The Sagan Fellowship Program aims to advance the scientific and technical goals of NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program. namely the discovery and characterization of planetary systems and Earth-like planets around nearby stars, while at the same time broadening the research community that is actively involved in developing and applying these research techniques and technologies. The Sagan Fellowship is an annual series of fellowship awards to promising young researchers of any nationality who have earned their doctoral degrees in astronomy, physics, or related disciplines. The fellowships are tenable at U.S. host institutions of the fellows' choice, subject to a maximum of one new fellow per host institution per year. The duration of the fellowship is up to three years: an initial one-year appointment and two annual renewals contingent on satisfactory performance and availability of NASA funds.
The proposed research may be theoretical, observational, or instrumental. Proposals should directly relate to the discovery and characterization of planetary systems and Earth-like planets around nearby stars. Proposals relevant to the science or technology development of Exoplanet Exploration projects, both experimental and theoretical, will also be considered. Proposals not directly relevant to the goals of the Exoplanet Exploration program will be deemed non-responsive to this call, and will not be considered.
The program further sponsors a series of activities intended to increase and facilitate open exchange of information and ideas in the field through personal contacts of students, postdoctoral researchers, young faculty members and established researchers.
Eligible applicants are those who have received a PhD in astronomy, physics, or related disciplines within the last 3 years. Also eligible are current PhD students who will have fulfilled all requirements to receive a PhD before the start of the funding period, typically the beginning of September. The applicant must propose to conduct research at a university or research institution in the United States with an established program in the field of the proposed research. An established program shall be defined as at least one faculty member who is engaged in the proposed field through dedicated facilities or instruments, collaborations with existing projects or projects under development, or a record of significant contributions to the field. The intent of this requirement is to guarantee the student a rich and stimulating environment rather than restricting the field of eligible institutions. Eligible applications must include a letter of endorsement from the proposed institution.