Congressional Policy Fellowship


The Society is no longer accepting applications for the 2015-2016 fellowship year.  The deadline was October 14, 2014.  

The Biophysical Society (BPS) is a professional association whose mission is to encourage development and dissemination of knowledge in biophysics. The BPS Congressional Science & Technology Policy Fellowship Program provides an invaluable and unique opportunity for BPS members to gain practical experience and insights into public policy by working on Capitol Hill. The fellowship program places one fellow annually to serve as staff members in a Senate, House of Representatives, or Committee office. The Fellowship is an ideal way to spend an academic sabbatical or leave of absence from a company.

Applications will be accepted beginning July 1, 2014, for the first 12-month fellowship term, which will run from September 2015 through August 2016. Fellows are also expected to attend a two-week orientation, conducted by the AAAS, in September 2015.

Applicants must submit all required documents via the online application system, with the exception of the reference letters. Finalists will be required to complete a second writing exercise. In addition, face-to-face interviews will be conducted for finalists at the Society’s Annual Meeting in February 2015.

The selected fellow will receive a salary, a travel stipend, and an allowance for health insurance.

The BPS Congressional Science & Technology Policy Fellowship Program is administered by AAAS as part of a broader effort to engage scientists in public policy. For more information, visit the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships website.

Eligibility Requirements

The applicant must meet the following minimum qualifications to be eligible for the Biophysical Society’s sponsored fellowship program:

  • Be a current Society member and have maintained membership for at least two years immediately preceding the application (2012, 2013, 2014);
  • Hold a PhD in biophysics or related field by January 1st, 2015;
  • Adhere to the general principles and purposes, and all policies and ethics guidelines of the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships;
  • Have solid scientific and technical credentials and the endorsement of three references;
  • Show a commitment to serving society;
  • Exhibit good communication skills, both orally and in writing, and the ability to engage with non-scientific audiences;
  • Demonstrate integrity, problem-solving ability, good judgment, flexibility, and leadership qualities; and
  • Hold U.S. citizenship (dual citizenship from the United States and another country is acceptable).

Note: Federal employees are not eligible for the fellowship. Holding a Title 42 position is considered federal employment and therefore renders an applicant ineligible. Individuals working in temporary/term-limited fellowships and postdoctoral positions at government labs or agencies, for private contractors, and in state or local government posts are not federal employees and therefore are eligible for the AAAS Fellowships.

Application Requirements

You will be asked to provide the following information, and all documents must be PDFs.

  • BPS membership number
  • Candidate Statement – (1,000 word limit) 
    • Reasons for applying for a BPS-AAAS Fellowship
    • Qualifications – A summary of background, expertise, and any experience in public policy 
    • Areas of Interest – Outline the policy areas or issues that particularly interest you
    • Role as a Fellow – Describe how you imagine engaging your science during the fellowship
    • Career Goals – State your goals following the fellowship and into the future, and how you envision the fellowship supporting those goals
  • Resume/CV – (five-page limit)
    • Education, expertise, achievements, honors, and publications
    • Do not repeat information included in the extracurricular section 
  • Professional and Civic Activities – (400-word limit)
    • Activities with community groups, professional associations, advisory and editorial committees, nonprofit organizations, outreach and teaching to non-scientific audiences, etc.
  • Writing Sample – (400-word limit)
    • Demonstrate ability to communicate to a non-scientific audience
    • Does not need to be a published document – can be written for the purpose of this application
  • Reference Letters
    • Three letters of reference.  Candidates must provide reference names and contact information so that the Society knows whom to expect letters from.  The letters must be sent directly to the Society via email ( or postal mail, to the attention of Ellen Weiss.  All letters must be received by 11:59 PM eastern time on October 14.  It is the candidate’s responsibility to solicit these letters and make sure they are submitted on time.
    • Letters should address:
      • Writer’s relationship to the candidate
      • Technical accomplishments and relative standing of the candidate among his/her peers
      • Candidate’s interest and experience in applying his/her expertise to the solution of societal problems
      • Candidate’s ability to communicate, both orally and in writing and to interact productively with individuals and groups
      • Candidate’s maturity and depth of judgment, and an assessment of the candidate’s professional future
  • Proof of Degree
    • Candidates who have completed all the requirements for their PhD or equivalent degree by October 14, but whose degree will not be conferred until after October 14, may be eligible for a BPS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship. The candidate must receive their degree by January 1, 2015.  The candidate's committee chair or equivalent appropriate official must submit a letter verifying that the candidate has satisfied all requirements for the PhD or equivalent degree. The letter must state the official date the degree will be conferred.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Scientific/technical background and professional accomplishments – weighted in consideration of the applicant's career stage
  • Communication skills – to scientific and nonscientific audiences, including writing ability, community involvement, and outreach activities
  • Demonstrated public policy interest – such as through participation in policy or advocacy activities; service to professional societies and/or the broader scientific community; student government or other campus involvement (if applicable)
  • Fellowship skills and abilities – including (but not limited to) capacity to work quickly, flexibly, and cooperatively; experience working with individuals with diverse viewpoints; ability to work in a public environment; strong interpersonal skills