Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Fellowships: Research Opportunities at the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center

Through its fellowships and travel grants, the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation supports research projects that present creative approaches to the study of invention and innovation in American society. Projects may include (but are not limited to) historical research and documentation projects resulting in dissertations, publications, exhibitions, educational initiatives, documentary films, or other multimedia products. A comprehensive catalog of objects, manuscripts, images, and research materials held by the National Museum of American History (and other Smithsonian units) is available on the Smithsonian website.
    The Lemelson Center invites applications covering a broad spectrum of research topics in the history of technology, invention, and innovation, but especially encourages project proposals whose topics align with one (or more) of the Lemelson Center’s strategic research and programmatic areas, including: (1) the cultivation and training of inventors and innovators; (2) innovation in sports and sports technology; (3) the role of risk and failure in invention and innovation; (4) the role of venture capitalists and other intermediaries (e.g. patent attorneys, incubators, designers, etc) in the process of innovation; or (5) projects that illuminate inventors from diverse backgrounds or any inventions and technologies associated with groups (e.g. women, minorities, disabled, LGBTQ, etc.) that are traditionally under-represented in the historical record.
    The Arthur Molella Distinguished Fellowship supports the work of an experienced author or senior scholar (at the associate/full professor level or equivalent) from the history of technology, science and technology studies, business history, museum studies, STEAM education, or an allied field. The specific arrangement is flexible: the Molella Fellow may use the funds as a sabbatical supplement; for several short-duration visits; for a single residency focused on research and writing; or for a series of lectures leading to a major publication. The stipend is $35,000. Funds may be used flexibly to support travel for several short-term visits, living expenses for longer residences up to six months, and related research expenses; dates are flexible.
     The Lemelson Center Fellowship Program annually awards 2 to 3 fellowships to pre-doctoral graduate students, post-doctoral and experienced scholars, and other professionals who have completed advanced training. Fellows are expected to reside in the Washington, D.C. area, to participate in the Center's activities, and to make a presentation of their work to colleagues at the museum. Fellowship tenure is based upon the applicants’ stated needs (and available funding) up to a maximum of ten weeks. Stipends will be $630/week for pre-doctoral fellows and $925/week for post-doctoral and professional fellows.
    For both these fellowships, researchers may wish to consult with the fellowship coordinator before submitting a proposal – contact historian Eric S. Hintz, Ph.D. at +1 202-633-3734 or hintze@si.edu.
    The Lemelson Center Travel to Collections Award Program annually awards 3 to 4 short-term travel grants to encourage the use of its invention-related collections. Awards are $150 per day for a maximum of 10 business days and may be used to cover transportation, living, and reproduction expenses; they are intended only for applicants who reside or attend school beyond commuting distance of the NMAH. Researchers may wish to consult with the travel award coordinator before submitting a proposal – contact archivist Alison Oswald at +1 202-633-3726 or oswalda@si.edu.
     For application procedures and additional information about these fellowships, please follow the indicated links to the specific award programs on the Lemelson Center website.The application deadline for all the fellowships is December 1, 2017.