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Postdoctoral Research Fellowship for Academic Diversity

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Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) views diversity as the key driver of achievement, particularly when innovation is critical. The Postdoctoral Research Fellowship for Academic Diversity at CHOP partners with the University of Pennsylvania’s (Penn’s) Provost Fellowship Program, which are competitive programs with a common goal of increasing the diversity of the scholar community at both CHOP and Penn. Both organizations, though independent entities, partner to fund these Fellowship programs to attract promising researchers and educators from different backgrounds, races, ethnic groups, and other diverse populations whose life experience, research experience, and employment background will contribute significantly to their academic missions.

At a Glance

  • Salary ($65,000 in year 1, increasing in $2000 increments in years 2 and 3) and benefits*
  • Annual allowance for travel ($2,000) and supplies ($4,000)
  • One-time relocation bonus for external candidates ($5,000 Note: this is taxable)
  • Train in basic, behavioral, clinical, computational or translational research areas under direct supervision of a CHOP-based faculty member
  • Engage in a personalized mentoring component that supports trainees with various personal and professional goals and develops a professional network
  • Present work internally at CHOP Research Poster Day, Emerging Scientists Symposium, and within respective Departments/Divisions
  • Develop into an independent investigator and receive support to identify, apply for, and secure additional funding mechanisms
  • Prepare for next step in career with workshops and seminars to help with grant preparation and develop teaching skills

* CHOP Faculty please note: The Research Institute covers the relocation allowance, travel/supplies funds, and 80% of the salary and benefits for the duration of the three-year appointment. The faculty member would be required to provide funding for the remaining 20% of salary support and benefits. Please contact academicdiversity [at] (academicdiversity[at]chop[dot]edu) with any questions.


Application to the Postdoctoral Research Fellowship for Academic Diversity program is open to all who meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Candidates must be US citizens or permanent residents
  • Graduate students must complete their PhD requirements by the Fellowship start date
  • Postdoctoral scholars must have completed their dissertation within the last three years
  • Postdoctoral fellows at CHOP less than one year at the time of application are eligible; candidates who are not currently at CHOP are strongly encouraged to apply
  • Professional applicants (MD, DMD, VMD, JD, etc.) must be within one year of completing their post-degree professional training

Application Procedures

The application is available annually in August. The application deadline is early November each year (exact dates may vary). The deadline for references and mentors to submit their letters is the same as the application deadline. Final decisions are announced no later than March.

Required application materials include:

  1. Completed application form
  2. Curriculum vitae including current and pending publications
  3. Personal statement, no longer than three pages, single-spaced, and one-inch margins, which must address all of the following in the order below:
    • Reviews your previous research accomplishments
    • Outlines your future research goals and proposed research
    • Describes your long-term career goals
    • Includes academic, employment, or other life experiences that would bring new perspectives to the University community and your chosen field
    • Note: Each page should be numbered and have the applicant’s name in the header.
  4. Three letters of reference from people acquainted with the applicant’s work. One reference letter should be from the applicant's thesis advisor or faculty mentor.
  5. Applicants are required to submit a letter from a CHOP-based faculty member having similar research interests confirming that he/she is willing to serve as the applicant’s primary mentor during the fellowship period. Use the Find People search tool to browse CHOP mentors. Mentor letters of support should include the proposed mentoring plan and be no more than one page long, followed by the mentor's biosketch. The mentor letter and biosketch should be submitted as one document.

Important: Prior to beginning your application, you should alert your 3 references (including thesis advisor) and Penn/CHOP mentor that they will receive an email request for their reference and/or mentor letters.

  • Email will be sent from: [email protected]
  • Subject line of email will be: YOUR NAME Fellowship Support Letter for Penn/CHOP

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of Fellowships are available?

Fellowships are available for postdoctoral training in all areas of study at either CHOP or Penn. Candidates from the STEM fields are encouraged to apply. Successful candidates will receive scholarly mentoring and research training as well as courses and workshops to enhance their research success skills and prepare them for a faculty position at a major university or in other sectors of the economy such as industry, government, or nonprofit organizations. The Research Institute provides funds to cover salary, supplies, travel, and relocation for postdocs from diverse backgrounds.

How many Fellowships are awarded annually?

Penn and CHOP review the applications separately and make decisions independently. At Penn, the number of Fellowships varies from year to year, but generally there are from five to seven. At CHOP, there are two Fellowships per year.

How does the Fellow begin his/her research?

New Fellows at CHOP will attend the New Employee Orientation and will also attend the Postdoc Welcome Session to get them acclimated to CHOP and the Research Institute. Fellows will also be in contact with their research mentor prior to starting at CHOP and discussions regarding the project and getting started should be happening at this point.

How do I access research funds?

When you start the Fellowship you will receive a message from the Office of Academic Training and Outreach Programs with instructions on how to use your funds. All research fund accounts are distributed in accordance with CHOP policies.

What can the research funds be used for?

