Fellowship Completion Guidelines


It is important to complete the Science & Technology Policy Fellowship in a way that supports positive future relations between the Fellow and his/her supervisor and/or mentor and colleagues; and that maintains the integrity of the partnerships, contractual agreements and expectations that AAAS (and the partner scientific and engineering societies) have established with hosting federal agencies and congressional offices. AAAS realizes that Fellows will be seeking new positions for their next career move, yet it is necessary to bear in mind the commitment to AAAS (or a sponsoring society) and to the host office. First-year Science & Technology Policy Fellowships are 12-month awards for professional development and public service. Completion of the steps below facilitates a successful wrap-up and a smooth transition for the Fellow and his/her host office, as well as documentation of contributions and accomplishments.

Completion Process and Protocol

1. At least three months before the fellowship end-date of August 31 (this date may be different for second-year Fellows who negotiated an earlier departure for their renewal; and it is different for January-start Fellows), a Fellow should meet with his/her supervisor and/or mentor to develop an exit plan to complete primary projects and sustain progress and activities as appropriate. This may involve as little as providing a detailed exit report, to a more detailed plan of action for transitioning responsibilities to colleagues, and/or providing training for coworkers.

2. If the final week(s) of the fellowship will be spent on pre-approved leave or fellowship-related travel, then the end date remains unchanged. However, the Fellow must provide AAAS with documentation of approval for end-of-fellowship leave or travel at least 15 business days in advance.

3. Fellows receiving a stipend via AAAS must check with AAAS to confirm the amount remaining in the travel/training account. If funds remain, the Fellow must determine with his/her supervisor/mentor any travel or training activities that will take place in the final months of the fellowship. Note that AAAS cannot reimburse for activities beyond the end date of the fellowship. It is essential to submit receipts and documentation for reimbursement within 30 days of the end of the fellowship. Payments will not be processed on paperwork received after that time and the Fellow will be responsible for any outstanding expenses.

4. Complete the AAAS year-end evaluation and report.

5. Provide AAAS (and sponsoring society if applicable) with new contact information. This is critical to enable AAAS to keep in touch and inform fellowship alumni of gatherings and other opportunities. For those who receive stipends via AAAS, this also is essential so that AAAS may send tax documents to the correct address.

6. The start date for a new position should be September 1 or later (or following the end of the agreed commitment for second-year Fellows who renewed for less than a full year). Host office colleagues and AAAS staff (or staff of sponsoring scientific and engineering societies) may be future collaborators, coworkers, supervisors, or references. Be sure to conclude the fellowship in a manner that leaves everyone with a positive impression.


AAAS realizes that on occasion it may be necessary for a Fellow to depart his/her fellowship assignment slightly before the originally agreed fellowship end-date of August 31 (or a different date negotiated by second-year renewal Fellows and for January-start Fellows). Early departure from a fellowship has funding and contract implications, and impacts AAAS’s relationships with host offices and the integrity of the Science & Technology Policy Fellowships as a whole. AAAS must be able to address these issues in advance; therefore Fellows are required to consult with AAAS before pursuing any arrangements for early departure, early completion, withdrawal, leave of absence, or early hire by a host office/agency. Individuals who do not follow the guidelines and protocols outlined in this document may forfeit S&T Policy Fellowship alumni status and benefits. These include being listed on the AAAS S&T Policy Fellowships roster, invitations to alumni events, and access to the fellowship database and listservs. Determination of whether a particular circumstance constitutes full completion, early departure, early completion, or withdrawal is solely at the discretion of AAAS.

Early Departure and Early Completion Process and Protocol

A Fellow may need to wrap up slightly early, for example to return from a sabbatical to his/her academic institution in August, or when a post-fellowship position may require a move to a new location in August prior to a September starting date. In some cases AAAS may support negotiation of a fellowship completion date in July or August (or a different date negotiated by second-year renewal Fellows and for January-start Fellows). No completion date may be more than two months earlier than the originally agreed commitment. Adhering to the processes and protocols outlined below facilitates successful wrap-up in situations of early departure and completion.

1. A Fellow should strive to fulfill the original fellowship obligation by arranging with AAAS and the host office supervisor (and the sponsoring society if applicable) to complete final fellowship activities/reports either from a new location, on personal time, or via a phased-in schedule if starting a new job.

2. When step 1 is not feasible, an early completion date must be pursued through advance consultation with AAAS (and the sponsoring society if applicable). A new fellowship end date must then be negotiated and approved by both AAAS (and the sponsoring society if applicable) and the fellowship supervisor and/or mentor. Fellows who receive all required approvals for an early fellowship end date will receive fellowship payment only to the newly negotiated date of completion.

3. Follow steps 1 through 5 of the Completion Process and Protocol outlined on page 1.

Voluntary Withdrawal

Leaving an S&T Policy Fellowship before completing a substantial portion of the 12-month fellowship year (before July for September-start Fellows and November for January-start Fellows) is considered voluntary withdrawal. Fellows are expected to consult with AAAS before announcing a withdrawal to the host office. AAAS is available to assist with possible arrangements to accommodate fellowship completion. Individuals who voluntarily withdraw and terminate their fellowship surrender alumni status and benefits.

Leave of Absence

It may be possible to arrange an unpaid leave of absence for family/medical reasons. Requests for leave must be negotiated with and approved by the host office and AAAS. Approved leave carries the expectation that the Fellow will return to his/her fellowship assignment within the ensuing six months to complete the agreed fellowship commitment. This expectation applies as well in the case of an involuntary leave of absence for reasons such as a delayed security clearance, if it prevents the Fellow from working on behalf of, or being paid by, the host agency. Leave exceeding six months will result in the administrative termination of the fellowship.

Early Hire by Host Federal Agency or Congressional Office

Fellows are required to consult with AAAS before accepting a full-time post at the host agency or congressional office that would commence prior to the original fellowship end date, and to follow steps 1 through 5 of the Completion Process and Protocol outlined on page 1. In cases where a Fellow is hired by his/her hosting agency/office in advance of the original fellowship end date, and where all protocols have been followed including negotiating an employment start date as close as possible to the original fellowship completion date, AAAS may, at its discretion, allow the Fellow to remain in good standing and retain alumni benefits.