Apply to the Rowland Fellows Program

The Rowland Institute at Harvard seeks outstanding early-career experimentalists in all fields of science and engineering to establish fully independent research groups in the rich intellectual environment of Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Rowland Fellowship provides an interdisciplinary and interactive environment, fostering the pursuit of innovative research. To qualify, applicants should currently be in the process of either completing their PhDs and/or have received their PhD after May 1, 2023. Fellows must have completed their doctoral degree prior to starting their Fellowship term.

Edwin Land founded the Rowland Institute of Science in 1982 to foster high-risk, creative research. In 2002, we became the Rowland Institute at Harvard when we joined the University with the mission of advancing the early careers of experimental scientists and engineers. In 2024 we moved from our original building to Harvard’s main campus to be closer to collaborators and university resources. In our founder’s tradition, we are particularly interested in supporting future principal investigators who have the potential to establish a ground-breaking research program in their chosen field. Previous Rowland Fellows have gone on to extremely successful careers, mostly in academia, but also in industry and as founders of start-up companies. 

As a group leader at the Rowland Institute, you will have full principal investigator rights. You will also be provided with dedicated laboratory space; generous start-up funding for capital equipment, depending on the Fellow’s research program; a yearly budget starting at $225,000 for general operations (lab supplies, travel, etc.) and the hiring of personnel (postdoctoral fellows, postbacs, undergraduates); and, a salary that begins at $89,999 per year. Staff scientists and engineers are available to work directly with Rowland Fellows to design and fabricate new experimental set-ups. Shared research equipment is available at facilities within the Institute and throughout Harvard University (e.g. the Center for Nanoscale Systems, and the Bauer Life Science Core Facility). You will receive mentoring to develop a productive lab culture, support for scientific writing and budgeting, alongside ongoing support for career development throughout the Fellowship period.

The Fellowship lasts up to five years, with a flexible start date; our incoming 2025 Rowland Fellows will have start dates September-December 2025.

How to Apply


  • 2025 Rowland Fellowships:
    • The deadline for applications is Friday, August 16, 2024 at 11:59PM EDT. 

Timeline for the Rowland Fellowship application process:

  1. Applications will be due mid-August 2024: Applicants apply through the link below, and submit the following materials:
    • 250 word “elevator pitch” to describe your research goals to a general audience
    • Statement of Research (three page limit)
    • curriculum vitae (CV)
    • Vision Statement (one page limit) to describe how you plan to establish a lab culture that will be productive and supportive. Include a reflection on how your personal values and experiences in academia inform this plan
    • contact information for three or four references (automated emails will be sent requesting letters of recommendation direct to your references that includes their submission deadline.)  
  2. Mid-October 2024: Candidates are contacted to interview.  
  3. November 13th and 14th 2024: Finalists come to the Institute to:
    1. Present their past and proposed work in a short symposium-style talk
    2. Interview with staff and current Rowland Fellows
  4. December 2024: Selection decisions are made and finalists are informed

Some notes about applications:

  • Your application need not be completed and submitted in one sitting; you can log back in at a later time to make additions and changes.
  • When your application is completed and submitted, instructions will automatically be sent to these referees about submitting their letter of recommendation.
  • Once completed and submitted, you cannot revise your materials. If you do need to submit a revised version after submittal but before the deadline, please email  rf@g.harvard.edu and we will reactivate your account so you can submit the revised version.


  • Applicants should currently be in the process of either completing their PhDs, and/or have received their PhD after May 2023. 
  • A Ph.D. is required by the time you start your fellowship at the Rowland, but it is very common that applicants do not yet have their Ph.D. at the time of the selection process.
  • Your proposed research must be experimentally focused in any field of science or engineering – including physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, neuroscience, etc. The program accepts applications from such a broad range of fields that the research conducted by current and past Fellows can be used as a guide, but should not be considered restrictive! We choose Fellows based on the best proposed science at the time of submission.
  • Candidates can apply from any accredited academic institution whether in the United States or internationally.
  • US Citizens and non-citizens are eligible for appointment as Rowland Fellows. The staff at the Rowland Institute and Harvard University can assist you in the visa process if needed.
  • Please email rf@g.harvard.edu if you have questions regarding eligibility or the application.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

Harvard is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.


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