International Placement Scheme: Short-term Fellowships at the Smithsonian Institution

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Enhance your research with a fellowship at the world's largest research and museum complex.

The AHRC is delighted to announce exciting opportunities for early career researchers, post-doctoral research assistants and AHRC-funded PhD students to undertake three to six month funded fellowships at the Smithsonian Institution, International Placement Scheme (IPS).

About the Smithsonian Institution

The Smithsonian Institution is the world's largest research and museum complex, consisting of 19 museums and galleries, and nine research facilities. The Smithsonian's collections represent America’s rich heritage, art from across the globe, and the immense diversity of the natural and cultural world.

The total number of artefacts, works of art and specimens is estimated at 137 million. The scope of the collections is staggering—from ancient Chinese bronzes to the Star-Spangled Banner; from a 3.5 billion-year-old fossil to the Apollo lunar landing module; from the ruby slippers featured in The Wizard of Oz to presidential memorabilia. The Smithsonian also maintains 1.5 million library volumes and 89,000 cubic feet of archival material.

The Smithsonian is a leader in the field of protecting and preserving artefacts. Through its researchers at the Museum Conservation Institute, staff work to develop and improve conservation techniques and technologies critical for conserving museum collections.

The Smithsonian's individual institutions and collections are searchable online.

About the International Placement Scheme

The annual International Placement Scheme provides funded research fellowships at world-leading international research institutions for early career researchers, research assistants and AHRC/ESRC*-funded PhD students. From 2016, IPS fellowships are available at:

*ESRC candidates are eligible to apply to LoC, but not the other IPS institutions.

IPS Smithsonian Privileges

IPS Smithsonian fellowships are for three to six months. For the 2016/17 IPS round, Smithsonian fellowships may be taken from 1st October 2016 and must be completed by 30th September 2017.

IPS Smithsonian fellows receive a contribution of £600 towards their flights costs, their visa costs paid, plus £1200 for each month for the fellowship (in addition to their normal stipend paid as part of any existing AHRC award).

IPS Smithsonian fellows will have a working space, and enjoy access to the collections, resources, facilities, curators and other scholars at their chosen Smithsonian institution, as well as across the Smithsonian’s other institutions.

IPS Smithsonian fellows will be part of a cohort of international fellows, with opportunities to take part in workshops, conferences, symposia, special lectures, as well as present work to peers and mentors, and the opportunity to network and forge international contacts and collaborations.

Closing Dates

Closing Date: 21/01/2016

16.00 on Thursday 21/01/2016

Outcomes for IPS applications to the Smithsonian will be emailed to candidates and their RO by 1st May 2016.‚Äč

How to make an application

Candidates MUST ensure that they meet the eligibility criteria as outlined on the main IPS webpage.

Applicants MUST consult the Smithsonian IPS Application Guidance (PDF), before preparing their application. This guidance contains detailed information on eligibility, privileges, application administration and how to apply.

Applicants MUST discuss their application with the most relevant staff member at with their chosen Smithsonian institution to ensure that the fellowship duration they request is appropriate, and that the materials they wish to consult will be available. Should a candidate’s application be successful, this staff member will act as their advisor during the fellowship.Smithsonian publishes an Opportunities for Research and Study booklet on their website, which lists the contacts and subject area details of all Smithsonian staff members who have in principle agreed to act as fellowship advisors. Applicants must however check with that staff member that they will support their particular application. Candidates must include details of their Smithsonian contact in their IPS application form. Candidates MUST include this AHRC-approved introductory text (PDF), when approaching the Smithsonian.

Applications MUST be made online via the RCUK Je-S system. A sample version of the application form is available on this webpage, for information only (ODT). Detailed instructions on how to apply via Je-S are published in the above 'Smithsonian IPS Application Guidance'.

The AHRC does not accept applications directly from students: the application may not be in the student’s name and the student’s RO must submit the application on their student’s behalf. Student applicants should therefore contact their RO prior to applying to check their internal submission process. Please see the Smithsonian IPS Application Guidance (PDF) for further details.

Further Information

IPS fellows discuss their experiences in this short film.

IPS Overview Presentation from AHRC Staff. (pptx file, 15.4MB)

Smithsonian fellow's presentation by Borbala Nyiri. (pptx file, 6.1MB)

IPS Showcases

The AHRC and ESRC hosted two events to showcase IPS opportunities on 2nd and 6th November 2015.

Twitter Chat

The AHRC and IPS fellows and alumni held a Twitter chat from 2-3pm on Wednesday 11th November 2015. Follow the conversation #AHRCIPS.  You can also read a summary of our 2014 & 2013 Twitter chats. 

Previous Awards

2015 funded scholarships (PDF, 262KB)

2014 funded scholarships (PDF, 124KB)


If you have any queries not answered by the scheme guidance documents, please contact or telephone 01793 416060.

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