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This pilot program accepted applications in 2022 and made awards in 2023.
The program will not be open for new applications in 2023 or 2024.


Templeton TEX Fellows – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Could you further explain what is meant by cross-training, or across disciplines?

A: For example, we aim for theoretical physics students to cross-train in experimental physics, and for experimental physics students to cross-train in theoretical physics.

Q: What is the motivation of this program?

A: JTF maintains a general interest in bridging disciplinary silos in order to facilitate scientific discovery. This program is designed to enable graduate students to bridge the divide between experimental and theoretical physics and encourage a more holistic graduate experience with the purpose of increasing the capacity and skill of the fellows to pursue groundbreaking research in fundamental physics, astronomy, or cosmology that pushes the conceptual frontiers at the foundations of these fields.    

Q: What subtopics of physics research are supported by this program?

A: Students pursuing and proposing basic (rather than applied) research in any area of fundamental physics or astronomy are encouraged to apply. Examples of potential areas of interest include cosmology, gravitational wave physics/astronomy, and high energy physics. We are especially interested in any topical areas where experimentalists and theorists do not often closely interact.

Q: What kinds of research activities are envisioned? What about a data-analysis or computational project?

A: Part of the purpose of the program is to meaningfully cross-train researchers in a skill-set and scientific community with which they may not otherwise engage. Applicants are encouraged to demonstrate in their statements how the cross-training experience they propose would meaningfully diversify their competency and research beyond what might be typical. Data analysis or computational projects could qualify if they entail a meaningful diversification, but would be less compelling if already typical for the applicant’s research trajectory.  

Q: Is a specific research output required? Publications?

A: While not a requirement, we encourage applicants (with the assistance of the faculty advisors) to select cross-discipline projects that could realistically result in a preprint. This goal may help focus the research and expose the student to a full “research cycle” for a given idea. This may also allow the student to shepherd the preprint through to peer-reviewed publication after the end of the cross-training year at a low level of effort.  

Q: What should be included in the statement of purpose section of the Project Description?

A: An especially compelling statement of purpose would contain:

    1. A narrative of the student’s broad research and career interests.
    2. A description of the student’s proposed primary and cross-disciplinary research projects, and how they fit into the student’s broader research and career goals.
    3. A narrative describing how this cross-training fellowship would specifically facilitate the student’s goals that are consistent with the purpose of this program, and how it may contribute to a bridging between theory and experiment in their areas of research interest more broadly.

Q: What should the advisors’ letters of support contain?

A: The letters of support should, at minimum, indicate that the relevant faculty are aware of the student’s application, supportive of the research proposal, and willing to serve as advisors. The primary advisor must agree to serve as the Project Leader for the grant if it is awarded.  Additional commentary on the information and ideas documented in the statement of purpose would also be appreciated, as they might help reviewers understand the broader scientific context and the possible impacts of an award.

Q: What should the institutional support letter contain?

A: The institutional support letter assures JTF that the student’s primary graduate institution is prepared to agree to the proposed arrangement as described above.

Q: Must the cross-training be conducted at the student’s primary graduate institution?

A: JTF has not placed any restrictions on this. The fellows are, in principle, free to pursue cross-training anywhere their graduate institutions permit, including internationally. The institutional support letter should indicate that the institution agrees to partner with the organization that plans to host the year of cross-training while the institution remains responsible for receiving all grant funds for the fellowship, providing reports as described in the grant agreement, and distributing grant funds for the expenses described in the approved grant proposal.

Q: What years of graduate school could this apply to?

A: JTF has no specific preference: if the applicant can demonstrate the usefulness of this program at their stage of graduate training, and the relevant institutions/advisors are supportive, graduate students at any stage are welcomed and encouraged to apply.  Note, however, that Fellows must commit to two years of full-time research while maintaining pre-PhD graduate student status, and during this period they must not be enrolled in classes or carry responsibilities for teaching or other work outside of the proposed research project. Given that August 1st of 2023 is the earliest start date for the two-year fellowship, applicants should not be expecting to graduate with a PhD prior to August of 2025.

Q: Are awards limited to the United States?

A: No. In fact, JTF welcomes applications from outside of the U.S.  Moreover, students enrolled in the U.S. may propose to do a year of cross-training outside of the U.S., so long as their advisors and home institutions are committed to making the necessary arrangements.

 Q: Can postdocs apply? Or can I use some of this funding towards a postdoctoral position?

A: Fellows must remain graduate students during the entire duration of the fellowship. This means that fellowship (including both years of the research) must conclude before the student is awarded a doctoral degree.