ASPECT Science Policy and Communication Graduate Fellows Program

Professors Taofeeq Adebayo and Janarthanan Jayawickramarajah

Graduate student Taofeeq Adebayo and Professor Janarthanan Jayawickramarajah

There is a critical need in the United States for scientists to understand and then become proactive in terms of how the interplay between politics and the economy drive societal views on the scientific enterprise. In response, ASPECT: Advancing Science Policy Ethics & Communication @Tulane was established as a scientific hub for programs focused on Science Policy, Ethics, and Communication. 

The Science Policy and Communication Graduate Fellows Program is the first such initiative to launch under ASPECT. A collaborative endeavor between The Murphy Institute’s Center for Public Policy Research (CPPR) and the Tulane School of Science and Engineering (SSE) and School of Medicine (SOM), the program aims to enhance the understanding and practice of science and engineering policy, ethics and communication as they relate to political economy. 

The ASPECT Science Policy and Communication Graduate Fellows Program will develop future leaders in science policy and communication, who can effectively bridge the gap between scientists and various societal stakeholders - the public, policymakers, and industry.

Through the program, students will gain skills in science policy and communication, counter negative narratives about science, and advocate for ethical, science-based policy changes. Specifically, this program will train and facilitate PhD-level scientists and engineers in: 

  • conducting research and education on science policy and communication,
  • proactively countering negative narratives about science by informing societal stakeholders, and
  • effecting change in policy that will enable scientists to better address the critical problems facing the region and country.


Fellowship Details



Fellows will take a core course specifically designed for the program, focusing on political economy as it relates to science and engineering. 

Fellows are also required to attend pertinent workshops. One of the following two are recommended: 

  • The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) sponsored workshop on Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering (CASE) - This workshop focuses on science communication and meetings with policymakers.
  • The AAAS Leadership Seminar in Science and Technology Policy - This workshop provides direct learning from key science and technology policy experts


Over a two-semester period, the fellows, in conjunction with Tulane or community partners, will work on a research project in one of three areas: 

  • Science-Related Community Outreach: This project will involve collaborating with existing community organizations or Tulane initiatives to connect science with the public.
  • Science Policy Engagement: Fellows will work with policymakers on science and engineering-related legislation or policy issues.
  • Science & Economy: This project focuses on the intersection of science and the economy, involving industry, startups, venture capital firms, or relevant Tulane departments. 

Fellows will present their research at an annual Science & Engineering and Political Economy Symposium at Tulane.


Current eligibility is limited to PhD students in their 2nd or 3rd year at Tulane University School of Science and Engineering or School of Medicine Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program. Fellows must be in good academic standing in their respective school and hold a primary appointment in a participating school or department.  

Successful candidates will have a strong record of excellence in academic coursework and laboratory research with a demonstrated interest in the political economy of science, engineering, or medicine. 

Applicants who have overcome adversity because of their individual character, leadership skills, and tenacity, are especially encouraged to apply.

Terms of Appointment

  • Fellows will receive a top-up stipend of $5,000 per year for two years.
  • Additional stipend support of $10,000 per year for two years will be provided to their home department to offset that portion of the fellow’s Research Assistantship (RA) or Teaching Assistantship (TA) positions.
  • It is expected that fellows will continue to conduct teaching and/or laboratory research activities and hence will also be partially supported by TA or RA positions.
  • The total compensation for the fellows should be within any bounds set by their department and schools.

Application Process

The Graduate Fellows Program is looking for scientists and engineers with good communication skills and robust laboratory/research experience, who are also passionate about science policy. 

The application opens on July 1st, 2024 with decisions made shorty thereafter. The deadline to apply is August 1st, 2024.

How To Apply

Submit all application materials as a single pdf file to and cc

To receive full consideration, all application materials–including letters of reference–must be received by August 1st, 2024. 

Required Application Materials

  • An application statement (2 page maximum) that discusses the reasons for applying to the Science Policy and Communication Graduate Fellowship. 
    • The statement should include pertinent background, skills, attributes, and career goals.
    • The statement should also discuss the applicant’s interest in science policy and/ or science communication.
    • Outline which of the three areas (Science-Related Community Outreach, Science Policy Engagement, and Science & Economy) is of particular interest. 
  • A one-page (maximum) non-technical writing sample illustrating the applicant’s communication skills.
  • A CV or resume. 
  • A letter or email by the applicant’s research advisor stating their support of the application. 
  • Contact Information of two professional references (one could be the applicant’s research mentor).

The program  is expected to begin in Fall 2024 and is open to applicants from all backgrounds and nationalities. Under-represented groups in STEM are especially encouraged to apply

For more information, contact: