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By R. J. (Jerry) Peterson
The Jefferson Science Fellowship program allows physicists and other science, engineering, and medical faculty with tenured positions at US universities and colleges to dedicate an academic year with the US Department of State (DOS) or the US Agency for International Development (USAID), working on a wide range of issues in scientific and technical issues among nations. I was a Jefferson Fellow in 2007-2008, working in the Office of Economic Analysis of the DOS and I was followed in that office by a string of JSF physicists. The DOS and USAID have a strong need for the critical thinking and judgement you possess.
The deadline for applications for the 2020-2021 academic year is October 31, 2019. The selection process is begun by your application, followed by an interview. Fellows will continue their university positions, with salary and benefits continued by a memorandum of understanding with your home institution, with a stipend of up to $50,000 paid by DOS or USAID. Washington is an expensive town. Applicants must be US citizens and a security clearance will be required. Upon arrival, the units of the DOS or USAID will present their cases and arrange for interviews. You will be expected to be available for JSF activities for a few years after the year in residence in Washington.
One of the required application essays will ask you to specify how your home institution will benefit from your experience. I will be happy to discuss your applications (firstname.lastname@example.org), and I am sure that other JSF alumni would also be willing to help. A list of these alumni can be found at the Jefferson Science Fellowship website.
I found my year at the DOS to be highly satisfying, with my experience and background finding useful applications to new topics. One of the valuable sets of connections was with my fellow Fellows, a great bunch of men and women. And—it would surely be useful to be seen as a member of the APS Forum on International Physics (FIP), which you can join without cost as an APS member.
The author is Professor Emeritus in the physics department at the University of Colorado in Boulder and Past Chair of the FIP.
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