Triangle Graduate Fellowships in Evolutionary Medicine

Proposals for one-semester Graduate Fellowships in Evolutionary Medicine are now being accepted at The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent). We are looking to support innovative approaches to outstanding problems in any field of evolutionary science that is relevant to medicine, or to human or animal health. Examples include, but are not limited to, evolution of infectious or zoonotic disease, evolutionary issues in global health, evolution of aging, evolution of fertility, autoimmune disease and allergy, evolutionary perspectives on cancer, and evolution of disease-relevant micro-organisms. Eligible students are those at any North Carolina academic institution with an accredited graduate program in a relevant field; students may remain resident at their home institution during the fellowship or travel to another institution. Evidence of engagement, during the fellowship, with other activities relevant to evolutionary or comparative medicine in NC will be viewed positively. The deadlines are November 1 (for the spring semester 2015 fellowship), February 1 (for the summer semester 2015 fellowship) and April 1 (for the fall semester 2015 fellowship).

To be eligible, a student must have completed one year of their graduate program by the time the NESCent Fellowship commences. He or she should also have a host institution from which to work. The research should be in line with the goals of NESCent scholar and may include integrating datasets, developing databases, performing analyses, programming and software development, etc.  Support will not be provided to collect or generate new data.  Ultimately we expect the graduate student to lead and author aspects of the research.  Graduate Fellowship applications will be evaluated on the extent to which they:

  • address an important and outstanding evolutionary medicine question,

  • are "risky" endeavors but with a reasonable chance of success,

  • reflect NESCent’s scientific mission to advance research that addresses fundamental questions in evolutionary science by integrating methods, concepts, and data within and across disciplines (For more on the context and a classification of synthesis in evolutionary science please read Linking Big: The Continuing Promise of Evolutionary Synthesis),

  • provide evidence that sufficient data are available to tackle the question,

  • provide evidence that appropriate analytical tools are available or will be developed during the project,

  • generate products that typically fall into three broad categories (but are not restricted to):

    • Synthetic papers and reviews,

    • Databases allowing others to build on your foundation,

    • Software or mathematical tools that solve a major analytical problem,


NESCent will not support collection of new data or field research, but encourages the mining of public and private databases.  NESCent is committed to making data, databases, software and other products that are developed as part of NESCent activities available to the broader scientific community. Applicants should review the Graduate Student Policy and Data and Software Policy for NESCent.

Before you apply

All applicants are encouraged to contact Allen Rodrigo, Director of NESCent, or Susan Alberts, Associate Director of Science and Synthesis, for feedback on project ideas.  Proposals will be evaluated in terms of both the scientific value of the project and the qualifications of the applicant.  Graduate Fellows will receive one-semester fellowships up to a maximum of $15,500 which will be paid directly to your institution. Please review our Conflict of InterestReporting Requirements, and Data And Software policies before applying. 

Proposal Guidelines

Proposals are to be submitted by the graduate student. Proposals are short, not to exceed 2 single-spaced (12-pt type) pages. References are not included in the 2-page limit.  Proposals should be organized as follows:

  1. Title (80 characters max)

  2. Name and contact information

  3. Project Summary (250 words max)

  4. Public Summary (250 words max) – written for the public and visible on the NESCent web site

  5. Introduction and Goals – A statement of the outstanding question in evolutionary science being addressed and a concise review of the concept and the literature to place the project in context.

  6. Proposed Activities – This should include a clear statement of any specific data (include citations or URLs) and analytical tools that will be required for the project. The proposal should also include a clear statement on how synthesis will occur and how it will interface with the working group or sabbatical scholar.

  7. Rationale for Support – How is the proposed work synthetic and within the general theme of evolutionary medicine?

  8. Proposed Timetable - include start date, month, and year.

  9. Anticipated Results - include a clear statement of anticipated papers, data and software products, and anticipated public release of data and products.

  10. Short CV of the applicant (2 pages, not included in 2 page limit)

  11. Letter from PhD advisor stating his or her awareness and support of the project (not included in 2 page limit)

Proposal Submission

Proposals will be accepted in digital format only as a single pdf file. Graphics should be embedded directly into the proposal document. Note that proposals should be submitted as a single pdf file including all of the components listed above, including CV and the letter of support from the advisor. Proposals are submitted electronically. Please login first if you have already created a profile. For technical support, write to help@nescent.org.

Data, Software and Publication Policy

The open availability of data, software source code, methods, and results is good scientific practice and a key ingredient of synthetic research. NESCent expects that all data and software created through NESCent-sponsored activities be made publicly available no later than one year after the conclusion of the NESCent award, or immediately upon publication of an associated article, whichever comes earlier. For more information please visit our Data, Software and Publication Policy.