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Hubble Fellowships
Announcement Of Opportunity

Announcement of Opportunity for the 2017 Program

The website for applications will be open from 14 September 2016 to 3 November 2016
Letters of reference are due by 10 November 2016


The Hubble Fellowship Program provides an opportunity for highly qualified recent postdoctoral scientists to conduct independent research that is broadly related to the NASA Cosmic Origins scientific goals as addressed by any of the missions in that program: the Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope, Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), the Herschel Space Observatory, and the James Webb Space Telescope. The research will be carried out at United States Host Institutions chosen by each Fellow.

The Fellowship provides salary support for up to three years plus benefits, and an additional allowance for travel and other research costs. Contingent upon National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) funding, up to 17 new Hubble Fellowships will be awarded for 2017. The Hubble Fellowship Program is administered for NASA by the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., working in cooperation with astronomical institutions throughout the United States. Awards will be made to support each Hubble Fellow through a designated Host Institution.

An application for the Fellowship consists of a research proposal and supporting documentation, as described below. Applicants must have received a Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral-level research degree in astronomy, physics or a related discipline. The date of the Ph.D. award should be on or after January 1, 2014. The deadline for receipt of applications is Thursday, November 3, 2016 and for reference letters is Thursday, November 10, 2016. Award offers will be made by early February 2017.

Fellowship Policies

1. Eligibility

Applicants must have received a Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral-level research degree in astronomy, physics, or a related discipline. The date of the Ph.D. award should be on or after January 1, 2014. Applicants with earlier Ph.D. award dates may be eligible in exceptional cases (e.g., previous family leave). Graduate-student awardees who have not yet received their doctoral degree at the time of application must present evidence of having completed all requirements for the degree before commencing their Fellowships.

Hubble Fellowships are open to citizens of the United States and to English-speaking citizens of other countries. Qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to race, creed, color, age, gender, or national origin. Women and members of minority groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

2. Host Institution

Contingent upon availability of funding from NASA, Hubble Fellowships are awarded through grants to Host Institutions. Applicants may select any eligible United States institution for carrying out their research as long as the choice is suitably justified in their proposals. For the present purposes, "institution" means a separate administrative entity which offers its scientific staff a career advancement process that can lead to long-term/permanent contracts or to tenure. Justification is particularly important in cases where the selected institution is the same one where the applicant earned his/her degree, or is the current home institution of the applicant.

A faculty member or other eligible member of the scientific staff of the Host Institution will serve as the Faculty Contact for scientific purposes and will be the Principal Investigator of the Fellow's grant for administrative purposes.

In order to avoid an excessive concentration of Fellows at any one institution, only one new Fellow per year will generally be approved for any single institution. Two new Fellows may be approved at a given institution if that institution agrees to be ineligible for a new (or transferring) Fellow in the following year. Under highly exceptional circumstances, the institution’s year of ineligibility may be deferred by one year. For this reason, the following institution is not eligible to accept a Hubble Fellow in 2017:

Applicants are asked to propose three prospective Host Institutions, in order of preference. As part of the application procedure (described in detail below), an endorsement letter from the first-choice Host Institution is no longer required. However, as part of the acceptance procedure, an endorsement letter from the Host Institution is required for accepted Hubble Fellows.

The purpose of designating second-and third-choice institutions in the application is to provide the program with flexibility should there be an oversubscription of awardees at any single institution. Barring this circumstance, it is expected that awardees will utilize their Fellowships at their first-choice institutions.

It is essential that candidates for Hubble Fellowships give serious consideration to their designations of first, second, and third-choice Host Institutions before their applications are submitted. These initial designations play an important role in how Hubble Fellows are matched with Host Institutions. In some cases, it may be possible for a person awarded a Hubble Fellowship to change his or her choice of Host Institution at the time of recruitment. This possibility depends, however, on unpredictable factors, especially the choices of Host Institutions of other Fellowship awardees. Thus, candidates cannot expect to have the option of changing their preferences for Host Institutions after they submit their applications.

In general, Fellows will work full-time on the research programs proposed in their applications and will be in residence at the proposed Host Institution during the entire period of the Fellowship. However, should a Fellow have a compelling need to transfer to an institution other than the original Host Institution, and can present suitable justification, the STScI Director may approve the request to transfer the Fellowship. Transfers are subject to the policies limiting the number of new Fellows per institution as outlined above.

