Fellowship Openings

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The Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute announces two postdoctoral fellowship openings. We are a non-profit institute completely devoted to research and offer a unique environment for postdoctoral fellows interested in a research career with the option to apply for the Principal Investigator (PI) track.

Smith-Kettlewell is a uniquely attractive place to receive postdoctoral training in vision research, low vision and blindness. Our research areas include: visual development, eye movements, visual attention, brain plasticity, visual and oculomotor disorders, mobility, low vision/blindness rehabilitation and accessibility technologies. Our scientists use approaches such as psychophysics, eye and head tracking, clinical assessment, computational modeling, EEG, fMRI, computer vision, AI, and sensor technologies.

Our fellowship program offers the flexibility to propose and pursue independent research in close collaboration and mentorship with one or more of our experienced principal investigators. During the training period, fellows who are interested in a research career and have achieved necessary milestones can apply for the PI track at Smith-Kettlewell.

The fellowships require a Ph.D., O.D., or M.D. and are normally awarded for two years, with our most successful fellows often becoming sponsored investigators. Applications from individuals with disabilities or other underrepresented groups are particularly encouraged. One fellowship is a Smith-Kettlewell fellowships that is open to US Citizens and foreign nationals, and the other is an NEI Training Grant fellowship that requires fellows to be US citizens or permanent residents.

Applications will be accepted until January 31, 2023.

To Apply

  1. Contact one of the mentors to begin the application process
  2. Once a mentor has been identified, complete the application form online. You will need to attach to the following:
    1. Curriculum Vitae (CV)
    2. Letter of Intent describing in roughly equal parts 1) your academic and research background, 2) your proposed area of research, 3) why you chose to work with a particular mentor, and 4) how the proposed fellowship will advance your career.  Please limit this section to 1,000 words.
  3. The mentor should email a statement describing how the Fellow will benefit the mentor's lab and Institute (500 word limit).
  4. Two letters of reference should also be emailed directly by the recommenders by the application deadline.

Details of the program can be found here. If you have further questions, please email Dr. Preeti Verghese or Beatriz St. John at fellowships@ski.org.

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Selection Process

The Fellowship Committee ranks the applications based upon the following criteria:

  1. Qualifications of Candidate: Reflects the candidate's research experience and publications (CV), and letters of reference.
  2. Career Development: Reflects what the Fellow will gain from this experience.
  3. Benefit to Smith-Kettlewell and Mentor's lab: Reflects what SKERI will gain from the fellow's participation.
  4. Scientific Merit: Reflects the scientific merit of the proposed area of research and the relatedness of the research to SKERI's mission.
  5. Prior Usage of Program: Reflects the amount of previous fellowship support the mentor has received.

The highest-ranked applicants will be invited for a remote interview.

Award

The selected candidate will receive notification from the Fellowship Committee and will have 30 days to accept/decline the offer. To accept the offer, the candidate and mentor must develop a research project (3 pages) and submit it to the Fellowship Committee, along with the signed acceptance letter. The candidate will need to present proof of completion of doctoral degree (PHD, MD, OD) prior to beginning the fellowship.

Period of Support

Fellowship awards at SKERI are limited to a maximum of two years duration except upon specific appeal to, and subsequent recommendation by, the Fellowship Committee with agreement from the Executive Director.

The initial award is usually for 12 months. Subsequent periods of approved fellowship training and education are contingent on scientific progress, and efforts to apply for external funding, and availability of funds. Fellowships of shorter periods are considered on an equal footing with those for the full two years.

Requests for additional time or a break in time must be strongly justified. Such events include sudden loss of the Mentor’s services, accident, illness, or other personal situations, which prevent the fellow from pursuing research training and education in an effective manner for a significant period of time.

Terms and Conditions

All awards are made with the proviso that the second year of continued support is contingent upon appropriate progress and efforts to apply for external funds. In order to foster maximum efficacy of the fellowship program, each fellow is required to apply for external funding during the first year of their fellowship. Assistance in applying for external support is available from the SKERI Research Administration Office.

  1. In the unlikely event of a difficulty that may arise during the Fellowship period, the matter should be promptly discussed with the Mentor. If the problem involves the Mentor the matter should be discussed with the Chair of the Fellowship Committee. If the Mentor is the Chair, the matter should be brought to the Executive Director for resolution.
  2. Approval of employment outside of SKERI, during regular Fellowship hours, is at the discretion of the Mentor and must meet all appropriate internal guidelines, and external guidelines in the case of outside funding of the fellowship.
  3. Publications and presentation of scientific discoveries by awardees are governed by the same policies that apply to employees of SKERI. Fellows are required to sign SKERI’s annual Conflict of Interest statement.