SEEKCommons Fellowship FAQ

Please carefully read the fellowship description, application, and this FAQ before reaching out with questions.

Basic Definitions

How do you define Science and Technology Studies?

Science and Technology Studies is an interdisciplinary field of the social sciences and humanities that is dedicated to the study of historical, scientific, and socio-technical phenomena. STS scholars come from various disciplinary backgrounds, such as history, sociology, anthropology, media and gender studies, and many are not connected to academic institutions. To have a good sense of what STS is about, please visit the website of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S).

How do you define Open Science?

Open Science constitutes an emergent, multidisciplinary field of applied research and development concerning questions regarding the accessibility, transparency, reproducibility, and internationalization of scientific production.

How do you define socio-environmental research?

Socio-environmental research refers to investigations of environmental phenomena (e.g., climate change, pollution, ecology, etc.) that includes social components, either in its process (i.e., research design, data collection, or analysis with or alongside communities impacted by environmental issues), in its topical focus (i.e., incorporating social factors or other dynamics in its research questions), or, otherwise, applying social science methods.

How do you define a professional practitioner?

Professional practitioners are people studying and working with open technologies for socio-environmental research, community organizing, and policy-making. Professional practitioners will be expected to be in mid-career positions, but also independent researchers and community organizers.


Do I need to be a U.S. citizen or resident to apply?

No, but most of our team and network members are located in or near EST time zone, and so fellows will need to be able to attend meetings and events in EST time zone (GMT -05:00).

I am not based in the United States, am I eligible to apply for this Fellowship?

Yes, as long as you can follow these guidelines:

  1. During the application process you will be asked to note your commitment to being available for weekly calls/meetings that will generally happen in EDT/EST afternoons (13:00-17:00). We unfortunately cannot make an exception to this.
  2. This fellowship requires expert fluency in spoken and written English.
  3. You will need to clearly demonstrate that you are working on socio-environmental problems with an Open or STS-related project.
  4. The majority of our mentors are based in the U.S. and as we select fellows, we will be attempting to match fellows and mentors with similar geographic and topical experience.
  5. SEEKCommons cannot provide travel support to the annual SEEKCommons convening for fellows outside of the U.S.

If I am interested in or experienced with one of the tracks (STS, socio-environmental research, or open) but not all, am I still eligible?

Yes, we encourage applicants to apply so long as they have interest in applying open science methods to their work.

Am I eligible to apply if I have already been awarded a research grant or fellowship from another institution? Should I disclose this information through the application?

Yes, you will be asked to provide an affiliation in your application and disclose any other fellowship(s) you might have at the time. Please consider your availability based on other commitments in anticipation that fellows’ time commitment will be 3-5 hours at a minimum per week.

What educational background do I need to apply for the fellowship in the professional practitioner track?

Professional practitioners do not need to have a background in social sciences, but we will give priority to those who have experience with socio-environmental research. Experience with OS is highly desirable: we want to support fellows who are already working in this area and those who maintain OS projects that are relevant for advancing socio-environmental research. We highly encourage independent researchers and community organizers to apply.

I have not yet started my program (Postdoc or Ph.D.). Can I still apply for the fellowship?

Yes, as long as you plan to start a graduate program or postdoctoral position during the fellowship period, you can apply. Professional practitioners are exempt from this requirement.

Application process

How do I submit my application?

Please submit your application through the application page. Applications not submitted via the form will not be considered unless you reach out to the project team ahead of time to discuss alternate options.

How will I know that my application is complete?

Please read carefully the requirements before you apply. When you are done filling out the application form, you will be taken to a confirmation page in the portal confirming your submission.

Who do I contact if I have questions related to my application?

You can find all the information you need to apply via the documents provided about the application process. If you still have questions after reading these documents, please reach out to:

I have an idea that seems relevant but doesn’t fit neatly in the topics listed. Should I still apply?

Yes, we do not expect all applicants’ interests to fit neatly into the listed topics. We’re interested in seeing what the individual interests and expertise of potential fellows lend to the broader SEEKCommons network. We will select a cohort of fellows who can benefit from working alongside each other, as well as with members of the SEEKCommons network.

I am very interested in applying for the fellowship, but I lack specific technical knowledge to develop parts of my project. Can I still apply for the fellowship?

Yes, in the first several months of the fellowship the cohort will participate in workshops about data management, open scientific computing, and Wikidata for research, among other topics. These workshops are designed to provide primers for topics, methodologies, and tools you might use in your fellowship project.

As a practitioner, I collect environmental data or use environmental research outputs, but I don’t have formal training in scientific research, data science, or with peer-reviewed publishing. Will I receive training in them?

If you are a practitioner, you do not need to have experience in scientific research. Fellows will be encouraged to consider venues other than peer-reviewed publishing to disseminate their work (see: fellowship description for more information). If you are interested in learning more about research methods, our team and network members will offer several workshops that will be tailored for SEEKCommons Fellows. The fellowship program was designed to help you advance your project with the help of a network for scholars and practitioners in Open Science, STS, and Socio-environmental research.

During the Fellowship

Will I receive support in deciding the structure and format for my fellowship project?

Yes, early in the fellowship you will meet with the SEEKCommons team and with your mentor to discuss and structure your project.

How often will I get to meet with my mentor, the fellowship cohort, and the SEEKCommons team?

Fellows are required to meet at least once a month with their fellowship cohort and SEEKCommons team members, and as often as necessary with mentors. Depending on your individual mentor’s capacity and the support needed for your project, you may make arrangements to meet more or less frequently. You will meet with the SEEKCommons team members regularly during talks and workshops (to be held, at least, once a month).

Can I choose my mentor, or express a preference? Should I try to connect with a potential mentor before applying?

While the majority of mentors will come through the SEEKCommons RCN, if there is a mentor with whom you are interested in working, you may include the name in your fellowship application.

What resources will be available through the SEEKCommons Network to develop my project? What can I use my fellowship stipend on?

Your fellowship stipend is for use at your discretion. Travel funding will be available to support attendance at an annual in-person convening. Additional resources will come from mentorship, support with project development, network development, presentation and dissemination, and expertise development. We cannot amend fellowship stipends.

Can I modify the timeline for my fellowship?

No. If you cannot commit to the full 9-month fellowship period, please wait to apply for a future cohort. The fellowship program will run for 2 years (2024 and 2025).

May I defer my fellowship from one cohort to another?

No. You are welcome to reapply, but we cannot guarantee you will be accepted to future fellowship cohorts.

Can I choose the license I use for my work?

Yes. We would like to encourage the fellows not only to study, but to practice OS while developing the capacity to evaluate the best licensing scheme for any given project. Certain projects involve personally identifiable information or other types of sensitive information that can be harmful to individuals and communities. We will offer workshops on open licensing and present their limitations, so you will develop the ability to make informed decisions on a case-by-case basis.

When will I receive my stipend and from whom?

You will receive your fellowship stipend in two equal installments: (1) installment in month one and (1) installment in month five. Your fellowship stipend will come from Open Environmental Data Project, a US 501(c)3 not-for-profit. Reimbursement for fellow travel will be processed by University of Notre Dame.

After the Fellowship

Can I still take part in the SEEKCommons Network activities after my fellowship has come to an end?

Of course! We would like for all the previous fellows to join the SEEKCommons Network!

What kind of credit or certification will I receive for this fellowship?

Please contact your institution to inquire about course credit for the fellowship. If you require a certificate of participation or completion, OEDP can provide one upon request.

How do I list my fellowship on my CV or resumé?

An entry such as “Fellow of the National Science Foundation project, SEEKCommons (2024)” would be appropriate.