3. Stipend

The initial annual stipend for a Hubble Fellow is comparable to that of other Prize Fellowships and is subject to annual review and adjustment. In addition, the Hubble Fellow can receive health insurance, relocation costs, and support for travel, computing services, publications, and other direct research costs. No additional stipend, salary, or other remuneration may be accepted from any other appointment (such as teaching), fellowship, or similar grant during the period of the Fellowship. Additional honorary named appointments intended to be linked with the title of "Hubble Fellow" are similarly not allowed.

4. Duration of Fellowship

Contingent upon the availability of funding from NASA, Hubble Fellowships are awarded through grants to Host Institutions for up to a three-year period. Funding will be provided initially for the first year of the Fellowship. Renewals for the second and third years will depend on annual performance reviews.

5. Status

These Fellowships are analogous to prize fellowships or similar temporary programs at the postdoctoral level at universities. They are not intended to be, nor to compete with, permanent professional career positions.

It should also be understood that a Hubble Fellowship carries with it no guarantee of HST observing time and implies no change in the way HST observing time is awarded. It is not required that Fellows or their Faculty Contacts have access to proprietary HST data.

Application Procedure

1. Application

Incomplete applications and/or applications received after November 3, 2016, will not be considered.

2. Materials Submitted Directly by the Applicant

Applicants must submit their materials via the web Application Form. These materials must include:

All materials submitted must be in at least 12-point fonts, single spaced, and all pages should be numbered. Non-U.S. applicants should make sure that their applications will copy successfully onto 8.5x11 inch (21.6x28 cm) paper without loss (i.e., with 1-inch margins on all sides). Please keep each file to less than 2 MB.

3. Research Proposal

Each applicant must formulate a specific research program that is related to or motivated by Cosmic Origins related science and is compatible with the research activities of the Host Institution. The proposed research need not be based directly on mission data from the Cosmic Origins program (HST, Spitzer, SOFIA, Herschel, or JWST), but its relevance to their science must be stated clearly and unambiguously. Relevance to the HST mission will be interpreted broadly, and encompasses theoretical, observational, and instrumental research.

The research proposal text should be no more than three pages of text in length, with up to two additional pages for references and/or figures. Reviewers will be instructed to ignore any pages in excess of the stated limits. The submitted material must be of a quality that will permit photocopying for the reviewers. Any color illustrations may appear black and white in the reviewers' copies.

Applicants must arrange for their research proposals to be read and approved by a faculty member of the first-choice Host Institution (the Faculty Contact).

4. Endorsement Letter

Applicants who have been awarded a Hubble Fellowship must arrange for their Fellowship to be endorsed by an official of the Host Institution. The letter of endorsement must be provided to STScI after the notification letters have been received by the successful applicants. The Faculty Contact can usually help the applicant to determine who is the appropriate official, e.g. the Department Chair, Division Head, etc. The institutional endorsement is necessary to indicate that adequate facilities will be provided for the Hubble Fellow. The endorsement consists of an acceptance letter signed by an authorizing official (typically the department chairperson) of the first-choice Host Institution.

A possible acceptance letter is as follows:

Hubble Fellowship Program
Space Telescope Science Institute
3700 San Martin Drive

I am writing in regard to [applicant's name]'s application for a Hubble Fellowship. We have reviewed his/her research proposal entitled "[program title]" and are pleased to endorse it and to inform you that we will welcome him/her here and offer him/her support and facilities should a Fellowship be offered. Dr. [Faculty Contact's name] has agreed to serve as his/her Faculty Contact. Dr. [Faculty Contact's name] is authorized to act as Principal Investigator for external funding at our institution.

We acknowledge that our institutional indirect costs will be waived on the Fellowship stipend and fringe benefits.

Sincerely yours,

The authorizing official should upload the letter per the instructions received in the email sent directly to them.

5. Letters of Reference

Applicants should arrange for letters of reference to be submitted by the three individuals familiar with their scientific abilities who were listed on the standard Application Form. THESE LETTERS MUST BE UPLOADED BY NOVEMBER 10, 2016. They should be uploaded as PDF files directly to the link designated in their email by the referees themselves, not the applicants. However, APPLICANTS MUST EMPHASIZE TO THEIR REFEREES THAT THE LETTERS MUST BE UPLOADED TO STScI BY THE DEADLINE in order for the review panelists to be able to see the letters. There is no assurance that late letters can be sent to the reviewers in time to be considered during the selection process. Referees will receive an email with instructions for uploading their letters, and applicants will receive an email confirming the submission of each referee letter.

