Final Program Announcement

Nov 05, 2018 -  Thank you for your helping to make the ASEE/NSF Small Business Postdoctoral Research Diversity Fellowship (SBPRDF) program a success. The SBPRDF has placed more than 130 high-impact postdoctoral scholars in some of the nation's most promising startups. There is more to opportunity to come.


The SBPDF is being replaced by a new program with new aims and policies. Current SBPRDF fellows with one year appointments will not receive extensions due to the lack of available funds under the SBPRDF program. The new program will be announced in the spring of 2019. 


Until further notice, early career STEM PhDs who are interested in a fellowship in the new program should use this site to complete all profile information for new program. 


An email will go out to all potential postdocs and eligible host companies registered on this website when funding for a new cohort comes available. 


Program Announcement


Aug 6, 2018 -  Thank you for your interest and participation in the ASEE/NSF Small Business Postdoctoral Research Diversity Fellowship program. There are no new fellowships available in at this time. Current fellows with one year appointments will not receive extensions due to the lack of available funds. An email will go out to all potential postdocs and host companies registered on this website when funding for a new cohort comes available. 


Program Announcement: Hurricane Maria


October 4, 2017 - The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) remind the science and engineering community of the ASEE/NSF Small Business Postdoctoral Research Diversity Fellowship Program (SBPRDF).  This program places fellows within seven years of completing their Ph.D. degree in a STEM field in some of the nation’s most promising start-up companies.


Underrepresented postdocs and STEM PhDs who have been displaced by Hurricane Maria on the island of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are encouraged to apply.  The fellowship provides a base stipend of $75,000, plus optional health care, a professional conference travel allowance, and relocation assistance.   A limited number of one year fellowships are expected to come available.


Click here to start your postdoc profile today.

PLEASE NOTE:  This website is the defintive source of information regarding funding status of this fellowship.  Side inquires regarding funding status will not be returned.  An email will go out to all postdocs and host companies registered on this website when funding for a new cohort comes available. (February 20, 2017)


Program Announcement Update

September 13, 2017 - Funding for the next cohort of the SBPRDF remains delayed. However, the Small Business Postdoctoral Research Diversity Fellowship program is open to 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 in anticipation of multitple one year fellowships.  Only companies with active profiles on this site will be able to submit proposals to host a postdoctoral fellow in this program.  Companies may start their profile here. (updated Oct 16, 2017)

Also at this time, we welcome all eligible doctoral students (within three months of their defense) and doctoral degree recipients (within seven years of degree completion) to add their online profiles here.  We recommended that applicants complete as much of the profile as possible (except Research Plan) as multiple one year fellowships may soon come available.  Only U.S. Citizens and U.S. Permanent Residents are eligible to participate in this program.


Please note:

1.  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.

 2.  As stated in prior updates, the program remains closed to new host company postdoc matches until a new cohort is announced.  Matches submitted by host companies before the new cohort is announced will be disregarded per that notice. There will be no waiting list and no spots held.


Please stay tuned for details.


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


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 may furnish additional funds for stipend, professional travel and relocation costs as deemed appropriate.  The period of appointment will be for one year and extensible upon review and availablility of funds for a total of two years (24 months).  The awardee will be an independent contractor of ASEE (self-employed guest researchers).  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 reduced 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: December 17, 2018 10:27 AM