The contribution of state-of-the-art science, technology, and engineering (STE) to the formulation and implementation of U.S. government policy, both domestic and foreign, has been recognized throughout the second half of the 20th-century as a critical element in reaching sound, comprehensive conclusions that reflect “good governance.” Without an accurate, timely understanding of rapidly advancing STE issues, it is increasingly difficult to identify and establish sound governmental policy that effectively meets the needs of modern societies. The articulation of “accurate science for statecraft” to policy makers has become an essential element in establishing effective international relationships in the 21st century.
Recognizing this need, the Secretary of State announced, on October 8, 2003, the Jefferson Science Fellows (JSF) program at the U.S. Department of State, establishing a new model for engaging the American academic science, technology, engineering and medical communities in the formulation and implementation of U.S. foreign policy. The JSF program is administered by the National Academies and supported through a partnership between the U.S. academic community, professional scientific societies, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
The Jefferson Science Fellowship is open to tenured, or similarly ranked, faculty from U.S. institutions of higher learning who are U.S. citizens. The application period opens each fall and closes in mid-January. Selected Jefferson Science Fellows spend one year on assignment at the U.S. Department of State or USAID as science advisors on foreign policy issues. Assignments are tailored to the needs of the hosting office, while taking into account the Fellows’ interests and areas of expertise. As part of their assignments, Jefferson Fellows also have the opportunity to travel to U.S. embassies and missions overseas. Following the fellowship year, the Jefferson Science Fellow will return to his/her academic career, but will remain available to the U.S. government as an experienced consultant for short-term projects.
For the 2016 program year, it is expected that the U.S. Department of State and USAID will host up to 15 Jefferson Science Fellows; the fellowship begins in mid-August.