IPRH–Andrew W. Mellon Pre-Doctoral Fellowship in Bio-Humanities, 2017–18

The Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, seeks to select two Pre-Doctoral Fellows in Bio-Humanities for the 2017–18 academic year.

Bio-humanities is an emerging field distinguished by its critical and creative appropriation of findings in the biological sciences for the purpose of reimagining and reconfiguring our sense of human being and of the meaning and significance of human undertakings.

The IPRH-Mellon Pre-Doctoral Fellows will participate in all activities of the Bio-Humanities Research Group, as led by the IPRH-Mellon Faculty Fellow in Bio-Humanities, Professor Samantha Frost. In addition to pursuing bio-humanities-related research projects of their own, the IPRH-Mellon Pre-Doctoral Fellows will participate in a seminar aimed at developing methodologies for bio-humanities research.

Advanced PhD students from all humanities disciplines, including the humanities-inflected social sciences, whose research and teaching interests lie in the area of bio-humanities, are encouraged to apply.


Only Urbana campus PhD students are eligible to apply. Applicants must be “ABD” (i.e., have completed all requirements for their doctoral studies, save the dissertation) and should be ready to work on their dissertation projects during the span of the fellowship year.

Terms of Fellowship

IPRH-Mellon Pre-Doctoral Fellows in Bio-Humanities receive a $25,000 stipend with tuition and fee waiver, and a $2500 research fund.

All IPRH-Mellon Pre-Doctoral Fellows are required to maintain residency on the Illinois campus (residing within a 20-mile radius) during the award year and to participate in the activities of the research group. Applicants should make certain that their teaching and research obligations do not prevent them from participating fully in the Bio-Humanities Research Group activities, and should identify in the narrative statement any applications being made for other campus or external grants and fellowships.

Application Guidelines

In addition to completing the online application form, applicants must submit the following materials through the online application system (documents should be double-spaced, and in 12-point Times New Roman font, with one-inch margins; materials that exceed the required length will not be considered):

  • A 100-word abstract with project title.
  • A current curriculum vitae, including a list of all U of I graduate courses taken, papers published, presentations made, and assistantships and fellowships held (maximum 5 pages; this need not be double-spaced, but please consider the committee and render it legible).
  • A statement of 2,000 words describing the student’s research on the proposed project, including preparation to undertake this research and all progress on the project to date.
  • A pdf of the student’s official transcript, which has been emailed to the student directly from the registrar’s office (rather than scanned from a paper copy). The applicants must request this electronic delivery from the registrar’s office.
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation to be uploaded by the applicant’s referees, one of which must come from the faculty member supervising the student’s. Recommendation letters should speak to the applicant’s abilities and achievements, to his/her progress on the project, and to the intellectual value of the project itself.

In the narrative statement, the applicant should describe his/her research in reasonable detail, explaining its significance to the work of the Bio-Humanities Research Group and addressing the applicant’s readiness to undertake the project. The statement should also indicate the applicant’s willingness to participate in the Bio-Humanities Research Group’s activities.

Selection Criteria

The applications will be reviewed by the Mellon Faculty Fellow in Bio-Humanities, the IPRH Director and Principal Investigator on the Mellon Emerging Areas in the Humanities grant, and Members of the IPRH Advisory Committee, who will make their award recommendations to IPRH. The IPRH Associate Director serves on the committee in an ex officio capacity. 

Submissions will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • the relationship of the project to the bio-humanities,
  • the scholarly promise of the project,
  • the applicant’s preparation to undertake the proposed research,
  • the quality of the narrative proposal, and
  • the letters of support.

Application Deadline

Online applications must be complete and submitted, including all letters of support uploaded, by midnight on January 20, 2017, after which the application portal closes. The application system will open fall 2016. Please check back to learn more. Deadline extensions will not be granted. The review committee will consider only complete applications. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all documentation is complete, and that referees submit their letters before the deadline.

Submit the required materials to the online application system at https://my.atlas.illinois.edu/submit/go.asp?id=1084.


All applications will be acknowledged via e-mail, and all applicants will be notified in the latter part of the spring 2017 semester, when the search has concluded. Please do not contact IPRH about the status of an application; because of the volume of applications IPRH receives, we are unable to answer questions about individual applications.

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Submit all application materials through the online application system.

Questions about these fellowships may be addressed to Nancy Castro at ncastro@illinois.edu or (217) 244-7913.

Application Deadline: January 20, 2017