Research funds may be used to purchase books, supplies, and any other materials needed for scholarly work. Additional details regarding the use of funds will be provided at the start of the Fellowship.

How do CHOP and the University of Pennsylvania partner to support fellows?

CHOP and the University of Pennsylvania partner to fund fellows in the Postdoctoral Research Fellowship for Academic Diversity program and Penn’s Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program respectively. Together they create a rich intellectual and scientific community, sharing several departments, faculty, and resources where both fellowship programs form a cohesive cohort. Diversity Fellows participate in programming provided by Penn's Biomedical Postdoctoral Program and CHOP’s Office of Academic Training and Outreach Programs, including:

  • National Postdoc Appreciation Week: Recognizes the accomplishments and contributions of our postdoc community to the success of Children’s Hospital. Past events have included coffee and giveaways for CHOP postdocs, ice cream socials and BBQs, panel discussions and workshops, and closing reception and happy hour.
  • CHOP Research Poster Day: Celebrates the groundbreaking research throughout Children’s Hospital. This event includes poster presentations from more than 160 researchers-in-training who will share their exciting discoveries with the CHOP community.
  • CHOP Research Institute Scientific Symposium: Features talks from faculty and trainees that showcase CHOP’s strengths in basic, clinical, behavioral, computational and translational research. The day-long symposium also includes an invited keynote address.
  • Advanced Career Exploration (ACE) Fellowship Program: Provides critical, CV-building experience in various areas of administration. Fellows work to generate and execute impactful projects under the direction of their Fellowship project mentors with support from the Office of Academic Training and Outreach Programs. Fellows also have the unique opportunity to participate in executive shadowing and other leadership meetings, which introduce them to concepts of strategic planning, budgeting, and interdepartmental dependencies.
  • Emerging Innovators in Pediatric Science – Celebrate Colleagues, Build Community: Recognizes exceptional non-faculty researchers-in-training and research staff who have produced high impact research at Children’s Hospital. All speakers for the series have been nominated by their Department Chair, Division Chief or faculty mentor and represent a variety of scientific disciplines and research areas.

Can I apply if I have a Master’s Degree?

No. Applicants must have a doctoral level degree.

Am I eligible if I am already in a faculty rank track?

No. Applicants who have already been appointed as an Assistant Professor at another institution are ineligible.

Can I apply to both the CHOP and Penn Programs?

If you are identifying two separate mentors, one from CHOP and one from Penn, you will need to submit two separate applications. The applications are reviewed separately at each of the two institutions.

When is the application deadline, and when are the final decisions announced?

The application is made available annually in August. The application deadline is early November each year (exact dates may vary). The deadline for references and mentors to submit their letters is the same as the application deadline. Final decisions are announced no later than February 1.

What does the selection committee focus on when reviewing applications?

Faculty reviewers evaluate applicants in all fields according to their research accomplishments and research goals, with special consideration given to strength of research statement, publications, accomplishments, personal goals, and letters of recommendation.

Will I be able to keep a copy of my application? Will I receive an email notification that my application is complete? How can I monitor the status of my application?

After completing the application, you will be able to download your application. Your application will be considered complete after the reference letters and mentor letters are received. You can log in at any time and see whether your references and mentors have submitted the required documents.

How do I find a faculty mentor?

Applicants are required to identify a faculty mentor. Applicants are required to contact a potential mentor and ask them to submit a letter stating that they will serve as a mentor.

Research the CHOP website, review scholarly publications, reach out, and communicate with specific faculty members with compatible research interests who will be interested in serving as mentors. If possible, meet with the proposed mentor and discuss a mentorship plan. The Office of Academic Training and Outreach Programs can help coordinate these visits. Please email [email protected] for more information.

What should be included in the mentorship plan?

The mentorship plan should include: expectations for scholarly work to be completed, opportunities for professional development, and a timeline for implementation of the Fellow's proposed goals or plan. Proposed mentors can reach out to [email protected] for more information.

How will my reference letter writers and potential mentor be contacted with instructions about submitting letters on my behalf? Will I be able to see the letters of reference and mentorship letters that are submitted in support of my application?

Prior to beginning your application, you should alert your three references (including thesis advisor) and Penn/CHOP mentor that they will receive an email request for their reference and/or mentor letters. Please inform them that the emails will come from: [email protected] and the subject line will be “Your Name Fellowship Support for Penn/CHOP."

Reference letter writers and mentors will receive an email with instructions on how to submit their respective letters. You can add a personal note to each person submitting a letter in support of your application. It will be included in the email that will be generated by the application system.

You will not be able to review the reference or mentor letters. You will receive an email notification when each of your reference/mentor letters has been submitted. Please note that your email notification will come from [email protected].

Is there a residency requirement? How do I request relocation reimbursement?

The Fellowship requires that you live within the Philadelphia area unless your research requires you to be located elsewhere. Fellows should submit a request for relocation reimbursement to the CHOP program manager. Receipts are required. Reimbursement cannot be made without receipts. Relocation must be completed during the first year of the Fellowship.