Frequently Asked Questions

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Questions About Eligibility

Q: My appointment is in an engineering department, but my work is in basic chemistry, am I eligible?

A: Yes. Fellowships are awarded for scholars whose research is in one of the eight SRF fields. If you’re in an engineering department, but doing chemistry, you are eligible for a fellowship in chemistry. If you’re in a business school, but doing economics, you are eligible for a fellowship in economics.

Q: In previous years, there was an eligibility cut-off date in relation to one’s Ph.D. Is there still a cut-off date that determines one’s eligibility?  

A: The Foundation no longer requires nominees to be within six years of their Ph.D. date.  So long as a candidate has received a Ph.D. and is in a tenure-track position with a teaching requirement, s/he is eligible for the fellowship.  Please note that although the cut-off date is no longer a requirement, the fellowship remains an award for those in the early stages of their careers.

Q: I don’t see the eligibility exceptions that were present in past cycles.  Should I still indicate why my career was delayed?  

A:  Although eligibility exceptions are no longer necessary due to the removal of the cut-off date, there will be space on the online application for candidates to highlight any career disruptions or delays they may have experienced.

Q: I'm tenured, but I meet all the other eligibility requirements. Am I eligible?

A: No. Tenured faculty are not eligible.

Q: What’s included in the field of Earth System Science?

A: Earth System Science concerns the processes that maintain Earth’s habitability: the continual exchange of certain gases, liquids and solids between the biosphere, atmosphere, oceans and lithosphere. Interactions between these “spheres” produce a broad spectrum of climate variability, including global climate changes, today and in the Earth’s distant past. Answering questions concerning that climate variability builds on studies of each of these “spheres” as a separate subdiscipline.  

During the nomination process, nominees will be asked to assign the primary focus of their work to one of the following six subfields: atmospheric composition, atmospheric and oceanic dynamics, climate variability and change, water and energy cycles, biogeochemical cycles and ecosystems, and earth surface and interior. 

Questions About Deadlines

Q:  Today is the deadline and one of my letter-writers just told me he cannot upload his letter today.  What do I do?

A: Submit your application without the letter. So long as you attached all the other required documents (CV, research statement, etc.) and so long as you have “requested” the letter through the Interfolio system, your application will be accepted. Once your letter-writer submits his or her letter of support through Interfolio, it will automatically be added to your application.

Questions About Nomination Materials

Q: Do the “representative articles” I submit have to be published?

A: No, but it is rare for successful candidates to submit papers that have not at least been accepted for publication.

Q: If I applied for a Sloan Research Fellowship last year and am re-applying this year, can I re-use my nomination letter and letters of support from last year?

A.  No.  Though the same persons may nominate you or write letters of support on your behalf, they must submit new letters.  This ensures that your nominator and letter-writers continue to support your candidacy for a Sloan Research Fellowship. 

Q: Can I see an example of a research statement submitted by a successful candidate?  

A: Unfortunately, no.  Research statements submitted by nominees are confidential. 

Q: Are there any font-size, margin-size, or other formatting restrictions on the one-page research statement?

A: No, but selection committees do not tend to look kindly on applications that try to skirt the one-page length limit through creative font and margin sizing.

Q: Can the one-page research statement be over a page?

A: We will not disqualify a nominee because the research statement exceeds one page. Selection committees are reasonable.  The committees ask for a one-page summary, however. Give them a one-page summary.

Q: Does the one-page limit on research statements include a list of references or can references be put on a second page?  

A:  Try to fit them in the footnotes of page 1, but if you can't do it, putting references on a second page is acceptable.  

Q: Are there any specific content requirements for the one-page research statement?

A: No. The point of the research statement is to permit candidates to briefly describe their current and future research, since publications lags can sometimes make a CV a less than perfect guide to a candidate's work.  There are no specific content requirements.

Questions From/About Nominators and Letter Writers

Q:  I nominated someone last year who did not receive an award.  Can I re-nominate that same person this year?

A:  Yes, so long as they continue to meet all eligibility requirements. 

Q: Does my nominator have to be my department chair?

A: No. Any senior researcher who can speak to the quality of your work may nominate you.

Q: Does my nominator have to be someone from my department?

A: No, any senior researcher who can speak to the quality of your work may nominate you.

Q: Can my former advisor write a letter in support for my nomination?

A: Yes.

Q: Is there a limit to the number of nominations per department?

A: Yes. No more than three candidates may be nominated from any one department.   

Q: Is there a limit to the number of people I may nominate?

A: No, though no more than three individuals may be nominated from any one department. NOTE: Anyone nominating more than one candidate may be asked to rank these candidates at a later stage in the selection process.

Q: Whom should I select as a nominator or letter writer?

A: Selection Committees recommend that letters of support be submitted by someone who can speak objectively and knowledgeably about the quality and significance of a nominee’s work. Letters submitted by co-authors, personal associates, or professional mentors are, in this sense, less useful to Selection Committees than letters submitted by those with more professional distance from a nominee’s work.     

Questions from Department Administrators

Q: I am an administrator who is processing a nomination on behalf of one of the faculty in my department.  Should the Interfolio account created be in my name or in the name of the nominee?

A: The account should be in the nominee's name.

Q: With the new eligibility requirements, our department now has several candidates who are eligible for the award that weren’t previously.  How should we prioritize our nomination process?  

A:  The Foundation cannot advise departments on which candidates to nominate; however, we can confirm that the award remains an early-career fellowship.

General Questions

Q: When are the winners announced?

A: Mid-February

Q: Does the Foundation provide feedback to nominees not selected for fellowships?

A: No. Selection committee deliberations are confidential.

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