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USGS Mendenhall Research Fellowship Program


The mission of the USGS is to provide reliable scientific information to (1) describe and understand the Earth; (2) minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; (3) manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and (4) enhance and protect our quality of life.

The vision of the USGS is to become a world leader in the natural sciences through scientific excellence and responsiveness to society’s needs. The Mendenhall Research Fellowship Program provides an opportunity for postdoctoral fellows to conduct concentrated research in association with selected members of the USGS professional staff, often as a final element to their formal career preparation. The Program is also intended to provide research experiences that enhance their personal scientific stature and credentials. The Mendenhall Program is envisioned to bring current scientific expertise to assist in the implementation of the USGS Strategic Plan and the science strategy of its programs (refer to, Mendenhall Fellows are expected to publish their results in peer-reviewed scientific outlets.

Mendenhall Fellows are appointed to the USGS for two years and receive full salary and benefits at the GS-12 level. The 2015 base salary for GS-12, step 1 is $61,486. This amount might be higher depending on the amount of locality pay or cost-of-living allowance (COLA) for the geographic area of the assignment. The appropriate Human Resources Office contact can provide further information upon request.


Appointment will begin at a date to be determined later, depending on availability of funds.


In order to be considered for a Mendenhall Fellowship, candidates must:

  1. The Ph.D. degree requirements must have been met no earlier than 5 years before the application opening date, and must be completed by the time employment starts;

  2. Meet the qualification requirements described in the Research Opportunity. Applicants must address the USGS scientific needs described in the Research Opportunity description appropriately. The proposal submitted must demonstrate that the applicant is equipped with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the duties for the specific Research Opportunity. If they do not, they may not be considered.

At this time the Federal Government may hire U.S. citizens; a person who owes allegiance to the U.S.; or a person who is lawfully admitted for permanent residence and is seeking U.S. citizenship. Please contact the appropriate Personnel Office listed on the announcement for questions about eligibility and further assistance.

Foreign Education. Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet the requirements if acceptable documentation that the foreign education is comparable to that received in an accredited educational institution in the United States is provided. It is the applicant's responsibility to provide such evidence. Click here for additional information on acceptable documentation:


A background investigation will be required. Continued employment will be subject to the applicant's successful completion of a background security investigation and favorable adjudication. Failure to successfully meet these requirements will be grounds for termination.


When to Apply. (updated 01/29/2019)

  • The application closing date for Round 17 Research Opportunities #20-25 is April 15, 2019
  • The application closing date for Research Opportunities #S33 is May 1, 2019
  • The application closing date for Research Opportunities #S34 is May 7, 2019

How to Apply. Applicants are to submit the following documents.


  1. Resume. Please ensure that the resume includes:

    1. the title of the Research Opportunity;
    2. how the applicant became aware of the Mendenhall Research Fellowship Program;
    3. Last four digits of the applicant’s Social Security Number;
    4. country of citizenship;
    5. veterans preference (if applicable);
    6. names of colleges and universities attended;
    7. type of degrees earned and the years they were received;
    8. the names, phone numbers, and contact information of three references; and
    9. an e-mail address at which the applicant can be reached. (NOTE: If the e-mail address of an applicant changes after the closing date, it is his/her responsibility to send the new e-mail address to the following: and the Human Resources contact.

  2. Educational Transcripts. Proof of successful completion of education must be provided. This proof includes copies of undergraduate transcripts and graduate transcripts. If you are selected, you will be required to provide official transcripts. If your transcripts are not in English, please also provide a listing of all course work with grade and credit hours information. Unofficial transcripts must be submitted as a part of the application package.

  3. List of Publications. Include articles in journals, proceedings volumes, etc., and abstracts, reports, maps, etc. Please do not submit copies of publications unless requested. Abstracts of up to three papers, reports, and so on, or a chapter from your Ph.D. dissertation may be submitted.

  4. Foreign Education Documentation. You must provide proof, if necessary. Foreign accreditation information can be provided after an employment offer is made.

  5. Supporting Veterans Preference Documentation (if necessary).

  6. Research Proposal. Each research proposal should be a maximum of eight standard pages in length (single space, Times New Roman font, font size 12) and should contain:
    1. research objective(s);
    2. links to USGS science program strategy;
    3. how and where research is to be conducted;
    4. name of Research Advisor(s) -- the Research Advisors are listed in the description of the research opportunity;
    5. required scientific facilities.

    In addition to the eight-page proposal, a separate budget estimate is required. This estimate should detail anticipated operating expenses for fieldwork, access to specialized equipment/facilities, conference travel, publications, computer hardware/software, and so on.
    A list of references associated with the research proposal may be included and will not count toward the 8-page limit.
    1. The Research Proposal is the most important part of the application package, and we strongly urge applicants to coordinate the development of the Proposal with the Research Advisor(s).

    2. Applicants must address the USGS scientific needs described in the Research Opportunity description appropriately. The proposal submitted must demonstrate that the applicant is equipped with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the duties for the specific Research Opportunity. If they do not, they may not be considered for a Mendenhall Fellowship.
For More Information: For information regarding the Research Opportunity, please contact the Research Advisor(s). One of the first steps in the preparation of an application package is establishing contact with the Research Advisor(s). For information regarding the recruitment process or the status of an application, please contact the Human Resources Office contact.

Application Material Submission:

USGS strongly encourages the electronic submission of applications. All materials should be submitted in PDF format through the USAJOBS web link. PDF files submitted should not be larger than 4 MB. If a file is larger than 4 MB, applicants must split the contents of the file so that no one unit submitted is larger than 4 MB.

Applications should be prepared as follows:

  1. First PDF file should contain ONLY the research proposal.
  2. A second PDF file should contain: list of literature references cited in the proposal; budget estimate; and resumé.
  3. A separate PDF file should contain: educational transcripts; supporting veterans documentation.

Clicking on the “APPLY” button next to the Research Opportunity will take applicants to the USAJOBS application for the Opportunity. For technical assistance for submitting an application through USAJOBS, please contact the Human Resources Specialist listed as the Agency Contact within the body of the announcement.

PDF conversion tools are readily available via the Internet. Some examples can be accessed at the following sites:

Disclaimer: Hypertext links and other references to non-USGS products and services are provided for information only and do not constitute endorsement or warranty, express or implied, by the USGS, DOI, or U.S. Government, as to their suitability, content, usefulness, functioning, completeness, or accuracy.

In addition, documents that do not easily lend themselves to conversion may be faxed. Please contact the appropriate Human Resources Office to make arrangements. If a complete application package is not submitted, the applicant will not be considered for the position. Requests for deadline extensions will not be granted. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure the successful conveyance of the application package. Applicants will receive a confirmation e-mail upon receipt. Application packages must be received by 11:59 p.m. (U.S. Eastern Time) on the closing date of the announcement. It is against the law to submit applications for employment using Government paid postage envelopes or mail services (18 USC 1719). Such application packages will not be considered. Application material will not be returned.


The Human Resources Office will provide the hiring official with application material for review and consideration. The Research Advisor and/or hiring official will review the application material and contact candidates for interviews as needed. A subject matter expert panel will be convened. If an applicant is chosen for the opportunity and meets the qualification requirements, the Human Resources Office will contact the applicant and make a firm job offer.

For some additional details, such as a description of the criteria used to evaluate applications, please visit the FAQ section.

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U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Direct inquiries to Cara A. Campbell at
Maintained by Mendenhall Research Fellowship Program Web Team
Last modified: 14:11:52 Fri 29 Mar 2019
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