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Migrations Postdoctoral Fellowships at Cornell University


Our world is increasingly in motion. The unprecedented pace, scale, and complexity of movement on our planet—particularly of humans, plants and animals—present a diverse suite of challenges and opportunities that play out across local, regional, national, and international scales. Our infrastructure, urban design, housing stock, disaster relief programs, legal frameworks, business models, and international geo-political systems need to accommodate the dynamic (and increasing) movements of human and non-human species into ways of thinking and relating to each other, and to the world. Only through an interdisciplinary, multi-species, and systems-level perspective can we understand the causes and consequences of migration today. Only through such an understanding can we influence the way that migration is studied, governed, and even experienced.

The Migrations initiative at Cornell University aims to cultivate new collaborations that advance science, scholarship, teaching, outreach, and engagement in ways that generate new insights into critical problems. We wish to provide a stronger evidentiary basis for policy and to place Cornell University at the forefront of migration studies around the world.

Migrations Postdoctoral Fellows may conduct research in any discipline, including the natural, quantitative, and social sciences, humanities, and the creative arts, as well as interdisciplinary research that transcends traditional disciplines. The Fellows will be selected from a global pool of applicants based on their research’s promise for cultivating dialogue, nurturing collaboration across academic disciplines, and integrating, synthesizing, and building upon existing disciplinary contributions to migrations research, broadly conceived. The candidates will also be evaluated based on how their research during the fellowship could benefit from and contribute to efforts by the Migrations Grand Challenge to advance Cornell’s position as a global leader in the study of the movement of people, plants, and animals.


Two fellowships will be conferred to emerging scholars studying the movement of people, plants, and/or animals. Both scholars will be housed within the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs’ newly formed Migrations Lab and its closely affiliated Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. One of the scholars will also share a joint appointment with Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology, and their research will connect to the Lab of Ornithology’s mission of advancing the understanding and protection of the natural world, while joining with people from all walks of life to make new scientific discoveries, share insights, and galvanize conservation action. While in residence at Cornell, the Fellows will work to generate new knowledge that addresses key themes and concerns such as those identified in the Migrations Taskforce Preliminary Report. These include but are not restricted to socio-environmental dynamics and complexity, recognition of multiple spatiotemporal and hierarchical scales, and attention to the roles of governance, democracy, and authority as they relate to the subject of migrations. Successful applications will likely identify possible connections across disciplines.


Awardees must have earned the doctoral degree within five years of beginning their fellowship. Candidates with more than five years of postdoctoral experience, and those who received their PhD from Cornell 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 their fellowship, candidates will be asked to provide confirmation that their doctoral degree has been conferred.

Fellowship Terms

  • Migrations Fellows are appointed for a one year term with the potential for a second year renewal. The second year renewal process will led by the Einaudi Center Director in consultation with the Migrations Initiative faculty research team.
  • Fellowship start date is negotiable between July 1 and September 1, 2020.
  • Candidates will be notified of selection decisions between mid-February and mid-March 2020.
  • Migrations Fellows are provided an annual stipend of $54,480 plus Cornell benefits for the first year of the post-doc, and an inflation adjusted salary for year 2 when reappointed.
  • In addition to the annual stipend, Migrations Fellows are provided with an annual professional development fund of $2,000 per fellowship year.
  • Fellows will be asked to teach one class per year in a department closely related to their field of study.

How to Apply

  1. The application opens on October 15, 2019.
  2. All applications and supporting materials must be submitted electronically via the postdoctoral fellow application.
  3. The completed application, including three letters of reference, must be received by the application deadline of January 15, 2020 at 11:59 EDT.
  4. Applicants must submit biographical information, including the expected (or actual) date that they will receive their PhD degree. Eligible applicants must have their PhD conferred prior to beginning the fellowship.
  5. Full CV in PDF format.
  6. Description of proposed research (maximum of 2 pages, single spaced, 12 point font, 1 inch margins, PDF format). The proposal should be free of disciplinary jargon such that its significance and contribution towards advancing research on the movement of people, plants, and animals can be easily evaluated by faculty reviewers representing diverse disciplines. Applicants seeking a joint appointment with the Lab of Ornithology should be sure to identify a mentor there within their research proposal. 
  7. Full name and contact information of three references, one of whom must be the applicant’s doctoral advisor. All reference letters should be submitted directly by the references to: migrations [at] (migrations[at]global[dot]cornell[dot]edu). The subject line should read: "Migrations Postdoc Fellow Grant Application - Reference Letter." Please note that all references must be received by the application deadline on January 15.
  8. Applicants being seriously considered for the fellowship will be invited to participate in an interview via electronic conference with the selection committee.
  9. Please note that non-U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents who are offered a Migrations Fellowship will be required to provide additional information in order to obtain and/or valid visa and work authorization. The Migrations Fellowship does not support H1B visa status.
  10. Candidates will be notified of selection decisions from mid-February to mid-March 2020.

If you have any questions about the program or the application process, please jdh293 [at] (contact Jason Hecht), the Einaudi Center’s associate director for academic programming.