State Policy Post-doctoral Fellowship Application Process

The deadline to submit applications for the 2022-2023 State Policy Post-doctoral Fellowship Program has passed.

Application Timeline

  1. Application submission site opens by December 1, 2021
  2. Deadline for Application Submission: January 24, 2022, 11:59PM Eastern
  3. Notification of Fellowship Offers: April 2022

Application Submission Instructions

Full applications must be submitted through an online portal.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Applicants must receive a doctoral-level degree (e.g., Ph.D., Ed.D., M.D.) relevant to child development prior to the start of the fellowship.
  • This fellowship is for early-career scholars. Applicants must have received their doctoral work within two years prior to the start of the fellowship year.
  • Applicants to the SRCD State Policy Fellowship Program must be a member of SRCD and be a U.S. citizen.
  • The potential placement must be a state-level executive branch agency office that oversees the implementation of programs and services that support children’s learning and well-being (from birth to 8-year-olds). Examples of areas of focus for agencies include, but are not limited to: education, child care, income security, early childhood mental health, family engagement, and child abuse prevention. Recent placement offices include: Indiana Family and Social Services Administration in the Office of Early Childhood and Out of School Learning and the Oregon Department of Education in the Early Learning Division.

What items are required in a State Policy Post-doctoral Fellowship application?

A. Six items from the post-doctoral candidate:

  1. Statement of interest (1,300 word limit). Please utilize SRCD’s Candidate Statement of Interest template for your statement of interest submission, making sure you adhere to the guidelines on the template. Your statement of interest should describe
    • Background and Qualifications: Please describe how your training background and experience in child development would make you a strong candidate for the fellowship (e.g. consider coursework including research methods courses, training, professional experience related to the application of research to policy or practice).
    • Research Expertise: What are your current areas of research, primary questions of interest, and methodologies used to address the questions?
    • Commitment to DEI: What does it mean for you to have a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in your developmental science career? This could take many forms, from how your research is conducted to how it is translated into policy and practice.   
    • Policy Interests: Why are you interested in working on policy issues relevant to child development and what types of experiences have contributed to this interest? What types of knowledge and skills do you hope to develop through the fellowship?
    • Career Aspirations: What are your career goals and how would the fellowship support your career goals?

    ​Candidates should confirm their understanding that the fellowship is a full-time, on-site immersion experience at the state placement agency.

  2. Current C.V.
    • Your current C.V. should include your academic appointments and professional experiences, scholarly products, awards, professional service and other relevant scholarly work. If applicable, please include other professional products in your C.V., such as technical reports or policy briefs.   
  3. Transcript (official or unofficial). Your transcript will be used to confirm that you have an academic background in developmental science.
  4. Three letters of recommendation for the post-doctoral candidate, addressing the following:
    • How does the post-doctoral candidate’s expertise, skill set, and interest prepare the candidate for a successful fellowship experience?
    • What is the post-doctoral candidate’s knowledge base and how does the candidate’s expertise relate to policy?
    • To the best of your knowledge, what drives or motivates the post-doctoral candidate to pursue this fellowship?

Please note, you may not submit a letter of recommendation written by your proposed academic mentor.


B. Two items from the academic mentor:

  1. Academic Mentor Form (1,050 word limit). Please utilize SRCD’s Academic Mentor Form Template for your submission, making sure you adhere to the guidelines on the template. This Academic Mentor Form should:
    • Academic Mentor's Background:
      • Name the proposed academic mentor and briefly describe the academic mentor’s background and research interests and how areas of research will benefit the fellow.
      • If the academic mentor has a relationship with the proposed state executive branch agency, briefly describe the nature and timeline of the relationship (e.g., research partnerships, consulting, advising). 
    • Support for the Candidate:
      • Indicate why they are supporting the candidate for this fellowship. You may address the following: how the post-doctoral candidate’s expertise, skill set, and interest prepares them for a successful fellowship experience; the candidate’s knowledge base and how their expertise relates to policy; and to the best of your knowledge, what drives or motivates the candidate to pursue this fellowship.
      • Mentoring Plan: Describe mentoring plan that you would follow to provide to the fellow to support their learning experiences during the fellowship and future career planning. The mentoring plan should include the following:
        • Frequency of meetings and whether these meetings would be one-on- one or part of ongoing meetings. with a group of graduate students or a research team
        • Providing guidance and sharing resources relevant to placement projects (within guidelines set by the agency regarding confidentiality).
        • Providing access to libraries, statistical software, and/or training.
        • Engaging in regular meetings with the fellow to reflect on: (1) the placement experience and connect the placement experience with potential future career plans, and (2) applications and connections between relevant research, policy, and practice. Support might also include, for example, directing the fellow to research literature relevant to a project; serving as a sounding board in the formulation of a research question, evaluation plan, or plan for monitoring aspects of program implementation; or addressing issues with data analyses.
        • Confirm that the academic mentor agrees to participate in the fellowship-related activities if the candidate is awarded a fellowship: join a kick-off call at the start of the fellowship year with the fellow, placement supervisor, and SRCD staff; discuss the candidate’s professional development plan and support their progress towards the outlined goals; provide feedback on the fellow’s Professional Portfolio at the end of the year; and complete an end-of-year evaluation of the fellowship.

