What are the Different Types of Science Fellowships?

Alan Rankin

Science fellowships are education or research grants given to individuals in various fields of scientific study. They can be offered by scientific associations and facilities, government organizations, and even the military. These fellowships are intended to facilitate cooperation between scientists of similar disciplines as well as those who are completing courses of scientific study. The selection process for these fellowships can often be highly competitive due to limited funding, and they are offered across a wide range of theoretical and practical sciences.

Observatories often offer science fellowships to astronomers.
Observatories often offer science fellowships to astronomers.

The most common kinds of science fellowships are research fellowships. These often take the form of internships or research assistant positions. They are commonly offered to students completing graduate work in a given field of science. These fellows, a term for both male and female fellowship recipients, work with experienced scientists or groups of scientists. While freeing these scientists from research tasks, they learn more about their chosen fields and sometimes make scientific advances and discoveries on their own.

Some science fellowships are designed for laboratory researchers.
Some science fellowships are designed for laboratory researchers.

Government agencies and private businesses will also offer science fellowships in various fields of study. As with research fellowships, the benefits are twofold. The fellows gain valuable work and lab experience while the organizations train potential future employees and advance their own goals. Government fellowships may be limited to fields involving major government agencies, such as medicine or space exploration. Private fellowships are available in virtually all fields of science. Military organizations can also offer fellowships, and these do not always involve combat training or similar scenarios. Examples of non-martial fellowships offered by military organizations include civil engineering and aquatic research.

Scientific facilities also offer science fellowships, sometimes in conjunction with government or business organizations, which provide funding in exchange for access to the resulting scientific or technological advances. For example, a particle accelerator facility will usually have several staff members on physics fellowships, including both graduate students and established professionals. Observatories, hospitals, and medical research facilities may offer fellowships in astronomy, medicine, and biology, respectively. Students seeking engineering fellowships might find themselves working on construction projects such as bridges or dams.

Universities are also likely places to find science fellowships. Some larger universities have their own research departments, while others require faculty positions in science instruction. Science fellows may find themselves undertaking both duties simultaneously. Science funding is limited, so competition for such positions is likely to be fierce, with those who excel in academic and scientific prowess being the most likely to secure them.

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