

3. Commencement of the Fellowship

The NHFP Fellowship should generally begin in September 2018, but other starting dates may, in individual cases, be jointly negotiated between the fellow, the host institution, and the STScI NHFP office, along with the leads of the Einstein and Sagan programs, where the fellow has been assigned to one of those two programs. All fellowships must in any case commence before the end of 2018.

4. Visa Requirements

Non-U.S. nationals who are offered awards must have valid visas, either Exchange Visitor or Immigrant Visas, for the duration of the fellowship. If an awardee applies for an Exchange Visitor Visa, the sponsorship will be under the host institution. If he/she chooses to apply for an Immigrant Visa, STScI cannot be a participant in the visa request.

5. NASA Hubble Fellowship Budget

NOTE: A budget is NOT submitted with the fellowship application. Detailed budget instructions are provided to successful applicants and their host institutions after the fellow accepts the offer.

After the selection process, fellows and host institutions are notified of the intent to award a NHFP Fellowship. The fellow's faculty contact will act as the Principal Investigator of the NHFP Fellowship grant. The Grants Administration Office will then request that the host institution submit a budget through the Space Telescope Grants Management System (STGMS). For information regarding program policy, including allowable costs and expenses, review the STScI Hubble Fellowship Program Policy and Budget Information 2017. This will be updated each spring for the new year.

Note that a fellow may apply for other grants during his or her NHFP Fellowship, (e.g., HST General Observer grants), but such grants cannot include salary support. In such cases, the fellow may act as the Principal Investigator of the grant, if this is allowed by the normal rules of the host institution for scientists at the postdoctoral level.


Application Checklist

  • You should have received your Ph.D. on or after January 1, 2015 (see Eligibility for more details).
  • Upload the following materials as PDF files via the NHFP Application Form, by Thursday, November 2, 2017, 7:00 PM EDT (4:00 PM PDT 23:00 UTC):
    • Completed Application Form (including Science Categories and Techniques)
    • Curriculum vitae
    • List of publications
    • Summary of previous and current research (limited to 3 pages total, including references)
    • Research proposal (limited to 3 pages text plus up to 2 pages of references/figures). Include relevance to NASA astrophysics.
    • Do not attach anything else (reprints, preprints, cover letter, cover sheets, etc.)
  • Deadline for receipt of reference letters is Thursday, November 9, 2017.
  • We recommend that you remind your referees early to send their letters by the November 9 deadline.
  • Please email all correspondence to: nhfp@stsci.edu.
  • Receipt of applications will be acknowledged by email shortly after the online submission.

Applications for the NHFP Fellowships must be made using the NHFP Application Form. For technical questions related to application and/or letter submission, please contact: nhfp@stsci.edu.

For questions about policies and procedures regarding the NASA Hubble Fellowship Program, please contact the Hubble Fellowship Program coordinators at nhfp@stsci.edu.

 
 
 

Last updated: November 3, 2017