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. Applicants may also have a Cornell faculty co-host. The co-host must be a tenured or tenure-track faculty member at Cornell University and may be appointed in any Cornell school or college.

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 must 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 2023 recipients, no earlier than 1 May 2021). 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. Candidates who received an undergraduate or master's degree from Cornell are, however, welcome to apply. 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.

Meet the 2022 Fellows

Alexandra Easley

Alexandra Easley, a doctoral student in materials science and engineering at Texas A&M University. Her research is focused on the development of plastic-based metal-free batteries. During her Klarman fellowship, she will continue to investigate the structure-property relationship for synthetic redox-active macromolecules and their electronic mobility. She will work with faculty host Brett Fors, associate professor of chemistry and chemical biology.

Richard Kong

Richard Kong, who holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from Imperial College, London. His research project works toward removing nitrates – a persistent environmental pollutant – from waterways. He aims to convert nitrate molecules into environmentally benign dinitrogen molecules using a single homogeneous catalyst. His faculty host is Kyle Lancaster, associate professor of chemistry and chemical biology.


Paul Malinowksi

Paul Malinowski, a doctoral student in physics at the University of Washington. As a Klarman Fellow, he will use strain to precisely control the properties of atomically thin quantum materials, opening a door to new methods of manipulating quantum matter. His faculty host is Kyle Shen, the James A. Weeks professor of Physical Sciences.


Anil Menon

Anil Menon, a doctoral student in political science at the University of Michigan. He will write a book on the political legacy of forced migration, which is on the rise globally due to climate change and conflict. He argues that forced migrants can develop a shared identity grounded in their victimization, which in turn can help mobilize their vote toward parties that champion their grievances. His faculty host is Thomas Pepinsky, the Walter F. LaFeber Professor of government.


Justine Modica

Justine Modica, a doctoral student in history at Stanford University. Her research asks how the United States built a waged labor force to replace the traditionally unwaged labor of maternal care. It is the first scholarly study to examine the history of the child care workforce as a whole. Her faculty host is Julilly Kohler-Hausmann, associate professor of history.


Michael Poll

Michael Poll, a conductor and guitarist who holds a doctorate in music from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. Poll will use practice-based research in rhetoric to explore how instruments (as the language or mouthpiece for music) impact both the experience of music and its creation. Poll will work with Cornell ReSounds to make arrangements of historical works for newly-designed plucked instruments and to commission original compositions. His faculty host is Elizabeth Ogonek, assistant professor of music.


Zhilei Zhao

Zhilei Zhao, who holds a doctorate in ecology and evolutionary biology from Princeton University. By studying domesticated parrots, he explores how impaired social learning, which underlies mental diagnoses such as autism and social anxiety, is implemented in the brain. His faculty host is Jesse Goldberg, associate professor of neurobiology and behavior.

Meet the 2020 Klarman Fellows

Meet the 2021 Klarman Fellows

Klarman Fellows in the news

Aerial view of Cornell's Arts Quad, showing green lawn and grey paved paths
Jason Koski/Cornell University Cornell's Arts Quad
Person wearing a hat in a sunny field, using electronc equipment
Chris Kitchen Matthew Zipple uses an RFID scanner to identify a mouse living in an outdoor enclosure. By briefly catching and releasing the mice Zipple and colleagues are able to take repeated measures of animal's body mass as they develop.
Person working in a lab, wearing safety goggles and purple gloves
Patrick Shanahan Richard Kong in the lab
Anil Menon
Chris Kitchen Anil Menon presents some of his current research at a Klarman fellows workshop.
Arched hallway with sunlight
Jorge Fernández Salas/Unsplash Stanford University

Terms of the Fellowship

  • Typically, six Klarman Fellows are appointed each year.
  • Klarman Fellows may be appointed for up to three years. Annual reappointment is subject to evaluation of scholarly progress by the faculty host and the College.
  • The Klarman Fellowship may not be held concurrently with any other funded fellowship or employment.
  • Fellowship start date is negotiable between 1 July and 1 September. 
  • Candidates are usually notified of selection decisions between mid-December and mid-January. Cornell University also publishes an announcement of awardees once the cycle is complete.
  • 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. Up to $2,000 in the first year may be used to help cover moving expenses (not including large non-household items such as automobiles, storage costs, or additional costs for more than one pick-up and/or drop-off location, or personal travel costs).

  • Publications, presentations, and creative works drawn from research or activities conducted during the Fellow's appointment must acknowledge, verbally and/or in writing, the support of the Klarman Fellowship.

  • Limited teaching may be allowed by prior approval as part of the Fellowship, specifically if it supports the professional development of a Klarman Fellow.
  • The Klarman Fellowship is a residential program based at Cornell University, and with the exception of limited absences for fieldwork, research trips, conferences, and the like, Klarman Fellows are expected to be in Ithaca during the Fellowship term.

How to Apply

  1. The application process opens on Monday 15 August 2022.
  2. All applications and supporting materials must be submitted electronically via the Klarman Fellows portal.
  3. Letters of recommendation by the applicant’s Cornell faculty host and three additional references must be submitted by Friday 14 October 2022, 11:59 pm EDT. Applicants with a Cornell faculty co-host must also secure a letter of recommendation from the co-host. Applications without letters of recommendations submitted by this deadline will not advance for review (see below for details).
  4. The full application must be completed, submitted, and received by the final deadline of Friday 14 October 2022, 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 & Sciences and who commits to supporting the Fellow throughout their 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 Friday 14 October 2022, 11:59 pm EDT. Applications without full letters of recommendation submitted by the deadline will not be reviewed.

  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/domestic partnership, 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 Friday 14 October 2022, 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 14 October 2022 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. For this reason, we strongly recommend that applicants request that their references submit letters by 13 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 video conference with the selection committee.
  14. Non-US citizens are welcome to apply.
  15. Candidates will be notified of selection decisions from mid-December 2022 to mid-January 2023.

Process Timetable

15 August 2022 Application submission opens
14 October 2022  Applications (including all letters of reference and faculty host letter) due online
early December 2022 Finalists invited for interview (by video conference)
mid-December 2022 – mid-January 2023 Successful candidates are notified
1 July – 1 September 2023 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.