Q: Can one of the reference letters from the potential science advisor?
Q: May I submit four letters of reference rather than the required three?
A: You can submit 4 letters of reference, but the selection committee is only required to read 3. Note that if you are submitting two host institutions, you need an endorsement letter from each institution, and these do not count toward your 3 (or 4) reference letters.
Q: If submitting two choices of institutions, thus getting a 4th page for the proposal, is the proposed project expected to be the same for both institutions? Then the extra page would be for justifying why the second choice of institution also fits? Or can/should the applicant propose two projects, one that fits each institution?
A: There is nothing that says that you can't have one proposal for each institution, however, you run the risk of not explaining either proposal well enough in space allotted. We suggest that you highlight one project in full that you wish to be selected for. The second institution will only be considered if there is a conflict with a higher ranked fellow for the first choice institution.
Q: Can alternate host institutions be named in the Sagan Fellowship application?
A: Yes. Beginning with the 2012 call, applicants can propose up to two prospective Host Institutions, in order of preference. As part of the application procedure, an endorsement letter from each proposed Host Institution is required.
Q: Can a NASA center be named as a host institutions?
A: There are no rules against having a NASA center as your host institution, however, the funding is difficult. Since the fellowships are funded by NASA HQ, and since it is illegal for one government agency to give another government agency money, this would have to be funded through a bipass mechanism. These can take months to get through the system. Our recommendation is that you designate another local entity (e.g. SETI) as the host institution, and indicate in the proposal where you will perform the work (e.g. NASA Ames). The proposed advisor should also have an affiliation with the local, non-NASA, institution.
Q: I am currently at postdoc at an eligible institution. Can I propose to remain at my current institution?
Q: Do I have to be physically located at my host institution for the duration of the Sagan Fellowship?
A: The funding for your fellowship is routed through your host institution, so as long as an institution endorses you as an applicant, stating that they are willing to support you as a fellow, then you technically qualify. That being said, the selection committee wants to ensure that you are supported intellectually, in addition to financially, so in your application make sure to explain your plans to keep in contact with your advisor during the tenure of your fellowship.
Q: Is a faculty member allowed to sponsor two Sagan applications?
A: Yes. The same advisor may sponsor two or more applicants, as long as everyone involved understands that only one fellow per institution can be awarded each year.
Q: My first choice institution has informed me that several applicants are interested in listing it as their first choice. Since my second choice institutions are more competitive, can I just list one host institution and change later if there is a conflict? Or do you actually not award Sagan fellowships to applicants whose first and second choice institutions are already taken?
A: The panel ranks the applications based on the whole proposal package. This means that they take into account the impact of the project on the field along with the specific support from the host institution and advisor which relates to the ability of the applicant to complete the project. This means that you can not change the institution after the fact, as the institution is a factor in grading and ranking the applications. We can not award Sagans to peopole whose first and second choice institutions are taken.
Q: Do the fellowships support research related only to exoplanets, or are more general planetary-science projects allowed? In particular, is research related to asteroid shapes, spin states, and trajectories suitable for the fellowship?
A: The fellowships only support exoplanet-related research. General solar system projects, however worthy, fall outside the scope of the program.
Q: Does the 3-page limit for the description of the research program include references?
A: Yes. Please note however that if you are submitting a first and second choice host institution, you may increase the length of your research proposal to 4 pages (including figures, tables, and references).
Q: Can I change my application after it has been submitted?
A: If you have changes to make to your application after it has been submitted, please email the new PDF files to: email@example.com and we will insert the new files into your application. Note that these changes can only be completed before the application deadline. No changes will be accepted after the application deadline.
Q: Is there a maximum file size for the application files?
A: Yes, they should be no larger than 20 Mb.
Q: When are the decisions made?
A: Typically the first round of offers is made by mid-January.
Q: When is the eligibility for the Sagan assessed from? The start of a potential appointment? The application?
A: The official eligibility date is the date that you were officially awarded your PhD according to the granting institution.
last updated October 23, 2012