About the Fellowships
Applications are now closed. Next round begins August 2021.
The Klarman Fellowships in the College of Arts & Sciences provide postdoctoral opportunities to early-career scholars of outstanding talent, initiative and promise. Among the most selective of its kind in the country, the program offers independence from constraints of particular grants, enabling the recipients to devote themselves to frontline, innovative research without being tied to specific outcomes or teaching responsibilities.
Recipients may conduct research in any discipline in the College: natural, quantitative, and social sciences, humanistic inquiry, the creative arts, and emerging fields that transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries. Fellows are selected from a global pool of applicants based on their research accomplishments, potential for future contributions, and alignment of scholarly interests with those of their proposed faculty mentors in Arts & Sciences. The candidates will also be assessed on how their work can benefit from and contribute to the momentum in strategic research areas in the College.
“Klarman Fellowships offer a tremendous boon to the next generation of scholars, thanks to the elevated levels of creative freedom, financial support, cross-disciplinary stimuli and professional uplift they provide.”
~Ray Jayawardhana, the Harold Tanner Dean of Arts and Sciences
Klarman Fellowships are made possible by Seth Klarman, a 1979 graduate of the College of Arts & Sciences, and Beth Schultz Klarman. Seth Klarman is CEO of the Boston-based Baupost Group, LLC, and Beth Klarman is president of The Klarman Family Foundation.
Klarman Fellowships are awarded to emerging researchers of exceptional promise in any of the disciplines in the College of Arts & Sciences at Cornell University. Competitive applications will demonstrate the candidate’s capacity for original thought, combined with intellectual rigor and discipline to investigate their ideas in meaningful ways. A tenure-track or tenured faculty member holding a current, primary appointment in the College of Arts & Sciences must agree to serve as the faculty host for the candidate, as confirmed by a host faculty letter at the time of application. The faculty host agrees to mentor and support the candidate throughout the entire fellowship period. Note that a particular faculty member can write host letters for a maximum of two applicants in a given application cycle. It is the applicant’s responsibility to identify and communicate with potential hosts well ahead of the application deadline. Additionally, each applicant should arrange for letters of recommendation to be submitted by three references, one of whom would normally be the applicant’s primary doctoral advisor.
Awardees must have earned the doctoral degree within two years of beginning the Klarman Fellowship (i.e., for 2021 recipients, no earlier than 30 June 2019). Candidates with more than two years of postdoctoral experience, and those who received their PhD from Cornell or have held any position at Cornell for more than six months at the time of application are not eligible. Awardees may not simultaneously hold any other paid or unpaid position during the term of the appointment. Prior to the start of the fellowship, candidates will be asked to provide proof that their doctoral degree has been conferred.
The 2020 Klarman Fellows
- Chiara Galli, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research examines the experiences of unaccompanied minors who escaped violence in Central America as they navigate applications for asylum in the United States. Between 2015 and 2019, Galli interviewed nearly 100 unaccompanied minors and their immigration attorneys and conducted observations for 80 cases of children in immigration proceedings during an ethnographic study. She will work with Filiz Garip, professor of sociology and director of the Center for the Study of Economy and Society.
- Charles Petersen, a Ph.D. candidate in American studies at Harvard University. His dissertation, “Meritocracy in America, 1930-2000,” shows how meritocracy – a society ruled by intelligence and knowledge – became the core tenet of a “New Gilded Age,” with Silicon Valley as its headquarters. He will continue his investigation of meritocracy through American history in collaboration with his faculty host, Aaron Sachs, professor of history.
- Francesco Sgarlata, a Ph.D. candidate in theoretical particle physics at the International School of Advanced Studies in Trieste, Italy. He does research on applications of effective field theories to particle physics, on cosmology and on black holes. Recently, it has been shown that higher-spin particles are useful probes to study the gravitational dynamics of systems of rotating black holes; Sgarlata wants to inspect this analogy further in order to validate or rule out the possible existence of new particles responsible for new forces affecting black hole dynamics. His faculty host is Csaba Csaki, professor of physics.
- Vijay Varma, a recent Ph.D. recipient in theoretical astrophysics at the California Institute of Technology. His research is on developing novel models that accurately extract astrophysical information from gravitational waves emanating from merging pairs of black holes and neutron stars. Predicted a century ago by Albert Einstein and detected directly just four years ago, such waves reveal insights into these exotic objects as well as the fundamental nature of space-time. His faculty host is Saul Teukolsky, the Hans A. Bethe Professor of Physics.
- James Walsh, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Berkeley. He does research in logic and analytic philosophy, and his current work concerns axiomatic theories in mathematics. He is also interested in the role of formal languages in theoretical inquiry. His faculty host is Alex Kocurek, assistant professor of philosophy.
- Baobao Zhang, a Ph.D. candidate at Yale University and a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Political Science Department, a research affiliate with the Centre for the Governance of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Oxford, and a fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Her current research focuses on the governance of artificial intelligence, specifically how governments in developed countries could prepare citizens for the work of the future. Her faculty host is Sarah Kreps, professor of government.
