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WASHINGTON, DC: The 2017-2018 James Marshall Public Policy Fellowship

January 06, 2017

The SPSSI James Marshall Fellowship in Public Policy trains early career scientists to 1) contribute to the effective use of scientific knowledge about social issues in the formation of public policy at the federal level; 2) educate the scientific community about how research can contribute to the development of public policy; and 3) establish a more effective liaison between social scientists and various policy-making mechanisms.

This position is supported, in part, by an endowment provided to SPSSI by the James Marshall Fund. The fellowship provides support for a post-doctoral level fellow to work full-time for one year (September 1 to August 31) in the U.S. Congress in Washington, DC. The fellow should expect to use psychological research to inform the public policy making process while working full-time in a congressional office.

The Marshall Fellow participates in a range of activities involving the application of psychological research to analyze specific social policies and develop science-informed policy. The policy focus of the work varies from year to year depending on the fellow’s congressional placement. Past fellows have carried out placements in both the House and Senate and have engaged in a diverse range of policymaking activities (e.g., drafting legislation, writing speeches and talking points, planning hearings, meeting with constituents and outside groups, conducting background research).

The James Marshall Fellowship program is affiliated with the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) Science & Technology Fellowships program, which means that Marshall Fellows participate fully in the AAAS Fellowship program’s orientation to federal policymaking in early September and have access to a range of AAAS Fellowship professional development opportunities and support throughout the fellowship year and beyond. With support from SPSSI, AAAS also facilitates the congressional placement process in mid-September, assisting fellows with identifying and establishing placements in Congress that align with their interests and expertise.

Marshall Fellows typically have multiple points of contact with SPSSI over the course of their fellowship year, including communication with SPSSI’s Policy Director, SPSSI’s Dalmas A. Taylor Summer Minority Policy Fellow, the SPSSI Policy Committee, and SPSSI members. Marshall Fellows are also expected to attend the mid-winter SPSSI Council Meeting, the June SPSSI Council Meeting (immediately preceding the annual SPSSI Conference), and the SPSSI Conference. 


The Marshall Fellowship is open to post-doctoral scientists from any discipline relevant to the psychological study of social issues. Candidates must hold a PhD or PsyD before the start of the fellowship and be a member of SPSSI. Candidates must demonstrate interest or involvement in the application of social science to social issues and policies, have a sound scientific background, and demonstrate sensitivity toward policy issues. Candidates must be able to communicate effectively both orally and in writing. Individual initiative and an ability to work cooperatively with others having diverse viewpoints are critical. Knowledge of policy processes at the national level, along with placement goals, is desirable, but not essential.


The James Marshall Public Policy Fellowship with SPSSI will be available for the 2017-2018 fellowship year, with a start date of September 1, 2017 and an end date of August 31, 2018.

The Marshall Fellow is appointed as an independent contractor and paid a stipend of $60,000 per year plus health benefits. The fellow’s attendance at the annual SPSSI Conference in June of the fellowship year is also fully covered.


APPLICATIONS are to be submitted online.  Please limit the number and size of files uploaded when applying online. 

Personal statement (1000 word limit): Please describe your interest and experience in policy activities and/or social issues, your interest in the fellowship program, how the fellowship fits into your career goals, and what your desired objectives are for the fellowship.

Writing sample (500 word limit): Please write a summary of how your research fits within its field of study, abstracting a complex literature as well as your contribution to it. Please write for an educated lay audience—write in a way that would be accessible to a non-scientific audience.

Curriculum vita: Please be sure that your CV includes current contact information.

Letters of reference: Please provide three letters of reference. Letters should address the applicant's abilities, experience, and motivation as related to this fellowship program. These letters can be uploaded along with the other application materials, or referees can email them separately to, with the words "Marshall Fellowship Reference Letter for [your name]" in the subject line.

DEADLINE for submission of all application materials is February 1, 2017. Notification of selection is expected on or around March 15, 2017. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Dr. Susan Dudley, SPSSI's Executive Director.

Click here for a list of past James Marshall Public Policy Fellows.

Click here to read about this year's fellow, Dr. Rashmi Nair

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