What Does a Fellowship at Smith-Kettlewell Offer?

Current SKERI Fellows

Smith-Kettlewell is a uniquely attractive place to receive postdoctoral research training in vision research and related fields. Our program offers the flexibility to design an individualized training plan tailored to achieve each fellow’s specific career goals. We train fellows to become independent scientists, with strong support and encouragement for fellows to propose and pursue their own research in close collaboration and mentorship with one or more of our experienced principal investigators. Many of our fellows who have successfully established their own funded research programs have even been invited to become Smith-Kettlewell scientists with fruitful and fulfilling careers. The fellowship program is funded by a National Eye Institute Training Grant, the Rachel C. Atkinson endowment and the C.V. Starr Scholarship Fund.

The 2024 SKERI Postdoctoral Research Fellowship application deadline is June 21, 2024.

World-Class Mentors

The principal investigators at Smith-Kettlewell are world-class scientists engaged in full-time research with few administrative or teaching responsibilities. Training stems directly from real-world research in daily collaboration with top-notch investigators. At Smith-Kettlewell, mentors are able to devote an unusual level of attention to teaching the details of research strategy, experimental techniques, and content-specific knowledge. This fosters a fertile and exciting learning environment with researchers who have both the time and motivation to provide meaningful mentorship.

Interdisciplinary Environment

Smith-Kettlewell offers a unique blend of researchers in basic vision science, clinical vision research, and rehabilitation engineering, making it an ideal setting for a postdoctoral experience that bridges and blends training and research in these disciplines. Investigators at Smith-Kettlewell are proud to be part of an integrated scientific community dedicated to research and innovation across a broad spectrum spanning vision science, clinical translation, and accessible technology.

Academic Community

Smith-Kettlewell hosts vibrant internal and external seminar series, as well as active lab meetings, journal clubs, and lunch gatherings. Our external colloquium series features highly-regarded speakers at the top of their fields, drawing attendance by faculty and students from many nearby institutions, including Berkeley, Stanford, SF State, and UCSF. Our internal Brown Bag series offers a more intimate setting for researchers and fellows to discuss ideas with our Smith-Kettlewell colleagues, providing opportunities for research updates, practice talks, and research critiques. All fellows have multiple opportunities to discuss their work in this context, and are encouraged to invite speakers for our colloquium series as well.

Low Vision and Blindness Research

Smith-Kettlewell is home to a unique Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Low Vision and Blindness. This group conducts research and development in a wide range of areas relevant to people living with permanent or long-term vision loss. Some RERC researchers are also engaged in basic vision or clinical research, while other RERC scientists focus primarily on applications of technology to real-world barriers facing people with vision loss. All RERC researchers are actively engaged in mentorship and problem solving around challenges in orientation, mobility, transit, information technologies, spatial information, video, and much more, combining rigorous research methods with modern engineering techniques to prototype and evaluate completely new accessibility approaches.

Clinical Translation

Smith-Kettlewell is located adjacent to the campus of the California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) with access to various patient populations and an active ophthalmology residency training program. Our physician- scientists have dual appointments at CPMC and SKERI. Furthermore, collaboration with scientists at important vision research centers in the Bay area, including UC San Francisco, UC Berkeley, and Stanford is strongly encouraged and has been historically beneficial for everyone involved.

Salary and Other Benefits

All fellowships at Smith-Kettlewell regardless of funding source are pegged to the NIH postdoctoral stipend scale, and include a budget for supplies and travel. In addition, Smith-Kettlewell offers comprehensive health insurance, including vision and dental. To help defray the high cost of living in San Francisco,  Smith-Kettlewell offers shared housing at the start of the fellowship, and a housing supplement thereafter. Our training program makes you eligible to apply for the NIH Loan Repayment Program, provided you meet additional criteria.