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Brinson Prize Fellowship – Postdoctoral Awards in Observational Cosmology

Deadline: 6:00pm, November 2, 2023

The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) is collaborating with The Brinson Foundation to further the Brinson Prize Fellowship program. These fellowships are awarded to early career astrophysicists and cosmologists who are committed to chasing bold ideas with creative, nimble, and innovative research.

These awards focus on supporting research in observational cosmology, in particular that which complements and capitalizes on space science, including topics such as the first stars, the cosmic distance scale, and the development of large-scale structure. The program conditions are set by The Brinson Foundation, which administers the program. STScI  provides logistical assistance for the program to broaden community access to this opportunity.

Three fellowships are planned to be awarded this cycle, with starting dates in 2024. Fellowships will be held at a limited number of participating institutions.

A fellowship application consists of a research proposal and supporting documentation, as outlined below. Applicants must have received a PhD or equivalent doctoral-level research degree in astronomy, physics, or a related discipline. The date of the PhD award should be on or after January 1, 2020. The Brinson Prize Fellowship is only available to U.S. citizens.

Fellowship Policies


The Brinson Prize Fellowship is only available to U.S. citizens who received their doctoral degrees in astronomy, physics, or related disciplines on or after January 1, 2020, or who will receive their degree before September 1, 2024. 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.

Host Institution

At the present time, the Brinson Prize Fellowships may only be held at the following universities:

  • California Institute of Technology
  • Cornell University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Northwestern University
  • Princeton University
  • Stanford University
  • University of Arizona
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Washington

At most, two fellows will be hosted at any single institution beginning in the same year.

Applicants are asked to list three prospective host institutions in their order of preference. Applicants should also identify one faculty member contact at each of their listed top choice institutions. Mutual interest must be established prior to listing any faculty contact and institution. In general, fellows will work full time on their research programs and will be in residence at their designated host institution during the entire period of the fellowship. Should there be a compelling need to transfer to a different institution, The Brinson Foundation will consider the request, but transfers are limited to participating institutions.

Salary and Benefits

The annual salary for a Brinson Prize Fellow is comparable to that of other prize fellowships, including the NASA Hubble Fellowship Program (NHFP) and is subject to annual review and adjustment. In addition, Brinson Prize Fellows 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 “Brinson Prize Fellow” are similarly not allowed, unless otherwise approved by the Foundation.

While the salary of fellows is set by The Brinson Foundation, benefits such as retirement and family leave depend on the rules of the host institution.

Duration of Fellowship

Brinson Prize Fellowships are awarded through grants to host institutions for up to three years. 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.

full description of the policies and budget guidelines for the Brinson Prize Fellowship Program is given here.

Application Procedure

Application Deadline

Thursday, November 2, 2023, 7:00 PM EDT (4:00 PM PDT)

Incomplete applications and/or applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

Please ONLY use the link on the STScI opportunity announcement to apply.

Letters of Reference Deadline

Thursday, November 9, 2023, 7:00 PM EST (4:00 PM PST)