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The National Academies' Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship program is seeking applications for its 2006 sessions. The fellowship involves graduate and postdoctoral students in the National Academies' efforts to inform science and technology policy and gives them a close-up look at how science and government interact.

"The fellowship is so broad. It's open to just about any grad student who has any kind of interest in science and technology policy," says Rebecca Burka, the Mirzayan program officer. Applicants must be current graduate students or postdoctoral students who have completed their studies within the last five years. International students studying in the United States can also apply.

Fellows work in one of the many units within the Academies. These units include the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, as well as many divisions within these units, such as the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education.

Applicants indicate which units they're most interested in but they may wind up in a seemingly unrelated unit. For instance, if one section is drafting a policy statement on cloning or stem cells, it might seek someone in life sciences who can share their expertise, Burka notes. Robert Lipinski, PhD, visiting assistant psychology professor at Lafayette College, was a fellow last summer in the Center for Studies of Behavior and Development, where he helped develop a workshop, sponsored by the National Institute on Aging, on the decision-making needs of older adults. The fellowship was "a good opportunity to become involved with the study of an important, but relatively unexplored topic," he says.

Each fellow collaborates with a senior policy staff member who acts as his or her mentor. In addition, fellows work together to develop a public seminar series on controversial science and technology topics. Fellows are also encouraged to attend congressional hearings, take in seminars at other think tanks and shadow federal officials or others involved in forming science and technology policy.

The stipend for the 10-week fellowship is $4,800, with an additional $500 for fellows living outside the Washington, D.C., area.

Applications for the summer session, June 5-Aug. 11, are due March 1. For the fall session, Sept. 11-Nov. 17, applications are due by June 1. Application information can be found at www.national-academies.org/policyfellows.

-J. Daw Holloway