    We highly recommend that the academic mentor be from a university center or research organization in the same state as the proposed state executive branch agency. If the proposed academic mentor will be in a different state, your Academic Mentor Form must include confirmation from the academic mentor that they will be able to provide the fellow access to university resources such as libraries, statistical software, and/or training. 

    The statement from the academic mentor must be signed and on letterhead.

  2. Current C.V.


C. One item from staff at state executive branch agency:

  1. Statement of support (750 word limit). Please utilize SRCD’s State Agency Statement of Interest template for your letter of intent submission, making sure you adhere to the guidelines on the template.

    The statement of support should be written by an employee in a leadership position working on early childhood policy at the state executive branch agency and who would provide the placement opportunity to the SRCD State Policy Post-doctoral Fellow. Note: it may be the case that an individual other than the employee in a leadership position would be the supervisor for the fellow. In such cases, we recommend this statement be written jointly with the proposed supervisor.

    The statement should include:

    • Background: Describe your title and primary role in the organization.
    • Possible Projects: Describe possible projects the fellow might assist with, with the understanding that specific projects will be determined together with the agency when the fellowship begins and that projects will evolve during the course of the year.
    • Support for the Candidate: 
      • Confirm your interest in hosting a fellow for an immersive learning policy experience and describe the supervisory plan. This would include a description of the individual(s) who will supervise the fellow and provide guidance and feedback on specific placement projects, regularly scheduled discussions with the supervisor(s) during which the fellow could ask questions and reflect on what they are learning, and identify opportunities for the fellow to learn about policy development, implementation, and evaluation in a state agency.
      • Describe onboarding plan to orient the fellow to the agency's structure and functions, including confirming that an appropriate workspace would be made available including use of a computer and telephone (used only according to agency guidelines).
      • Confirm that the placement supervisor agrees to participate in the fellowship-related activities in support of the candidate: join a kick-off call at the start of the fellowship year with the fellow, the fellow's academic mentor, and SRCD staff; provide feedback on the candidate’s professional development plan and support their progress towards the outlined goals; provide feedback on the fellow’s Spotlight column, Professional Portfolio, and Capstone presentation; and complete an end-of-year evaluation of the fellowship.

The statement of support must be signed and on letterhead.

How do I submit a full application?

Full applications were due by January 24, 2022. See “Application Submission Instructions” above for more information.

How are State Policy Post-doctoral Fellowship full applications evaluated?

Post-doctoral candidates will be evaluated based on the following evaluation criteria:

  • Demonstrates strong training in developmental science (e.g., topically child development and research methods coursework)
  • Demonstrates expertise conducting high quality research that makes important contributions to the field (e.g. record of publications and presentations commensurate with experience)
  • Demonstrates strong communication skills
  • Alignment of interests, learning goals, and career aspirations with the fellowship program goals and potential placement experiences, including interest in applying research to policy issues in the field
  • Demonstrates an understanding of and a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion

The Selection Committee will also consider the potential for meaningful fellowship projects at the proposed state executive branch agency as well as mentorship supports proposed by the academic mentor and state supervisor when reviewing fellowship applications.


Tips & Tricks

Watch the webinar on tips and tricks for applying to the SRCD U.S. State Policy Fellowship presented by Dr. Kelly Fisher, SRCD's Director for Policy, and Dr. Ruth Friedman, former co-lead for the SRCD U.S. State Policy Fellowship. Please note that SRCD will only be hosting state post-doctoral fellows for the 2022-2023 year and that the application process no longer requires submission of a Letter of Intent. For the most up-to-date information about the fellowship application process and application requirements, please refer to the above information on this page.