Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowships

The primary purpose of the American Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship is to increase the number of women in tenure-track faculty positions and to promote equity for women in higher education. This fellowship is designed to assist the candidate in obtaining tenure and further promotions by enabling her to spend a year pursuing independent research. Tenured professors are not eligible. Open to applicants in all fields of study. Scholars engaged in science, technology, engineering and math fields or those researching gender issues are especially encouraged to apply.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Candidates are evaluated on the basis of scholarly excellence; quality and originality of project design; and active commitment to helping women and girls through service in their communities, professions, or fields of research.

Applications are open August 1 to November 1.

$30,000

August 1, 2021
Application opens.

November 1, 2021, by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time
Deadline for online submission of application, recommendations, and supporting documents

April 15, 2022
Notification of decision emailed to all applicants. AAUW is not able to honor requests for earlier notification.

July 1, 2022–June 30, 2023
Fellowship year

When a date falls on a weekend or holiday, the date will be observed on the following business day.

  • American Fellowships are not open to previous recipients of any AAUW national fellowship or grant (not including branch or local awards or Community Action Grants).
  • Members of the AAUW Board of Directors, committees, panels, task forces and staff, including current interns, are not eligible to apply for AAUW’s fellowships and grants. A person holding a current award is eligible for election or appointment to boards, committees, panels, and task forces.
  • American Fellowship candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
  • American Fellowships are open to scholars who identify as women in all fields of study at an accredited institution of higher education or research. AAUW will make final decisions about what constitutes eligible institutions.
  • American Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship applicants must hold a doctorate classified as a research degree (e.g., Ph.D., Ed.D., D.B.A., D.M.) or an M.F.A at the time of application.
  • Tenured professors are not eligible.
  • Applicants may not apply for another AAUW national fellowship or grant in the same year.

The panel meets once a year to review applications for funding. Awards are based on the criteria outlined here. The panel’s recommendations are subject to final approval by AAUW. Fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis according to funds available in a given fiscal year.

To ensure a fair review process, AAUW does not comment on the deliberations of the award panels. AAUW does not provide evaluations of applications. No provisions exist for reconsidering fellowship proposals.

Applications and supporting documents become the sole property of AAUW and will not be returned or held for another year.

In selecting fellowship recipients, the following criteria will be considered:

  • Applicant’s scholarly excellence.
  • Quality of project design.
  • Originality of project.
  • Scholarly significance of project to the discipline.
  • Feasibility of project and proposed schedule.
  • Qualifications of applicant.
  • Applicant’s commitment to women’s issues in the profession/community.
  • Applicant’s mentoring of other women.
  • Applicant’s teaching experience.
  • Potential of applicant to make a significant contribution to the field.
  • Applicant is from an underrepresented racial/ethnic background.
  • Applicant will be in an underrepresented area of the country and/or type of university other than a top-level research institution during the award year.
  • Financial need.

The primary criterion for fellowship awards is scholarly excellence. Applications are reviewed by distinguished scholars and should be prepared accordingly.

When comparing proposals of equal merit, the review panel will give special consideration to women holding junior academic appointments who are seeking research leave, women who have held the doctorate for at least three years, and women whose educational careers have been interrupted. Preference will also be given to projects that are not simply a revision of the applicant’s doctoral dissertation.

American Postdoctoral Fellowships funds are available for:

  • Educational expenses.
  • Living expenses.
  • Dependent child care.
  • Travel to professional meetings, conferences, or seminars that does not exceed 10 percent of the fellowship total.

American Postdoctoral Fellowships funds are not available for:

  • Purchase of equipment.
  • Indirect costs.
  • Research assistants.
  • Previous expenditures, deficits or repayment of loans.
  • Publication costs.
  • Institutional (overhead) costs.
  • Tuition for dependent’s education.
  • Tuition for additional coursework.

AAUW regards the acceptance of a fellowship as a contract requiring fulfillment of the following terms:

  • All American Fellowship recipients are required to sign a contract as acceptance of the award. Retain these instructions as they will become part of the fellowship contract if the applicant is awarded a fellowship.
  • An AAUW American Fellow is expected to pursue her project full time during the funding period (July 1–June 30). No partial fellowships are awarded. Fellowships may not be deferred.
  • Fellows may work up to 20 hours per week, or teach one course per semester or term, with prior written approval from AAUW.
  • The AAUW American Fellowships stipend must be larger than any other single award or paying position (excluding sabbatical support or support from a program that is the functional equivalent of sabbatical leave) received during the fellowship year and must be acknowledged as the major award. Acceptance of concurrent funds of a lesser amount than the AAUW award is permitted but requires prior written approval from AAUW.
  • American Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellows cannot pursue a degree during the fellowship year.
  • Any major changes in plans for the fellowship year must have prior written approval from AAUW.
  • AAUW must be notified promptly of any change in the status of an application resulting from acceptance of another award.
  • Stipends are made payable to fellows, not to institutions.
  • The determination of whether there is a tax obligation associated with the receipt of an AAUW award is the sole responsibility of the applicant. Specific questions regarding income tax matters should be addressed with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, the applicant’s financial aid office or a personal tax adviser. AAUW cannot provide tax advice. AAUW is a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) public charity founded for educational purposes.

Start the application process by clicking the Apply Now button below to access the application and create an account through our vendor site. Complete all required components in the following areas.

  • Start
  • Background
  • Proposal
  • Recommendations, Documents & Review
    • Recommendations:
      • Provide three recommendations from the applicant’s advisers, colleagues or others well acquainted with her project or work. Standardized or form-letter recommendations are discouraged. AAUW does not accept references from dossier services such as Parchment or Interfolio.
    • Documents:
      • Proof of degree. Submit transcript(s)** or original letter showing proof of doctorate classified as a research degree (e.g. Ph.D., Ed.D., D.B.A., or D.M.) or M.F.A.
      • Project institution form. Submit the form that indicates you have approval from the proposed institution and the authority with whom the work will be done to conduct the research and have institutional affiliation, laboratory or office space, and library privileges during the fellowship year. No substitutions for this form will be accepted.

*A certified English translation is required for all components provided in a foreign language. Translations must bear a mark of certification or official signature that the translation is true and complete.

** All transcripts provided must include the applicant’s full name, the school’s name, all courses, and all grades, as well as any other information requested in in the application instructions.

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