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Sabbatical Fellowships


At a Glance


NIMBioS supports several Sabbatical Fellows each year. These individuals come to NIMBioS for a few months to a year with the length of stay determined by the objectives of the proposed project. The Center supports approximately four Fellows/year, but also offers opportunities for shorter-term visits for a larger number of visitors. Fellows may propose to include a mixture of Working Group, Investigative Workshop and outreach activities as part of their effort while in residence, and we encourage applicants to suggest creative ways to expand their expertise while in residence. Fellows are expected to be in residence at NIMBioS in Knoxville and interact with other NIMBioS resident and visiting researchers. Confirmation of the Fellow's sabbatical arrangements with his or her home institution will occur after applicants are selected.

Financial Information

Sabbatical Fellows are provided a stipend based upon their period of residence at NIMBioS, up to a total maximum of $25,000 per Fellow over their entire stay, with this amount not to exceed 50% of the Fellow's home institution salary for the period. The stipend is used to cover all housing and living expenses while in residence, in addition to travel costs. Arrangements are flexible and may vary depending on the plan developed with their home institutions. Stipends for Fellows are allocated to allow complete coverage of the local living and housing costs (the Knoxville-area offers a wide array of possible short-term rentals with many options costing less than $1000 per month) and NIMBioS will assist the Fellow in locating housing appropriate to their needs. Sabbatical Fellows are considered short-term employees of the University of Tennessee and are therefore not eligible for full benefits such as health insurance coverage and retirement plans.

Call for Sabbatical Fellowship Applications

NIMBioS Sabbatical Fellows are chosen based upon indications that the applicant's research plans are consistent with the mission of NIMBioS, the applicant has the demonstrated ability to carry out the proposed research, and the opportunities provided through NIMBioS will enhance the capacity for the research to be completed in an efficient and timely manner. Fellows are also supported in order to enhance the diversity of the cadre of researchers who are able to effectively address research at the interface between math and biology, and thus a successful applicant will include a plan that indicates how NIMBioS will expand their abilities in this regard. The research questions to be addressed by a Fellow may be either fundamental, applied or both, and may be focused around a particular biological topic, or one from mathematics that is driven by biological insight. We are particularly interested in research that integrates diverse fields, requires synthesis at multiple scales, and/or makes use of or requires development of new mathematical/computational approaches. In addition to the research responsibilities associated with the proposed project, each Fellow will be expected to collaborate in teams with Postdoctoral Fellows in residence, faculty, staff and graduate students.

Development of new experimental or observational data is outside the scope of activities for NIMBioS Sabbatical Fellows.

A goal of NIMBioS is to enhance the cadre of researchers capable of interdisciplinary efforts across mathematics and biology. As part of this goal, NIMBioS is committed to promoting diversity in all its activities. Diversity is considered in all its aspects, social and scientific, including gender, ethnicity, scientific field, career stage, geography and type of home institution. Questions regarding diversity issues should be directed to Dr. Ernest Brothers, the NIMBioS Associate Director for Diversity Enhancement ( You can read more about our Diversity Plan on our NIMBioS Policies web page. The NIMBioS building is fully handicapped accessible.

Application and Submission Process

NIMBioS applications for Sabbatical Fellowships are short, not to exceed 5 single-spaced (12-pt type) pages (excluding cover sheet and CV).

The application process has two parts, an online summary form and a more detailed project description.

PART 1: Complete the online application form: CLICK HERE.

PART 2: Submit an application in PDF format, organized as follows:

  1. Cover sheet
    1. Descriptive Title
    2. Short Title (25 characters max)
    3. Name and contact information
    4. Project Summary (250 words max) - appropriate for public distribution on the NIMBioS web site
    5. Proposed start and end dates
    6. Potential conflicts of interest with the members of the Advisory Boards or the NIMBioS Leadership Team.
  2. Problem statement - Clear and concise statement of the research problem to be addressed, why it is important and describe why your background is appropriate to address this. Include appropriate references.
  3. Proposed activities that make use of NIMBioS opportunities to enhance the applicant's abilities - include any particular outreach or educational activities planned; and note (if appropriate) possible collaborators associated with NIMBioS, the University of Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory or Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
  4. Anticipated IT Needs - Briefly describe any needs for IT support that are important to the success of the proposed project, including support for coding, high performance computing, and development and maintenance of public databases.
  5. Name and contact information for a representative of the home institution who will be the primary contact regarding institutional arrangements for the sabbatical (this is usually the applicant's Department Head or Dean).
  6. Full CV.

Applications will be accepted in digital format only, as a pdf file. Graphics should be embedded directly into the application document. Note that applications should be submitted as a single pdf file including all of the components listed above (items 1-6). Because of varying visa requirements, potential international Sabbatical Fellows should contact us before applying.

Applications should be submitted electronically via email to cwelsh_at_nimbios_dot_org.

Note that information contained in applications for NIMBioS support are governed by the NIMBioS Privacy Policy.