Program Announcement Update

April 26, 2017 - The Small Business Postdoctoral Research Diveristy Fellowship program is now open for all active NSF Phase II SBIR companies to add their postdoctoral research opportunities to the program website.  We encourage all new active Phase II companies to add their profiles immediately as slots occassionally come available.  Only companies with active profiles on this site will be eligible for a postdoc in this program.

October 2016 - The Small Business Postdoctoral Research Diversity Fellowship program is now full and is awaiting approval for an additional cohort of fellows in 2017.  Due to funding constraints, we do not expect another cohort before the July 2017.

Meanwhile, we advise all potential fellows to ensure that the information in their online profile for this program is up to date.  Interested postdocs who are new to the program are encouraged to start an account and enter their profile information here.  The opening of a new cohort will be announced via email to our internal database of our participants in the coming months.


There will be no waiting list and no spots held. Until a new cohort is announced, all matches received from host companies will be discarded. Only host company-postdoc matches received after the announcement of a new cohort will be reviewed.


Please note: Existing or former employees or contractors of host companies are ineligible to participate in this postdoctoral program. If you obtain a temporary/consulting or permanent position at a potential host company at any time, you will be disqualified and unable to receive this fellowship under the terms and conditions of this program.


Thank you for making the Small Business Postdoctoral Research Diversity Fellowship a success.  Stay tuned for details.


Small Business Postdoctoral Research Diversity Fellowship


The Small Business Postdoctoral Research Diversity Fellowship program aims to encourage creative and highly-trained recipients of doctoral degrees in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematical disciplines to engage in hands-on research projects in their areas of expertise at the kind of small innovative businesses that historically have fueled the nation’s economic regime.  

This fellowship program offers active Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) participating companies the opportunity to attract top scientific and technological talent at a fraction of the usual cost.  At the same time, the program recruits postdoctoral fellows from underrepresented groups to work for at least a year outside an academic setting, contributing to cutting-edge research aimed at promoting scientific excellence and strengthening our nation’s technological prowess. 

Each research fellow will receive a stipend of $75,000 plus health insurance benefits.  The host company is responsible for a yearly $2,500 administrative fee payable to ASEE.  With generous support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the program will support 50 positions for a two year appointment. The program is administered by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). 


---Register your Company’s Interest and Post Opportunities (note: your business must be an active Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) participating company to register)

---View Current Research Opportunities

Program Process Overview


1) Eligible companies must have a current Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). To register, log in to the Corporation module using the Company Officer’s or Principal Investigator’s email and the company’s seven-digit award number as the password.  Please note, these are the email addresses the companies provided to the NSF when applying for the SBIR grant.  Upon logging in, you will be given the opportunity to create a unique password. Once registered, submit available research opportunities for recent STEM-related discipline Ph.D. recipients based on the company’s SBIR award projects.  The company’s award title and abstract will appear for your reference.  We ask that the fellow’s proposed research topic be related to the SBIR award.   The company may submit a proposed research opportunity for each award; however, in the end, each company will be awarded only one fellow.

2) Eligible applicants register to begin the application process.  Applicants must be U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals or U.S. permanent residents, and must have received a Ph.D. degree in a NSF-supported science, technology, engineering or mathematical (STEM) discipline in the seven years prior to the application date. (Anticipated Ph.D. candidates may apply for the fellowship but may not start the program, if selected, until the degree is received.) Applicants must not have received a prior postdoctoral fellowship in a corporate laboratory for a term of more than six months.

3) Applicants submit information online regarding their citizenship, academic background, resume, awards and honors, final transcripts showing the date the Ph.D. was awarded, and three references.

4) Applicants then apply to a specific current posted research opportunity by submitting a research proposal that is five (5) pages or less to the company.  Applicants may apply to one or more positions.  It is suggested that prior to application, applicants contact the individual at the company whose information is listed for that position to discuss the opportunity.

5) Companies will be able to view applications as they are submitted, and will be responsible for making selection decisions.  Neither NSF nor ASEE will make selection decisions.  Each company, through its online module, will be able to “Approve” or “Deny” each applicant.  It is advised that companies contact applicants before making a final selection decision.  The company will notify ASEE they are ready to enter into an agreement.

6) ASEE will review the proposed pairing.  The applicant and the company must meet eligibility requirements.  If the applicant is deemed eligible, the application, including the applicant’s research proposal, will be checked for completeness.  ASEE will then supply an Appointment Agreement first to the company and upon their signature, to the applicant. The applicant will also be required to submit proof of citizenship status at this time. Once both signed agreements are received, the applicant becomes a program fellow. Program benefits are then awarded to the company and/or fellow for a term of up to two years (24) months. 

7) The research mentor will submit to ASEE the Comprehensive Work Plan. Research fellow and mentor are required to submit six-month (6),  twelve-month (12), eighteen-month (18) and twenty-four (24) month reports summarizing progress toward the goals of the appointment.


Program Guidelines


The Small Business Postdoctoral Research Diversity Fellowship program provides $75,000 toward stipend expenses and optional health insurance benefits.

Host companies will pay an annual $2,500 tive fee to ASEE for each fellowship awarded.  Host companies may furnish additional funds for stipend, professional travel and relocation costs as deemed appropriate.  The period of appointment will be for two years (24 months).  The awardee will be an independent contractor of ASEE (self-employed guest researchers), with corporate funds of $2,500 (yearly) provided to ASEE at the start of the appointment to cover administrative fees.  The fellow would be given the opportunity to enroll in ASEE’s health insurance program.


Research fellows must devote their full time to the approved research programs and must be in residence at the sponsoring host laboratory during the entire period of their award.  No additional monetary aid or other remuneration may be accepted by the research fellow from another appointment, fellowship, part-time teaching, research or other outside work.


Applicant Eligibility

To participate, research fellows must:

1) Possess at the time of fellowship a Ph.D., Sc.D. or other earned doctoral degree recognized in U.S. academic circles, in a NSF-supported STEM-related discipline, earned within seven years of their date of application, and

2) Be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or U.S. legal permanent resident at the time of application, and

3) Not have received a prior postdoctoral fellowship in a corporate laboratory for a term of more than six months.


Current or prior Host Company employees or contractors are not eligible to apply for this program.




Host companies will be required to provide a mentor for each research fellow.  Each mentor will be required to develop a comprehensive work plan and training program for each of the research fellows under their guidance.  Work plans must address the research goals and expected outcomes of the proposed research, and address how the research fellows would be provided with on-the-job hard and soft skills training to be prepared for the shifting industry mix in science and innovation.




Semi-annual progress reports will be required of both the research fellow and the corporate mentors.  Mentor reports will be submitted to the ASEE and the report on the interactions with the research fellows, address their assessment of the progress of the research plan, list the publications and presentations in process, and address how they would propose to continue the working relationship in the future (if applicable).


Intellectual Property Rights


Research fellows will be required to disclose to the host company any inventions made, i.e. conceived or actually reducted to practice, and any other intellectual property created or developed during the period covered by their performance in the program.  Host Company shall provide to the Government such rights in inventions, technical data, and computer software made in performance of the Fellowship as may be required by Government or National Science Foundation rules, regulations, and policies applicable to this Agreement. Participants would be permitted to publish their research results in the open literature only with the specific approval of the host company. The host company would provide publication guidance.




As the selection and matching of research fellows and host companies develops, agreements between:

      a) ASEE and the host companies

      b) ASEE and the research fellows

      c) Research fellows and the host companies must be signed.

A sample of the agreement between ASEE and the host company can be found here.

For further information, please email

Last Updated: April 25, 2017 05:40 PM