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Cognitive Science Graduate Fellowships for Interdisciplinary Research Projects

DEADLINE: April 2nd, 2023

The Northwestern Cognitive Science Program offers fellowship support for graduate students engaged in interdisciplinary research in cognitive science. These three-quarter fellowships are awarded competitively, based on the quality of research proposed, on the candidate's qualifications, and on the interdisciplinarity of the research.

These fellowships have a dual purpose: (a) to encourage interdisciplinary research by graduate students, and (b) to encourage faculty to engage in interdisciplinary collaboration and growth. For this reason, faculty sponsors should aim to be active collaborators in the research.

We are now accepting applications for the 2023-24 fellowships. Applications are limited to Cognitive Science specialists who are currently in years G1-G4 of their Ph.D. program, for fellowship support the following academic year (during year G2-G5). Application materials must be in before midnight April 2nd, 2023.

An application consists of:

  1. A proposal of a maximum of 2000 words (not including references), outlining the project and its relation to cognitive science.
  2. The graduate student's CV.
  3. Letters from two faculty sponsors in different disciplines endorsing the project and agreeing to be actively involved in it. The sponsor from the home discipline should include a brief description of the student's progress to date in graduate school.

Student applicants should submit their application materials here: 

Faculty co-sponsors should submit their endorsement letters here (each sponsor must submit a separate endorsement):

Guidelines for advanced fellowship proposals

  • Proposals must bridge two disciplines and must be sponsored by one faculty member in the student's home discipline and one faculty member in the related discipline (for example, a linguistics student who proposes work on computational approaches to parsing could have one sponsor from Linguistics and one from Computer Science). Generally, the faculty should be from two different departments. This factor will be weighted heavily. If you have concerns about this, send an inquiry to the Director of Graduate Studies at
  • Faculty letters should (1) clearly establish a strong understanding of the project and commitment to the collaboration on the part of both sponsors and (2) make clear the interdisciplinary contributions of the project.
  • Faculty members should sponsor, at most, two proposals in a given year.
  • Because we hope that these fellowships will seed long-term projects, preference will be given to research carried out during the second- and third-year over projects to be carried out in the fourth year and beyond. These fellowships are not for dissertation support, but to spark novel interdisciplinary collaborations.
  • The expectation is that Advanced Fellows will receive a reduction in their normal TA duties during the fellowship year, but we acknowledge that different departments have different policies concerning TA responsibilities for graduate students.
  • At the end of the Fellowship period, the students will give a presentation describing their projects and progress at an event sponsored by the Cognitive Science program.
  • Each awardee is also eligible for conference expenses up to $500.
  • Note: if a student is funded by a cognitive science fellowship during years 2-5 in their PhD program, those 3 funding quarters are “banked” for potential use during a 6th year.

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