Host a Fellow: Executive Branch

Since 1973, AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellows have brought technical expertise and scientific insight to the federal government.

"The fellows who have joined the Department of State are of the highest caliber and make splendid contributions to the foreign policy process."- Norman P. Neureiter, Former Science Advisor to the Secretary of State

Interested in hosting an executive branch fellow? Please contact Rick Kempinski at rkempins@aaas.org.

The program

The AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships program (STPF) provides an opportunity for accomplished scientists and engineers to contribute to the policymaking process. The program fosters evidence-based policy and practice by engaging the scientific and analytical skills of scientists and engineers, and builds leadership for a policy-savvy science and technology enterprise that benefits society. Fellows serve in one year fellowships that begin each September.

In addition to the contributions to the host office, fellowships have a profound ongoing effect. Those who transition into government, the nonprofit arena and industry often take leadership roles applying and communicating science broadly. Many STPF fellows who return to academia incorporate modules on policy and communicating science to non-scientists into their teaching, and focus more of their research toward addressing policy challenges. STPF fellows are an ever-growing network of professionals  helping improve policy outcomes and mentoring new generations of scientists and engineers.

As a 2012-14 Executive Branch Fellow at the State Department and 2011-12 Revelle Fellow, Franklin Carrero-Martínez traversed the globe on a mission to encourage technology transfer. In Pakistan, he organized two science and technology conferences. In Mexico, he encouraged researchers to take ideas from the lab into real world applications.

Who are the fellows?

AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellows are highly skilled, doctoral-level (with a few exceptions) scientists and engineers. They represent a vast spectrum of scientific disciplines including behavioral/social, biological, health/medical, physical and computational sciences, and all fields of engineering. They range from early- to senior-career professionals and come from academia, industry, nonprofits, government labs, and international organizations.

Fellows are selected through a highly competitive review process. Selection criteria include: educational and professional credentials and references; competence in a specific area of science or engineering; interest in the application of science to policy; excellence in communication; and leadership capacity.

What do fellows do?

Fellows serve alongside staff in federal agencies for a full year from September through August.

Fellows participate in a wide variety of activities including:

  • Collecting and analyzing information.
  • Writing talking points, speeches, press releases, reports, websites, etc.
  • Preparing for hearings.
  • Fostering interagency collaborations.
  • Facilitating program development, implementation and evaluation.
  • Planning and implementing events.

Their expertise and policy interests are also wide-ranging; among them:

  • Healthcare, mental health, child and family concerns.
  • Agriculture, food safety, and animal welfare.
  • Biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.
  • Environment, energy, climate change, air and water quality.
  • Oil and mineral rights and exploration.
  • National and international security.
  • Biotechnology, biomedical research and technology.
  • Education, STEM initiatives, and science communication.
  • Innovation, globalization, and international trade.
  • Public safety, disaster, and humanitarian relief.
In 2012, the Department of the Interior created the Strategic Sciences Group (SSG), a unit that delivers strategic science by analyzing the short- and long-term consequences of environmental crises. Three members of the unit’s staff are fellows. Kiza Gates (2013-2014 Executive Branch Fellow at U.S. Geological Survey) helped build an expert roster system to quickly identify crisis response team members from a range of sectors and disciplines, and maintained the SSG’s website.

Fellowship host agencies

This is a representative list of federal agencies that host and fund fellowships. The list may change slightly from year to year.

  • U.S. Agency for International Development
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Defense 
  • Department of Energy 
  • Environmental Protection Agency 
  • Fish and Wildlife Service 
  • Food and Drug Administration 
  • U.S. Geological Survey 
  • Department of Homeland Security 
  • Department of Justice - National Institutes of Justice 
  • Millennium Challenge Corporation 
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration 
  • National Institutes of Health 
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology 
  • National Science Foundation 
  • U.S. Department of State