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Fellowship and Research Associates Definitions

Fellowships – SD 701

Fellowships are offered to individuals who design and develop proposals to conduct independent in fields pursued by and of interest to Smithsonian staff.

  • Fellows contribute enormously to the quantity and quality of Smithsonian research.
  • They stimulate the Smithsonian research community by bringing new ideas from their disciplines, and conduct research in specialized areas that enrich and enhance information about the national collections.
  • The program also allows the Institution to cultivate ties to broader academic and scientific communities, both in the United States and around the world.

Fellows cannot provide a services to the Smithsonian.


Research Associates (RAs) – SD 205

The academic appointment title of RA confers a formal, scholarly SI affiliation to a researcher who is not an employee or contractor of the Smithsonian.


  • have professional status (usually a terminal degree or equivalent experience) in the occupational field related to their appointment;
  • are not eligible to receive stipend payments through their status as RAs;
  • do not hold another type of Smithsonian academic appointment (e.g., Fellowship or Visiting Scholar/Scientist) during their appointment as RAs.
  • are either in residence to conduct scholarly research and/or collaborate with Smithsonian staff and/or are otherwise regularly engaged in the scholarly activities of the Smithsonian.



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