Terms of the Fellowship
- Typically, six Klarman Fellows are appointed each year.
- Klarman Fellows are appointed for a period of three years, subject to the faculty host’s annual evaluation of scholarly progress.
- Fellowship start date is negotiable between 1 July and 1 September 2021.
- Candidates are notified of selection decisions from mid-December 2020 to mid-January 2021. Cornell University also publishes an announcement of awardees in the spring.
- Klarman Fellows are provided an annual stipend of $75,000, plus Cornell benefits.
- In addition to the annual stipend, Klarman Fellows are provided with an annual research fund of $12,000.
- Teaching may be allowed by prior agreement as part of the fellowship, specifically if it supports the professional development of a Klarman Fellow.
How to Apply
Applications are now closed. Next round begins August 2021.
- The application process opens on Saturday 15 August 2020. Apply here.
- All applications and supporting materials must be submitted electronically via the Klarman Fellows portal above.
- Letters of recommendation by the applicant’s Cornell faculty host and three additional references should be submitted by Wednesday 14 October 2020 11:59 pm EDT (see below for details).
- The full application must be completed, submitted, and received by the final deadline of Thursday 15 October 2020 11:59 pm EDT (see below for details).
- Applicants will be required to provide biographical information, including expected (or actual) date that the PhD degree will be conferred. Note that the PhD degree must be received before beginning the Klarman Fellowship.
- Full CV in PDF format. List accepted publications (with DOI, if applicable). It is acceptable to list submitted publications in review or in revision, but do not list papers in preparation. Please list refereed publications separately from non-refereed publications, conference proceedings, etc. Do not include publication reprints.
- Description of proposed research (maximum 2 pages, single spaced, 12 point font, 1 inch margins, PDF format). The applicant must describe their research clearly, concisely, and free of jargon so that its purpose, significance to advancing the discipline, and methodological rigor can be evaluated by faculty reviewers from diverse disciplines. In addition, the proposal must describe resources necessary to conduct the project and an informed evaluation of resource availability at Cornell.
- Full name and contact information of the Cornell faculty host. The Cornell host must be an active tenured or tenure-track Cornell faculty member whose primary appointment is in the College of Arts and Sciences and who commits to supporting the fellow throughout the three-year fellowship appointment.
- The prospective Cornell faculty host will receive a system-generated email with instructions for uploading their letter. We strongly suggest that applicants inform their Cornell faculty host to check their spam/clutter filters if necessary. It is the applicant’s responsibility to verify their host’s Cornell email address and to ensure that they upload a letter of recommendation, in PDF format, by Wednesday 14 October 2020, 11:59 pm EDT. Applications without full letters of recommendation will not proceed to the second round of review.
- Full name and contact information of three references, including the applicant’s doctoral advisor. References should be scholars who are very familiar with the applicant’s research and can speak in detail about their prior working relationship with the applicant, the importance of the proposed research, and the scholarly and professional qualities that enable the applicant to complete the proposed research successfully. References may not be relatives, either direct or through marriage, of the applicant. Except in rare circumstances, one of the three references should be the applicant’s primary doctoral advisor. For questions about exceptions, please contact KlarmanFellows@cornell.edu.
- References will receive a system-generated email with instructions for uploading their letter. We strongly suggest that applicants notify their references to check their spam/clutter filters if necessary. It is the applicant’s responsibility to verify their references' email addresses and to ensure that they upload a letter of recommendation, in PDF format, by Wednesday 14 October 2020, 11:59 pm EDT. Applications without full letters of recommendation will not proceed to the second round of review.
- Applicants will receive email verification when each reference submits their letter of recommendation. Note: once all letters of recommendation are submitted, the applicant must log in to the application portal and click "review and submit" by the application deadline of 15 October 2020 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. For this reason, we strongly recommend that applicants request that their references submit letters on 14 October, one day prior to the application deadline. Applications that are not reviewed and submitted will not advance to the review stage.
- Applicants who proceed to the final stage of selection will be invited to participate in an interview via electronic conference with the selection committee.
- The Klarman Fellowship does not support H1B visa status. Recipients who are non-U.S. citizens and permanent residents will be asked to provide additional information in order to obtain and/or verify appropriate visa and work authorization.
- Candidates will be notified of selection decisions from mid-December 2020 to mid-January 2021.
|15 August 2020||Application submission opens|
|15 October 2020||Applications (including all letters of reference and faculty host letter) due online|
|early December 2020||Finalists invited for interview (by video conference)|
|mid-December 2020 – mid-January 2021||Successful candidates are notified|
|1 July – 1 September 2021||Klarman Fellows will begin at Cornell|
If you have questions about the program or the application process, please contact the Klarman Fellows Office at: KlarmanFellows@cornell.edu.