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National Academy of Education
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Washington, DC 20001

National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship


The National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship Program supports early career scholars working in critical areas of education research. This nonresidential postdoctoral fellowship funds proposals that make significant scholarly contributions to the field of education. The program also develops the careers of its recipients through professional development activities involving National Academy of Education members.

closed for the 2016 fellowship. The application submission cycle for 2017 will open in Aug/Sep of 2016. We look forward to your submission then. 

- NEW! The NAEd will host another online webinar discussing the NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. This is a great opportunity to hear from, and ask questions to, NAEd staff and the chair of the Postdoctoral Selection Committee. Registration is open!

- The NAEd held an online webinar opportunity for our fellowship applicants in October 2014. While this was for 2014 fellowship applicants, most information, particularly about the fellowship application process, is still relevant; if you have the opportunity, please feel free to watch it.  Upon clicking on the above link, please wait a minute (or longer depending on your internet speed) for the audio and video to load. The webinar is approximately one hour long. If you are unable to view the webinar, you can read a transcript online.


Previous Fellowship Recipients

2015 2013 2009 2005 2001
2014 2012 2008 2004 2000
  2011 2007 2003 1999
  2010 2006 2002 1998


Fellowship Award

  • Fellows will receive $70,000 for one academic year of research, or $35,000 for each of two contiguous years, working half-time. 
  • The terms of the fellowship provide for no institutional support, i.e., overhead or indirect costs
  • Fellowships must begin during the 2016-2017 academic year. 
  • Fellows take the equivalent of one year’s teaching leave during the fellowship term.
  • Fellows will be included in professional development retreats with other fellows and NAEd members. 
  • Up to thirty postdoctoral fellowships will be awarded in 2016.
  • Selection will be made by a committee of NAEd members.

Qualifications and Guidelines

The NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship Program is open to all eligible applicants regardless of race, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, or sexual orientation.

  • Applicants must have received their PhD, EdD, or equivalent research degree between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2014 - this time frame is accurate for the 2016 program and differs from the eligibility requirements in the past. Please note, if you defended your dissertation in 2014, but did not receive your diploma, or were not conferred, until 2015, then you will not be eligible to apply for the fellowship this year. Do please consider applying next year however. 
  • Applicant should have a demonstrated record of research experience in education.
  • Proposed project must be an education research project. NAEd funds studies that examine the efficacy of curriculum and teaching methods, however, we do not fund the initial development of curriculum or instructional programs.
  • Applications will be judged on the applicant's past research record, career trajectory in education research, and the quality of the project described in the application.
  • Applications must be made by the individual applying for the fellowship; group applications will not be accepted.
  • Non-US citizens are welcome to apply.
  • Concurrent funding for the proposed project is not permitted. You may not hold a grant from the Spencer Foundation at the same time as this fellowship.


Awardees for the 2016 program will be notified in May 2016.

The application deadline for the 2016 program will be November 5, 2015. 

To be notified when the fellows are announced, please join our mailing list.

To Apply and Important Information/Links

Before submitting a proposal, applicants are encouraged to read The Art of Writing Proposals. Applicants are also encouraged to seek feedback from respected colleagues prior to submission.

Application Components:

  • Application form
  • Abstract of proposed research project
  • Project description
  • Career history
  • Example of past research relevant to education
  • Curriculum vitae/resume
  • Reference letters

Online Application
2015 Application Guidelines (updated 7/13/15)

Postdoctoral Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you have questions or are unable to visit the online application, please contact us:
National Academy of Education, 500 Fifth Street NW, Washington, DC 20001;