6. For Further Information

Prospective applicants may wish to consult the website How to Win a Hubble Fellowship for some helpful suggestions. Requests for additional information on application procedures and supporting documents may be requested by e-mail to

Selection and Award of Fellowships

1. The Panel Review

The Hubble Fellowship Program Office at STScI will receive all application materials and supporting documents. These will be reviewed by the Hubble Fellowship Selection Committee in January 2017. The evaluation and recommendation by this external review panel forms the basis on which the Director of STScI grants the Hubble Fellowship awards.

The Selection Committee normally makes recommendations to the STScI Director in the form of a ranked list of candidates. Whenever possible, successful candidates are offered their first choice of host institution. It often happens, however, that several successful candidates have requested the same host institution. In these cases, priority is usually given to the higher-ranked candidate. The general approach taken is to place as many new Hubble Fellows as possible in the host institutions of their choice, subject to the one-new-Fellow-per-host-institution rule, the prioritized list of host institutions provided by the candidates, and the ranked list of candidates provided by the Selection Committee. This process can become complicated, with the decisions of one candidate affecting those of several other candidates, sometimes leading to decision grid-lock. Thus, with the goal of filling all the Hubble Fellowships in an orderly manner and avoiding last-minute decision cascades, all successful candidates are requested (and in rare cases, may be required) to make their decisions as expeditiously as possible.

Fellowship offers for 2017 will be made by early February 2017, and acceptance or refusal must be made before February 17, 2017. After this date additional offers may be made if any of the initial awards are not accepted.

2. Review Criteria

The primary task assigned to the Hubble Fellowship Selection Committee is to identify the best science proposed by applicants. The research must be "broadly related to NASA Cosmic Origins scientific goals as addressed by any of the missions in that program: the Herschel Space Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope (HST), James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), and the Spitzer Space Telescope.”

The prime criterion used by the committee in their evaluation is:

The committee also takes into account the following criteria:

3. Commencement of the Hubble Fellowship

The Hubble Fellowship should generally begin in September 2017, but other starting dates may, in individual cases, be jointly negotiated with the Fellow, the Host Institution, and the STScI Hubble Fellowship Program Office. All Fellowships must in any case commence by the end of 2017.

4. Visa Requirements

Non-U.S. nationals who are offered awards must have valid Visas, either Exchange Visitor or Immigrant Visas, for the duration of the Hubble Fellowship appointment. If an awardee applies for an Exchange Visitor Visa, the sponsorship will be under the Host Institution. If he/she chooses to apply for an Immigrant Visa, STScI cannot be a participant in the Visa request.

5. Hubble Fellowship Budget

NOTE: A budget is NOT submitted with the Fellowship application. Detailed budget instructions are provided to successful applicants and their Host Institutions.

After the selection process, Fellows and Host Institutions are notified of the intent to award a Fellowship to the Host Institution. The Fellow's Faculty Contact will act as the Principal Investigator (PI) of the Fellowship grant. The Grants Administration Office will then request that the Host Institution submit a budget through the Space Telescope Grants Management System (STGMS). For information regarding program policy, including allowable costs and expenses, review the STScI Hubble Fellowship Program Policy and Budget Information 2017.

Note that a Hubble Fellow may apply for other grants during his or her Fellowship, (e.g. HST General Observer grants), although such grants cannot include salary support for the Hubble Fellow. In such cases, the Fellow may act as the Principal Investigator of the grant, if this is allowed by the normal rules of the Host Institution for scientists at the postdoctoral level.

For existing Fellows, the following forms are provided for your convenience:

Request for Foreign Travel
Interim Performance Reports: PDF or Microsoft Word or Text.
Final Performance Reports: PDF or Microsoft Word or Text.

Application Checklist

Applications for the Hubble Fellowship at STScI must be made using the Hubble Fellowship Application form. You may, depending on your browser, receive a security certificate warning, please click "Accept" to continue to the Application Form.

For technical issues with the Application Process, please contact SlideRoom @ .

For questions about policies and procedures regarding the Hubble Fellowship Program, please contact the Hubble Fellowship Program coordinator @ or at 410-338-2474.

Last update: July 29, 2016