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Fellowships to Early Career Conservation Scientists at USA Institutions to Participate in a Post-Doctoral Research Program

David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship (Smith Fellows Program)


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
Cedar Tree Foundation
Array ( )

Geographic Focus

Important Dates
Deadline: 09/15/23 5:00 PM EST Receipt Save

Grant Description
Fellowships to early-career conservation scientists of any nationality based at USA institutions. This two-year post-doctoral fellowship program is intended to support leading scientists by fostering research skills improvement and providing field learning experiences, training programs, and peer networking. The goal of the fellowship is to enable the conservation scientists to 1. Build productive partnerships with conservation practitioners; and 2. Contribute and communicate scientific knowledge to problems of critical importance in conservation.

The focus of Smith Fellows’ research and activities should be characterized by:

  • Cutting edge research in conservation science;
  • Defining frontiers and leading the future of conservation science;
  • Developing the future world leaders in conservation research and application through training and mentorship;
  • Building coalitions of organizations and partnerships to support conservation science;
  • Supporting and encouraging high-potential individuals to accept risk as a component of change and leadership and thus make significant change in the world.

These Fellowships provide support for outstanding early-career scientists from around the globe based at a United States institution to improve and expand their research skills while directing their efforts towards problems of pressing conservation concern for the United States. Individuals who want to better link conservation science and theory with policy and management are encouraged to apply. 

Smith Fellows are awarded two years of support for applied research in the field of conservation science and closely related fields. Research approaches may include comparative studies, synthetic analyses across sites, experimentation or observational studies, applied modeling, or any combination. Proposed research may include intensive work at one site, work at multiple sites, or comparative evaluations of studies by other scientists across many sites. 

Fellows will spend up to three weeks per year during their fellowship attending Program-sponsored professional development retreats each year. These retreats provide opportunities to cultivate skills typically not covered during academic education including: leadership, communications, professional and funder networks, and to gain better understanding of policy-making and application of research. Fellows are expected to pursue the research outlined in their proposal on a full-time basis.


Additional Eligibility Criteria
To be eligible individuals must have completed their doctorate within the past five years or by the time the award is made in 2024 (September 2024 latest). Applicants who have not yet completed their doctorate must clearly indicate on the application the date the degree is expected.

The Fellowship funders require that the Fellowship be administered by a U.S. based institution and that the research have relevance to conservation in the U.S. However, U.S. citizenship is not required.

Pre-Application Information
Important Dates:
All applications materials must be received by September 15, 2023. Finalist interviews will be conducted in January or February 2024. All candidates will be notified of the status of their application by January 31, 2024. Funds are available for Fellows to start anytime between March and September 2024.

Program information:

Watch the informational webinar recording here:

Estimated Size of Grant
Each Fellow will receive an annual salary of $65,000 plus benefits, with the post-doctoral position expected to run for two consecutive years. In addition to the stipend, each Fellow receives a travel and research budget of $40,000 over the 2-year fellowship period.

Contact Information
Apply online:

Questions about the application process may be directed to the Smith Fellows Program at

David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship
Society for Conservation Biology
1133 15th Street NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20005 USA
Phone: 1-202-234-4133 x101

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