Klarman Fellowships

About the Fellowships

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.

2021 Fellows

  • Toni Alimi
    Toni Alimi
    Toni Alimi, a Ph.D. candidate in Religion at Princeton. His book project, “Slaves of God,” based on his dissertation, studies Augustine’s justification of slavery, explains its centrality to Augustine’s ethics and politics, and shows how this understanding of slavery continues to shape our world. As a Klarman Fellow, Alimi will continue his work on premodern conceptions of slavery and their transmission to modernity, working with faculty host Charles Brittain, the Susan Linn Sage Professor of Philosophy.
  • Christian Gaetz
    Christian Gaetz
    Christian Gaetz, a Ph.D. candidate in The Department of Mathematics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research interests center on the mathematical field of algebraic combinatorics and its connections outside of mathematics to computer science and physics, and within mathematics to algebraic geometry and representation theory. At Cornell, he will continue developing a new approach, based on the theory of Coxeter groups, to several combinatorial problems. He will work with faculty host Karola Mészáros, associate professor of mathematics.
  • Nancy Lin
    Nancy Lin
    Nancy Lin, a Ph.D. candidate in art history at the University of Chicago. Her research shows how art, urban social life, and the built environment mutually transformed one another at the turn of the 21st century by examining contemporary Chinese art practices that took place in city streets and construction sites. As a Klarman Fellow, she will examine how these art practices intersected with urban social groups such as migrant and middle-class workers. Her faculty host is Iftikhar Dadi, associate professor of the history of art and visual studies.
  • Alejandro Martinez-Marquina
    Alejandro Martinez-Marquina
    Alejandro Martinez-Marquina, a Ph.D. candidate in economics at Stanford University. His research focuses on understanding how people make decisions. Using economists’ experimental, theoretical and empirical methods, he explores how the presence of uncertainty and the accumulation of debt affect people’s financial decisions, and he studies how preferences form and evolve in decisions both financial and general. At Cornell, he will work with Ted O’Donoghue, the Zubrow Professor of Economics.
  • Richard Nally
    Richard Nally
    Richard Nally, a Ph.D. candidate in physics at Stanford University. A theoretical physicist, Nally is interested in developing new connections between string theory and arithmetic geometry, an area of math attracting renewed interest in recent years. In particular, string theory picks out certain geometric objects, called Calabi-Yau varieties, which, Nally and collaborators argue, have interesting arithmetic properties. At Cornell, Nally will continue developing connections between physics and mathematics, working with Liam McAllister, professor of physics.
  • Anna Shechtman
    Anna Shechtman
    Anna Shechtman, a Yale University Alumni Fellow with a Ph.D. in English literature and film & media studies (2020) from Yale. Her book project, “The Media Concept: A Genealogy,” details the history of the media concept in the United States and its appropriation and circulation among American culture industries. As a Klarman fellow, Shechtman will work on two cultural histories about the “media” and “data” concepts, respectively, working with Jeremy Braddock, associate professor of English.
  • Amalia Skilton
    Amalia Skilton
    Amalia Skilton, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Texas at Austin and previously the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. Skilton studies how children learn to direct others’ attention: are joint attention behaviors (directing others’ attention by combining gestures and words) learned from adults, or are they innate? At Cornell, Skilton will analyze data she collected in a Ticuna community in Peru, the first comprehensive study of joint attention development in a non-Western setting, to discover whether Ticuna children follow the same developmental path as children living in other social settings, working with Sarah Murray, associate professor of linguistics.
  • Matthew Zipple
    Matthew Zipple
    Matthew Zipple, a Ph.D. candidate in biology at Duke University. His research explores how social relationships and behavior influence offspring survival, focusing on primates. At Cornell, he will build and test a model which connects maternal survival and offspring fitness in shaping the evolution of long lives, not just for humans and other primates, but for all animals, working with H. Kern Reeve, professor of neurobiology and behavior, and Michael Sheehan, the Nancy and Peter Meinig Family Investigator in the Life Sciences.

Meet the 2020 Klarman Fellows

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

  1. The application process opens on Saturday 15 August 2020. Apply here.
  2. All applications and supporting materials must be submitted electronically via the Klarman Fellows portal above.
  3. 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).
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Applicants who proceed to the final stage of selection will be invited to participate in an interview via electronic conference with the selection committee.
  14. 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.
  15. Candidates will be notified of selection decisions from mid-December 2020 to mid-January 2021.

Process Timetable

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.