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Become an ISTP Fellow

The ISTPF is a nonpartisan program that provides outstanding scientists, social scientists and engineers the opportunity to learn firsthand about policymaking through a yearlong fellowship. Placements are available in executive branch agencies and the Legislative Services Office. This is a one-year, full-time fellowship, with renewal for an additional year in the executive branch, contingent upon funding. 

For the 2024-25 fellowship year, placements are available in the Legislative Services Office only.


  • You hold a doctoral level science or social science degree or a master’s in engineering and three years of work experience.
  • You have solid science/social science and/or technical credentials and three references.
  • You exhibit integrity, problem-solving, flexibility and nonpartisan leadership qualities.
  • You are committed to serving society.
  • You have good verbal and written communication skills.
  • You have a connection to Idaho.

How to apply

  • Check your eligibility.
  • Start the online application early. The application opens Jan. 22 and the deadline is March 29, 2024.
  • Read the application thoroughly.
  • Ask for letters of recommendation soon.
  • Understand the ISTPF and customize your essays to it. 

Additional Information

2024 Timeline

  • Application opens: Monday, Jan. 22
  • Application closes: Friday, March 29
  • Application review: Through early April
  • Semifinalist video interviews: Mid-April
  • Fellow notification: Late April
  • ISTPF placement interviews: Week of Aug. 19
  • ISTPF orientation: Week of Aug. 26
  • Fellows in host office: Sept. 3

Fellowships are highly competitive, involving a merit review and selection process. Members of the selection committee represent a broad range of backgrounds including academia, private and non-profit sectors, state agencies and ISTPF advisory board members.

Candidates are evaluated and scored based on the five categories outlined below.* The ISTPF seeks individuals who have a combination of leadership attributes, analytical and problem-solving abilities, and communication skills and demonstrate commitment to this professional development opportunity and its objectives. A perfect score is 100 points.

Scientific/Technical Background & Professional Accomplishment (1-20 points)

  • Solid science/social science/technical education and experience in area of expertise, appropriate to career stage.
  • Employment in relevant academic, applied science/social science/technical, research, administration, outreach or policy positions appropriate to career stage and field.
  • Record of publications and/or presentations appropriate to career stage, field and institutional setting.
  • Record of grants and/or participation in research projects or other science/social science/technical initiatives appropriate to career stage, field and institutional setting.

Leadership & Potential (1-20 points)

  • Prior leadership roles relevant to career stage (e.g., graduate student governance or faculty committees; advisory or editorial committees; active in professional societies, nonprofit or community initiatives).
  • Skill/potential to organize, build consensus, lead projects and people toward positive outcomes.
  • Confidence, maturity and self-direction with the capacity, initiative and flexibility to work well independently, as well as in groups.
  • Ability to identify personal strengths and areas for growth and development.
  • Potential to take initiative to make the fellowship a rich and positive experience, disseminate the skills learned through the fellowship and take advantage of networks developed.

Analytical & Problem-Solving Abilities (1-20 points)

  • Evidence of critical thinking, analytical skill and versatility.
  • Ability to translate and apply theoretical concepts into practice to solve problems.
  • Capacity to make connections between science, social science and technology and broader economic, social and political issues.

Communication, Interpersonal & Outreach Skills (1-20 points)

  • Excellent communication skills: articulate, cohesive, concise, rational flow of information and clear in both context and detail.
  • Ability to convey science/social science/technology knowledge in broader contexts.
  • Capacity to work effectively with diverse stakeholders outside science, social science and/or engineering communities.

Commitment to ISTPF (1-20 points)

  • Strong interest in applying science/social science/technical knowledge toward the solution of problems in areas in which the fellowship would be served.
  • Clarity of objectives for applying to the fellowship, and how the fellowship experience will be used in the future.
  • Willingness and flexibility to tackle issues beyond area of expertise, openness and capacity to expand experience in the policy realm and to interact with Idaho policymakers and regulators.
  • Realistic expectations, open-minded and adaptable to fellowship opportunities and challenges.
  • Demonstrated or clearly communicated commitment to apply science/social science/technical expertise to serve society and in particular the state of Idaho.

* Based on selection criteria set by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellowships (STPF)

Total compensation provided to ISTP fellows includes salary, benefits, such as healthcare and retirement, and certain support for travel and professional development. Reimbursement for select moving expenses also may be covered.

Annual salary schedule:

  • Early Career (0-6 years post-qualifying degree): $65,000
  • Mid-Career (7-14 years post-qualifying degree): $75,004.80
  • Late Career (15+ years post-qualifying degree): $85,009.60

Please note that salary provided through the ISTPF may be reduced by an amount commensurate with salary support to the fellow from other sources (e.g., salary provided in support of a faculty sabbatical).

For a better understanding of health and other benefits, see the University of Idaho Benefits page.

The professional development program is an integral part of the fellowship experience and includes a one-week orientation and monthly seminars and trainings. The curriculum is designed around learning goals and objectives developed specifically for science and technology policy fellowship programs. The learning goals and objectives support each fellow’s development as a science policy leader and encompass four areas of learning: policy and the state government, leadership, communication and networking and career strategies.

Fellows whose stipends are administered by the ISTPF receive a travel/professional training allowance of $3,000. The funds may be used only for fellowship-related travel and for professional training. All travel and training must be pre-approved by the placement office and the ISTPF.

McClure Center

Physical Address:

Capitol Annex Ste. 116

Mailing Address:

James A. & Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research
Capitol Annex
514 W. Jefferson Street
Boise, ID 83702

Phone: 208-364-4549