Janelia Graduate Research Fellowship


The Janelia Graduate Research Fellowship aims to attract outstanding graduate students to carry out research in the disciplines of neuroscience, bio-imaging, evolutionary biology, computer science, and applied physics.

This new fellowship program seeks to support exceptional students from the United States and abroad who are interested in spending time at Janelia to work on all or part of their thesis research.

Students will benefit from Janelia’s unique research environment characterized by extensive collaborations and exceptional resources and facilities.  They will also be exposed to world-class science through attendance at any of numerous international conferences and scientific seminars held at Janelia.

Janelia’s laboratories are intentionally small, giving graduate students individualized attention from a variety of senior scientists. Each visiting student will be paired with a research mentor who will provide scientific and career guidance.

Program Details

Student Eligibility:  Students enrolled in a doctoral program in the United States or abroad are eligible to apply.  Required course work at the home institution must be completed before joining Janelia.  Areas of study include biology, biochemistry, chemistry, computer science, engineering, genetics, mathematics, evolutionary biology, neurobiology, and physics.

Fellowship Term:  The duration of the award is 1-3 years.  Continuation of the fellowship award is contingent on good progress, which will be evaluated annually through a written progress report and consultation with the Janelia mentor(s).

Financial support:  Students will be full-time HHMI/Janelia employees with a generous stipend and excellent health benefits during the fellowship period.  Students will also have access to subsidized modern on-campus housing.  Janelia will pay an institutional allowance of $10,000/year to the student's home institution during the years the student is working at Janelia.  The terms of the allowance will be covered through an institutional agreement with the student’s home institution.  The fellowship will also provide travel expenses for students to travel to scientific conferences and their home institutions for required examinations and meetings.

Selection and Evaluation Process:  Fellowships will be awarded based on the candidate’s scientific accomplishments and potential.  Selection of successful candidates will take into consideration letters of reference, academic records, relevant educational, research and personal experiences, future goals and the impact a fellowship at Janelia would have on those goals, as well as the merits of the proposed research plan.

A group of top candidates will be invited for an interview symposium at Janelia.  During this symposium, candidates will give short talks about their research experiences, interests and goals.  They will also have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with potential mentors and other group leaders, graduate students and the fellowship management team.  Successful candidates will be selected after the interview and notified soon thereafter.

Requirements: Students will conduct research at Janelia for a minimum of one year and a maximum of 3 years and will work with at least one research mentor at Janelia. 

Awardees will present his/her research at one conference or workshop each year during the award period, and participate in the various graduate student activities at Janelia.

Application Materials: All application components will be submitted through a Web-based competition system.  A complete application will consist of the following:

  • Applicant contact information
  • Educational history including name of all colleges and universities attended, dates of attendance, and degree obtained
  • All undergraduate and graduate transcripts  
  • List of relevant honors, awards and professional activities   
  • Research experiences, including dates, project summary, names of scientific/research advisors, and the applicant’s role in the project
  • List of publications, oral presentations and posters, if applicable
  • A personal statement describing career goals, how a fellowship at Janelia will further those goals, any educational or personal experiences relevant to those goals, as well as any significant (scientific or other) accomplishments
  • Research proposal (with literature cited).  This should be an example of a project the applicant might undertake at Janelia, but not necessarily a commitment to a dissertation project.
  • Three letters of reference (uploaded directly via Janelia’s web-based application system).  Recommendation letters should be solicited from those who can best assess the applicant’s potential as a scientist.   Please note that one of the letters should be from the applicant’s current mentor.

We will have one competition per year.  The full application must be submitted via the web-based competition system.  Applicants are responsible for ensuring that references and academic transcripts are also submitted electronically via the Janelia application system by the deadline.

The application system for the Janelia Graduate Research Fellowship competition is now open!  The deadline for all materials, including letters of reference, is July 15, 2015, 2PM EST.  To begin, visit the application page

Program Administration




Zarixia Zavala-Ruiz



Maryrose Franko

Science Program Manager         Science Program Manager

Email us for more information about the fellowship.