Applicant Instructions

Eligibility and Expectations

Complete applications require both a Postdoc and a Research Advisor. Eligibility requirements for both roles are detailed below.

For Postdocs:


  • U.S. citizens only
  • Ph.D. in a relevant field must be completed before beginning the appointment and within five years of the application deadline
  • Proposal must be associated with an accredited U.S. university, college, or U.S. government laboratory
  • Eligible candidates may only receive one award from the IC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program. 


  • Conduct two years of research on awarded topic
  • Coordinate with the Research Advisor
  • Collaborate with IC Advisor (will be assigned to selected postdocs)
  • Publish research results, as appropriate
  • Attend the annual IC Academic Research Symposium

For Research Advisors:


  • Must be an employee of an accredited U.S. university, college or U.S. government laboratory
  • Are not required to be U.S. citizens


  • Provide on-site support for the Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Coordinate with the IC Advisor
  • Has the option to attend the annual IC Academic Research Symposium

Application Process

Watch now: IC Postdoctoral Fellowship Recruitment and Information Fair | Panel Discussion: Research Proposal Writing Guidance

Create and release your Profile in Zintellect – Postdoctoral applicants must first create an account and complete a profile in the Zintellect online application system. Please note: your résumé/CV may not exceed 3 pages. Any pages beyond page 3 will be removed prior to review.

Identify a research opportunity – Filter research opportunities by organization (Office of the Director of National Intelligence) in the Zintellect Opportunity Catalog and identify one or more research opportunities relevant to your research.

Apply for one or more opportunities by completing your application –The application itself contains detailed instructions for each one of these components: availability, citizenship, transcripts, abstract, publication and presentation plan, and information about your Research Advisor co-applicant. If you do not meet the requirements, you will not be able to proceed with your application. Upload your proposal and advisor information with your application. The Program will not accept proposals containing human or animal subjects without approval and verification that your research facility has an IRB.

Proposal Format

  • Proposals should be 6-8 pages, including figures and citations. Any pages in excess of 8 will be removed from the application prior to review
  • Standard 8.5" x 11" page size
  • Single-spaced (excluding captions); using 12-point, Times New Roman font.

Proposals should include a title and should begin with a brief abstract, followed by the body of the proposal, which should contain these components: a) statement of problem, b) background and relevance to previous work, c) general methodology, procedures to be followed, and timeline for completion of each step, d) explanation of new or unusual techniques, e) expected results and their significance and application, and f) literature citations, where appropriate.

Importantly, to help ensure a selection process free of unconscious bias, do not include any personally identifiable information for yourself or your advisor in your proposal. Also, do not include in the proposal any identifying laboratory or school information. 

Instead, please include this information in your resume and the advisor resume. Any relevant experience and skills that enable you personally to carry out the research should also be addressed in your resume. Any relevant information regarding your advisor’s experience and skill should be addressed in the advisor’s resume. Any relevant information regarding the school or laboratory research facility may be addressed in either resume as appropriate.  Do not include contact information as part of the resumes. All contact information should be listed as requested in the online application so we can reach you. 


Round One Review – blind review (no PPI or resume). The proposal (only) will be reviewed independently to evaluate how your proposed research addresses the research topic.

Round Two Review – Both the proposal and resume are reviewed by review board for merit and relevance.

When selection committees read fellowship proposals, they are looking for evidence that:

  • the proposed activity is feasible.
  • you have the necessary background and skills to carry out the work that you are proposing.
  • you have clear and realistic objectives for the activity.
  • you have adequately researched and prepared for your project.
  • there is a professional development benefit of this research for you.
  • you have proposed a novel approach or innovative research to address the topic
  • you have sought guidance from experts in the field and you have the support you need to successfully carry out your research.