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Seeking applications for Cornell University Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship program

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Cornell University is developing a strong discipline-based education research community, with faculty, postdocs, and students in biology, physics, economics, and more. DBER efforts also build on the University’s Active Learning Initiative, an institutional funding program to support faculty and departments to implement evidence-based teaching and learning. To continue to build this group, we are interested in supporting DBER applications for the Cornell University Presidential Postdoctoral Fellows program. Information about this program is below. If you are interested in applying with support from faculty in biology and physics education research, please reach out to Michelle Smith (BER faculty in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) and Natasha Holmes (PER faculty in Physics) by mid-June. Our current research interests are quite broad – you can find information on our websites or by contacting us. Prospective applicants should have a strong vision for DBER postdoctoral work that builds on or extends the current DBER programs at Cornell. As per the recommended research theme, we encourage applications interested in study DBER related to genomics instruction, though any interested candidates are encouraged to reach out.



CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESIDENTIAL POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWS are high-profile postdoctoral research positions with significant independence and resources to attract some of the world’s best young scholars to interact deeply with faculty and students on Cornell’s campuses.  Candidates from all areas of research and inquiry, who will be no more than two years past the award date of their doctoral degree by the application deadline, are eligible for this program. Successful candidates will have access to the full range of talent and considerable resources available at Cornell, and will be encouraged to interact broadly with the Cornell intellectual community, in addition to their postdoctoral research with a tenured or tenure-track faculty member (sponsor) and their research group. Cornell Presidential Postdoctoral Fellows will also receive lifetime membership in the Society of Cornell Fellows along with the participants in other named prestigious and competitively awarded Cornell postdoctoral fellowships. Approximately six to ten Presidential Fellowships are awarded each year, with the inaugural cohort of ten fellows chosen in the academic 2017-2018 year, and nine selected in 2018-2019. For the 2019-2020 selection cycle, as part of the Provost’s Radical Collaborations initiative, some of the postdoctoral positions each year will be reserved for applications focusing on one thematic area of Radical Collaboration outlined by the Provost’s office. This year, the chosen topic will be “Advancing Genome Biology”, in line with the Provost’s task force on Genome Biology which can be found here:  Applicants whose research is not covered by this theme are still encouraged to apply.

Appointments are for up to three years, dependent on positive annual evaluations, and may include a teaching component where appropriate of no more than 25% averaged over the length of the appointment.  The stipend for appointments in the 2019-2020 academic year will be $68,000 plus full Cornell University endowed employee fringe benefits. Each Fellow also will be provided $5,000 annually for discretionary research expenses including travel. Interested individuals can contact any tenure-track or tenured Cornell faculty member(s), i.e. assistant, associate or full professor, who, if agreeable to serve as the lead sponsor(s), will endorse the candidate’s application. We recommend contacting prospective faculty sponsors as early as possible. A tenure track assistant professor may serve as a primary sponsor only if a tenured professor serves as secondary sponsor. All Cornell faculty may only sponsor a total of one postdoctoral candidate application (either as primary or secondary sponsor), however if an Assistant Professor is the primary sponsor, tenured faculty may additionally sponsor one as a secondary.

Applications will be judged on the qualifications of the candidate, including their ability to be an ambassador for Cornell University, and the quality and originality of the proposed research and its potential impact. Review and ranking of applications will be performed by a representative faculty committee, and decisions are expected between December 2019 and February 2020. 

More information can be found on our website here:


Interested individuals can contact any tenure-track or tenured Cornell faculty member(s) who is agreeable to serve as the sponsor(s), to request sponsorship and the required letter of recommendation.  It is recommended to contact the Cornell faculty member well in advance of the deadline, as faculty may receive multiple requests to sponsor applicants. Applications will be submitted using the online submission portal. To submit an application, please visit our website, and click on “How to Apply”, or apply directly to our online application system at


  1.  Candidate CV (4 page max), including publication list and date of Ph.D. graduation, and listing the Ph.D. advisors name. If not yet graduated, please note the estimated date for graduation. Applicants graduating before September 1st 2017 will not be considered. Font size should be no smaller than 11pt.

2. A description of proposed research (2 page max.) that should include a clear statement of objectives and of the significance and expected impact of the proposed research if successful. If your application is responsive to the Genome Biology Initiative, you must include a section outlining how your proposed work aligns with this Radical Collaboration. This page limit includes figures, citations, references, tables etc. Font size should be no smaller than 11pt. Applications exceeding this limit will be rejected without review.

3. Two letters of recommendation (2 page max. for each letter), including one that must be from the candidate’s PhD thesis advisor, which provide detailed assessments of the candidate’s qualifications and potential for innovative, ground-breaking independent research.

4. A letter of support from Cornell lead (and secondary if applicable) faculty sponsor(s) (2 page max.) including a brief statement of any financial and logistical support of the proposed research that will be provided by the faculty sponsor(s). These letters are critical and will be taken into careful consideration by the review committee. No other letters should be included.

5. A statement on diversity and inclusion (1 page max.), that outlines your experiences with diversity, equity and inclusion. Those experiences can include, but are not limited to the following: lived experience as a member of an underrepresented group; experience living and meaningfully interacting with individuals with a variety of identities; and professional development or other training in diversity, equity and inclusion. If your experiences are different from those listed and you have a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, please explain how you will manifest that commitment in this postdoctoral position. Font size should be no smaller than 11pt.

Application materials should be submitted by the postdoctoral applicant to the online application portal here:

NOTE: If proposed sponsors or recommendation letter authors wish to keep their letters confidential, please submit the letter directly to as a PDF file, with the file name “ApplicantLastName, ApplicantFirstName-CPPF2020”.

Deadline for all materials:  Monday September 2, 2019 5:00pm Eastern Standard Time. Late applications will be rejected without review.

Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University's heritage.  We are a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities.

If you have questions about this program, please refer to our FAQs on our website.

If you have other questions or comments, please contact:

Cornell Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowships
Office of Sponsored Programs
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14850