Frequently Asked Questions about the Pew Latin American Fellows Program

Frequently Asked Questions about the Pew Latin American Fellows Program

The Pew Latin American Fellows Program in the Biomedical Sciences provides funding for scientists to receive postdoctoral training at leading research institutions in the United States. Through the program, The Pew Charitable Trusts has supported more than 200 outstanding young researchers, strengthening scientific communities across borders. Fellows who complete the two-year program and return to Latin America to establish their own labs get an additional grant. About 7 in 10 of the program’s participants have taken advantage of this incentive and are conducting work on regional and global health challenges across Latin America.

Q: How does the fellowship work?

A: Each year, Pew awards funds to 10 of Latin America’s brightest biomedical researchers for postdoctoral training in the U.S., providing a $30,000 annual salary stipend for two years. The fellow’s U.S. lab must commit to offering two years of medical benefits and supplemental compensation to meet the U.S. National Institutes of Health salary guidelines for postdoctoral positions. The maximum duration of Pew’s salary stipend is 24 months; however, if the sponsoring lab is willing and able to provide salary and benefits beyond two years, Pew may extend the fellowship period to a maximum of 60 months.

Participants who return to Latin America and establish independent labs receive an additional $70,000 grant from Pew to purchase equipment and supplies. To receive this payment, a fellow must have a confirmed position and lab space in Latin America at the end of his or her fellowship period.

Fellows also have opportunities to exchange knowledge and collaborate with a community of nearly 1,000 biomedical investigators who have received Pew’s support since 1985. Through annual meetings and other events, fellows meet peers from a variety of scientific disciplines and form professional networks to help propel their careers.

Q: How does the selection process work?

A: For the next round of awards, given in 2019, the selection process will occur as follows:

  • Interested candidates should find a postdoctoral position in the lab of a principal investigator (sponsor) in the U.S. prior to starting the application. More on this topic below.
  • In July of 2018, the application period will open. Interested candidates should email the program office at fellowsapp@pewtrusts.org to request access to the online application.
  • On Sept. 28, 2018, the application period will close.
  • Applications are first reviewed by regional committees of former Pew Latin American fellows. Selected applicants will be invited for interviews by the regional committee (in person or by video conference), then may move on for review by the program’s national advisory committee.
  • Based on the national advisory committee’s recommendations, Pew will select 10 fellows for the 2019 class. Applicants will be notified of the outcome in April 2019, and grants to fellows’ sponsor institutions will be issued by August 2019.

Q: How do I know if I’m eligible to become a Pew fellow?

A: To apply for the 2019 class, a candidate must:

  • Obtain a Ph.D. and/or M.D. by February 2019, but not before July 11, 2014.
  • Have received not more than 18 months postdoctoral training in the U.S. as of July 11, 2019.
  • Confirm a postdoctoral position in the lab of an established principal investigator (sponsor) in advance of applying; the sponsor’s letter of support is required for the application. A sponsor may not be the same person who advised or mentored the applicant during completion of his or her Ph.D. work.
  • Submit a written statement of his or her intent to return to Latin America after the fellowship.

Preference is given to applicants who received their undergraduate and graduate degrees from institutions in Latin America. Applicants may have obtained their degrees from institutions outside of Latin America, but preferably not in the U.S.

Q: How can I find a sponsor lab/principal investigator in the U.S.?

A: To start, seek advice from members of the regional committees for the Pew Latin American fellows program. Find regional committee contacts here. We also recommend that candidates:

Q: Can I speak with past Pew fellows about the program and their experiences?

A: Yes. The program’s regional committee members are ready and willing to talk with interested candidates. Pew staff can also connect you with current fellows and alumni; email fellowsapp@pewtrusts.org to request an introduction.

Q: How are past fellows contributing to Latin America’s scientific community?

A: Pew surveyed fellows who participated in the program between 1991 and 2011, and found a remarkable record of accomplishment. Learn more about fellows’ successes in the areas of scientific research, training, and leadership here.

2019 application and award timeline

April 2018

  • Research sponsor lab options in the U.S., apply for postdoctoral positions, and select sponsor lab in the U.S.
  • Work with the sponsor to formulate a research proposal

July 11, 2018

  • Pew Latin American fellows application site opens
  • Contact the Pew program office for access to the online application. Materials required include:
    • Candidate’s curriculum vitae (CV)
    • Statements on intent to return to Latin America and most significant scientific contribution
    • Research proposal
    • 3 letters of reference from individuals familiar with the applicant’s work
    • Sponsor letter of commitment, and sponsor’s CV

Sept. 28, 2018

  • Pew Latin American fellows application site closes

October 2018

  • Latin American fellows regional committee reviews applications, conducts interviews with select candidates, and nominates six final candidates from its region to Pew for further consideration. Individuals who are not moving to the next round will be notified at this time.

November 2018 - March 2019

  • The Latin American fellows national advisory committee reviews applications and selects 10 scientists for funding. No interviews are conducted during this period of review.

April 2019

  • Applicants are notified of the advisory committee’s decisions.

June 2019

  • Pew board of directors approves the 2019 class of fellows and awardees are publicly announced soon after.

August 2019

  • Pew award is granted to the institution of the sponsoring lab in the U.S., and first payment is made.

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