Edward O. Wilson Biodiversity Postdoctoral Fellowship

Through a generous founding gift from Edward O. Wilson, Faculty-Curator Emeritus and University Research Professor Emeritus, the Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ) at Harvard University has established the Edward O. Wilson Biodiversity Postdoctoral Fellowship Program.  This fellowship opportunity supports postdoctoral researchers at MCZ to pursue the discovery and formal taxonomic description of Earth’s extant animal species.  Fellows will work under the supervision of one or more MCZ faculty-curators, who will provide office space, access to lab facilities and necessary research support.

Admission procedures are being revised and will be posted at the time the next application round is announced.


  • Fellows need to solicit the support of at least one faculty-curator who will supervise the work and provide a letter of recommendation as part of the initial application.  The letter should indicate the kind and amount of research support that the faculty-curator mentor can provide the candidate beyond what the fellowship provides.
  • Where appropriate, research should emphasize an integrative approach that combines several data types in crafting solutions to taxonomic problems. 
  • Ph.D. with relevant research experience in taxonomy and/or systematics.
  • All formal requirements for the Ph.D. must be completed before the start of the fellowship, though degree receipt may be forthcoming.
  • Open to U.S. and non-U.S. citizens.  

Applications will be reviewed by a committee of Harvard faculty.  The likelihood that the proposed work will result in the discovery and formal taxonomic description of animal species will be a critical consideration in the selection process.   Preference will be given to applicants not currently affiliated with Harvard University, and to those who have received their doctoral degree  within the previous three years. 

Please note that a given faculty-curator may sponsor no more than two applicants per application cycle.  

Terms & Conditions (for 2018 awards)

  • Stipend of $55,000/year 
  • Benefits-eligible
  • Research and travel allowance of $4,000/year 
  • Start date flexible, but within 12 months of extended fellowship offer
  • Maximum two-year appointment, with funding for year 2 contingent upon successful performance during year 1  
  • Residence in the Cambridge area required
  • Relocation allowance negotiable after fellowship awarded


  • Cover letter
  • A research proposal, no longer than 4 pages and single-spaced, should describe:
    • likely products (publications, etc.) to be completed by the end of the fellowship period.
    • laboratory and equipment requirements; and 
    • how MCZ collections would be utilized;
    • the approach and methods to be employed; 
    • the nature and scope of the proposed research project; 
  • Research budget: Include a simple, 1-page budget that itemizes anticipated research and travel costs, not to exceed the fellowship allowance.  
  • Curriculum vitae: Maximum length, 3 pages. 
  • Up to 5 pertinent publications.
  • References: Three letters of recommendation are required, including one from a supporting MCZ faculty-curator.  You will be asked to provide the names and contact information of  references when completing your application in the online system (Harvard ARIeS).   Your references will received an automatic email with instructions on how to upload their letters to ARIeS on your behalf.   Letters are due by the application deadline, and applications considered complete only when all three letters are received.  
  • Interview: A subset of applicants may be asked to further discuss their proposals with the selection committee via videoconference.
  • Submission through Harvard Academic Recruiting Information eSystem (ARieS).


2019 deadline to be determined 



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