Science and technology make fundamental contributions to the security, economic, health, and cultural foundations of modern societies. In order for the State Department to pursue effectively its mission to “create a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community,” an appreciation and understanding of science and technology must be integral to the formulation and implementation of government policy. The articulation of “accurate science for statecraft” to policy makers has become an essential element in establishing effective international relationships in the 21st century. Recognizing this need, the Secretary of State announced, on October 8, 2003, the Jefferson Science Fellows (JSF) program at the U.S. Department of State. This program, which now includes the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), serves as an innovative model for engaging the American academic science and engineering communities in U.S. foreign policy.
Tenured, or similarly ranked, academic scientists, engineers and physicians from U.S. institutions of higher learning, who are U.S. citizens, are eligible to apply for the Jefferson Science Fellowship. Each Fellow will spend one year at the U.S. Department of State or USAID in Washington, D.C. The assignments may be coordinated with the relevant U.S. embassy overseas. All JSF assignments will be designed through a consultation that considers both the interests and expertise of the Fellow and the needs of the hosting office. Following the fellowship year, the Jefferson Science Fellow will return to his/ her academic career, but will remain available to the U.S. government as an experienced consultant for short-term projects.