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Cornell University

Opportunities to participate in policymaking

Use your research expertise to help inform policy-makers. Help distill academic research into policy-relevant information. Shape what your role is as a scientist/engineer or humanist in the political world. Learn by doing, not by watching, how the government works, the major issues relating to your work, and how policy is made.

Policy Fellowships for Scientists & Engineers (a few are highlighted below) more internship and fellowships are listed here

 Policy Fellowships and Internships

American Association for the Advancement of Science Science & Technology Policy Fellowship
These competitive AAAS Fellowships are opportunities for professional development and public service. Fellows engage their knowledge and analytical skills while learning first-hand about policymaking and implementation at the federal level. The aim is to foster scientifically informed, evidence-based policy and practice by involving scientists and engineers from a broad range of disciplines, backgrounds and career stages, and to build leadership for a strong S&T enterprise that benefits all people.

California Science & Technology Policy Fellowship (CCST)
Offered by the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST), these fellowships place professional scientists and engineers in the California State Legislature for one-year appointments. Ideal for qualified applicants who are interested in improving the interface between science and legislative decision-making and who want to learn the public policy decision-making process.

Congressional Science Policy Fellowship (American Geophysical Union)
The Fellowship program enables more effective use in government of scientific knowledge and provides a unique experience to scientists seeking careers involving public use of technical information by placing highly qualified, accomplished scientists, engineers, and other professionals in the offices of either an individual Member of Congress or on a committee for a one-year assignment. The AGU Fellow will have the opportunity to make significant contributions to public policy during their time working with Congress. Past Fellows have been directly involved in water policy, climate research, energy conservation, and a range of other issues that are of high priority to society.

David A. Winston Health Policy Fellowship – Association of University Programs in Health Administration
The objective of this fellowship is to provide a unique opportunity to learn about the political system through direct exposure to public and private sector roles in health policy development. The Fellowship embodies Mr. Winston’s commitment to the public/private partnership necessary for a high quality, market oriented health care system. Sponsored by the David A. Winston Health Policy Fellowship Board of Trustees, it is administered in collaboration with the Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA).

FDA Commissioner’s Fellowship Program
The FDA offers a two-year Fellowship Program, which provides an opportunity for health professionals and scientists to receive training and experience at the FDA where they receive regulatory science training and the chance to conduct cutting edge research on targeted scientific, policy, or regulatory issues under the mentorship of an FDA senior scientist. Fellows will train at FDA's White Oak campus in Silver Spring, MD or at other FDA facilities. Salaries are extremely competitive, and travel funds are available to attend scientific meetings.

Health and Aging Policy Fellowship
The nine-to-12-month program offers fellows the opportunity to participate in a residential track or a non-residential track. The residential track allows fellows to participate in the policymaking process on either the Federal or state level as legislative assistants in Congress, professional staff members in executive agencies or policy organizations. The non-residential track allows fellows to work on a policy project and brief placement(s) throughout the year at relevant sites. Core program components focused on career development and professional enrichment are provided for fellows in both tracks. Fellows also have the opportunity to apply for second-year funding to continue components of their fellowship experience/project either at their placement sites, at the state/local levels, or with non-governmental organizations.

Hellman Fellowship
The Hellman Fellowship in Science and Technology Policy is intended for early-career professionals with training in science or engineering who are interested in transitioning to a career in public policy and administration. While in residence, the Hellman Fellows work with senior scientists and policy experts on critical national and international policy issues related to science, engineering, and technology.

Potomac Institute for Policy Studies (PIPS)  Note: these are unpaid internships. Are you interested in making a difference?  Have you always wanted to learn how policy is made and shaped at the highest levels of government?  Do you have a burning curiosity about the latest developments in cyber security, neuroscience, counterterrorism technology, and future trends that affect security and society?  The PIPS is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit, nonpartisan science & technology policy research institute in Arlington, Virginia that offers an opportunity to assist with research, writing, planning, and organizational activities that support the Institute's mission to provide a forum for the free exchange of ideas for the purpose of informing public policy.

Presidential Management Fellowship PMF STEM
The PMF Program is a flagship leadership development program at the entry level for advanced degree candidates. Created more than three decades ago by Executive Order, in 2012 President Obama directed Federal agencies to close the skills gap for mission critical occupations, including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Beginning in 2014, the PMF Program piloted a STEM track to address this skills gap and identify and train future STEM leaders for the Federal Government. Upon completion of the PMF STEM track, Fellows will play key roles in addressing important national challenges, including: Managing research and development programs; Performing world class, cutting edge science and engineering research and development; Developing technically-informed policies and regulations; Responding to natural and man-made disasters; Leading the federal science and technology enterprise.

RAND Summer Associate Program

A unique opportunity for graduate students to apply their research skills to the leading topics facing our nation, both domestically and internationally, and to learn how it affects the policy making process. Students work at RAND for a 12-week period during the summer, receive a stipend, and are mentored by a senior research staff member. For outstanding graduate students in the areas of Public Policy, Health Policy, Public Health, Health Services Research, Education Policy, Public Administration, National Security Policy, Engineering & Public Policy.

Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowships Program
This program provides the nation’s most comprehensive experience at the nexus of health science, policy, and politics in Washington, DC. An outstanding opportunity for exceptional mid-career health professionals and behavioral and social scientists with an interest in health and health care policy. Fellows experience and participate in the policy process at the federal level and use that leadership experience to improve health, health care, and health policy.

Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program
The Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program within the Policy and Global Affairs Division of the National Academies is designed to engage its Fellows in the analytical process that informs U.S. science and technology policy. Fellows develop basic skills essential to working or participating in science policy at the federal, state, or local levels. Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars and those who have completed graduate studies or postdoctoral research in any social/behavioral science, medical/health discipline, physical or biological science, any field of engineering, law/business/public administration, or any relevant interdisciplinary field within the last five years are eligible to apply.

Science Technology and Public Policy (STPP)
The Belfer Center, Kennedy School of Government offers fellowships for predoctoral and postdoctoral researchers for one year, with a possibility for renewal, in the stimulating environment of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Social Science Research Council – Abe Fellowship Program
The Abe Fellowship Program encourages international multidisciplinary research on topics of pressing global concern. The program fosters the development of a new generation of researchers interested in policy-relevant topics and willing to become key members of a bilateral and global research network. In partnership with the SSRC, the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP) established the Abe Fellowship Program as its flagship program in 1991.

Society for Research in Child Development Policy Fellowship
Both Congressional and Executive Branch Fellowships provide exciting opportunities for researchers to come to Washington, DC and use developmental science outside of the academic setting to inform public policy. Open to doctoral scientists from any discipline relevant to child development; both early and mid-career professionals are encouraged to apply. Goals: (1) to contribute to the effective use of scientific knowledge about child development in the formation of public policy ; (2) to educate the scientific community about the development of public policy; and (3) to establish a more effective liaison between developmental scientists and the Federal policy-making mechanisms.

White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Internship Program: Apply for one of three terms (Fall, Spring, or Summer), each term lasting no more than 90 days. These positions are without compensation but students may be eligible to receive academic credit from their respective college or university. Visit the How to Apply and Frequently Asked Questions pages for more information on program requirements, application timelines, and links to the online application form. Policy internships are open to interested students from all majors and programs, including law school programs.

The need for rigorously trained policy-makers

Professional societies, international organizations, charities, lobby groups, government bodies, think tanks and non-governmental organizations all need specialists working on policy.


Convergence Center for Policy Resolution, focuses on solving social and policy challenges