Since 1983, the Knight Science Journalism Program has traditionally hosted a premier fellowship program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, offering science journalists from around the world a chance to spend nine months off deadline in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The program has been home to more than 300 remarkable journalists, who have spent the time here networking, developing new skills, researching projects, and auditing courses at MIT, Harvard, and a wide range of other top-tier academic institutions in the area.
Last year, for logistical and safety reasons related to the Covid-19 pandemic, KSJ made the difficult decision to postpone bringing its chosen 2020-21 academic fellowship class to campus. At the same time, during that period, we decided to offer a new kind of remote project fellowship to directly support science journalism in the United States during this challenging time. As a result, we awarded project fellowships to 18 outstanding science journalists, for a period that began in September 2020 and will end this May. The projects have included a remarkable range of stories, from social justice aspects of Covid-19 treatment, to climate change, to water supplies in the American West.
We had planned to return to the academic fellowship model in the coming 2021-22 school year. But due to ongoing risks and uncertainties posed by the pandemic, including restrictions on international travel and visas, we recognize the need for a transitional period before returning to more standard operations. KSJ will now resume its traditional fellowship model in the 2022-23 academic year. That class has already been selected and will be formally announced this fall.
This means that for one more year, in keeping with KSJ’s core mission of supporting science journalism, we will be offering up to 20 remote project fellowships to U.S. based journalists. The application period for these fellowships will be from May 10 to June 6, 2021 and the submissions portal on the KSJ website will open at the start of that period.
These fellowships are designed to support independently conceived projects — books, investigations, documentaries — and they will be awarded for varying durations over the course of the upcoming academic year, from September 2021 to May 2022.
Candidates will be asked to apply for one of three forms of fellowship support:
- A nine-month, $40,000 fellowship running from September 2021 thru May 2022
- A four-and-half-month, $20,000 fellowship running from September 2021 thru mid-January 2022.
- A four-and-a-half month, $20,000 fellowship running from mid-January 2022 thru May 2022
There is no requirement for project fellows to be based in Cambridge. Each fellow may choose an appropriate location for their work. But each fellowship will include remote access to MIT’s university libraries and their vast trove of journal and database materials. We will offer carefully selected training seminars via Zoom as well as an orientation session (which will include time with MIT librarians) and schedule a series of roundtables for fellows to discuss their work. All appointments will include up to $5,000 in additional support for research-related expenses, such as travel or equipment.
Recipients of the 2021-22 KSJ Project Fellowships will be announced on July 15, 2021. For further details about the application and fellowship process, please visit KSJ’s Project Fellowship page or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to celebrating the new KSJ project fellows this summer. And we look forward to celebrating our outstanding incoming class of academic fellows this November and to personally welcoming them here in the summer of 2022. And most of all — and we know we are not alone in this — we look forward to a full reopening with enthusiasm, with style, and with safety in the post-pandemic years to come.
Director, Knight Science Journalism Program