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National Science Foundation (NSF) Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowships (AAPF)

Fellowships to USA Early-Career Scientists
for Astrophysics and Astronomy Research

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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National Science Foundation (NSF)

Deadline Date:

10/11/17 5:00 PM Submitter's Local Time


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Fellowships to USA recent doctoral scientists to carry out independent scientific research in the disciplines of astronomy and astrophysics. This program gives promising scientists experience in education and research so that they may establish positions of leadership and distinction in the scientific community.

NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowships provide an opportunity for highly qualified, recent doctoral scientists to carry out an integrated program of independent research and education. Fellows may engage in observational, instrumental, theoretical, laboratory or archival data research in any area of astronomy or astrophysics, in combination with a coherent educational plan for the duration of the fellowship.

NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowships (AAPF) are available for the support of highly qualified, recent doctoral scientists to carry out an integrated program of research and education at the institution of their choice.

Fellows are expected to carry out a strong, coherent research program in any area of astronomy and/or astrophysics, including areas of observation, instrumentation, theory, archival data studies or laboratory astrophysics. Candidates are encouraged to approach the fellowships as opportunities to broaden their experience with research that moves beyond their previous research focus and that takes a broad view of integrating disciplines, extending technical approaches to problems, or expanding collaborations. Research that highlights the creative use of or is clearly related to NSF-funded facilities, institutes, or projects is particularly encouraged but not required. NSF encourages applicants to consider programs that focus on areas of research that are particularly facilitated or enabled by new ground-based capabilities in radio, optical/IR, or solar astrophysics, including the development of theory that guides their use or the interpretation of resulting data.

Fellows are expected to include educational activities in their fellowship plans, and candidates must each present a substantive, coherent program of educational activities as part of his/her proposal. Examples of such activities include teaching or co-teaching one course each year at the host institution or an academic institution with ties to their host institution, developing educational materials, or engaging in a significant program of outreach or public education. As a rough guideline, Fellows should plan to dedicate no less than 10% and no more than 25% of their time towards their educational activities; candidates should identify the anticipated time commitment for their proposed activities. Applicants are encouraged to discuss the proposed educational activities with their prospective host institution prior to proposal submission to ensure that their educational plan is consistent with opportunities and plans at the institution

Candidates may propose to hold the fellowship at U.S. institutions of higher education, NSF-funded centers, facilities, institutes, or U.S. non-profit organizations with research and educational missions. Fellowship tenure is also allowed at international sites that are operated by U.S. organizations eligible for NSF funding, such as the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, Cerro Tololo InterAmerican Observatory, or Gemini South. Fellows are expected to be fully integrated into the research and educational activities of their host institution.

The fellowship candidate must present a coherent research and educational plan throughout the proposed duration of the fellowship. However, the applicant may propose to take the fellowship to more than one host institution. Changes of institution may be sequential, which permits moving from one institution to another during the duration of the fellowship. Holding the fellowship at two institutions simultaneously, for example at an NSF-funded national center and a nearby university, is also possible. In the event of proposing to hold the fellowship at more than one institution simultaneously, the candidate must identify a primary host institution. In any case, the justification of the choice of institution(s) must be made clearly and compellingly as related to the proposed research and education plans, the professional development of the Fellow, and the activities of the host institution(s).

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 175937

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

NSF anticipates awarding approximately 8-9 fellowships annually.

Estimated Size of Grant:

The annual fellowship amount of $100,000 consists of two types of payments:

1. An annual stipend of $69,000, paid directly to the Fellow on a monthly schedule.

2. An annual fellowship allowance of $31,000, paid directly to the Fellow and intended to cover costs of the fellowship, including:

-Expenses directly related to the conduct of the proposed research and education activities, including but not limited to materials and supplies, equipment, computing resources, access to databases, travel, publication charges, and subscription fees.

-Expenses in support of the Fellow, such as office space, general purpose supplies and use of equipment, facilities and other institutional resources.

-Expenses in support of fringe benefits, including but not limited to individual or family health insurance provided through a group or individual plan, dental and/or vision insurance, disability insurance, retirement savings, dependent care, and moving expenses.

Term of Contract:

Support may be requested for up to 36 months.

Interruptions in tenure of up to 12 months or extensions without additional cost to NSF require approval of the cognizant Program Officer. A no-cost extension may be requested to extend the Fellowship award in order to complete the goals of the Fellowship plans, but no supplemental funds will be provided for this purpose.

Within the fellowship period, up to two months of the fellowship duration may be used for paid leave, including parental or family leave. The paid leave cannot be used to increase the level of the Fellow's salary support beyond 36 months. NSF enables career-life balance through a variety of mechanisms. The total duration of the fellowship may not exceed 48 months. Fellowships cannot be renewed.

Fellowship tenure must begin on or before October 1 of the award year.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowships are awards to individuals; proposals are submitted directly by the fellowship candidate to NSF. Each candidate must identify one or more sponsoring scientist(s) and host institution(s) at the time of proposal submission.

Candidates may propose to hold the fellowship at:
-U.S. institutions of higher education,
-NSF-funded centers, facilities, or institutes,
-U.S. nonprofit organizations with research and educational missions, or
-International sites that are operated by U.S. organizations eligible for NSF funding, such as the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, Cerro Tololo InterAmerican Observatory, or Gemini South.
-National centers, facilities or institutes funded by other federal agencies, such as NASA or the U.S. Department of Energy, are ineligible as host institutions for the NSF AAPF Program.

Pre-Application Information:

The full proposal deadline is October 11, 2017 (due 5:00 PM submitter’s local time).

Successful applicants will be notified on or about February 1 following the proposal submission deadline.

Full Proposal Preparation Instructions: Proposers may opt to submit proposals in response to this Program Solicitation via or via the NSF FastLane system.

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Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Harshal Gupta
(703) 292-5039

Diana Phan
(703) 292-7866

CFDA Number:


Funding or Pin Number:

NSF 16-575

URL for Full Text (RFP):

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