U of I launches fellowship to connect graduates with public service careers

Urbana, Ill. – University of Illinois Extension has announced an open application period for government offices to apply to for the newly created Illini Science Policy Fellowship. The program matches University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign graduate students completing their degrees with Illinois public agencies or the legislature for a 12-month, full-time paid fellowship.

Hosts provide an educational opportunity to fellows who, in turn, will provide substantial professional contributions to the office, drawing from the latest scientific and disciplinary advances at U of I’s flagship campus.

“Public service is at the core of our land-grant university mission, so we are so excited to offer this opportunity for U of I’s top graduates to contribute to addressing public needs in Illinois,” said Deborah Seiler, coordinator of the Extension and Public Engagement Connection Center, which is administering the fellowship. “We hope this fellowship will provide a recruitment pathway for host organizations, connecting them to the latest research and educational resources at U of I.”

The Request for Applications is open to municipal, state, and federal agencies and legislative offices located in Illinois with mandates in research, policy, or management issues. Host applications will be evaluated on multiple criteria, including the proposed project’s relevance to Extension’s critical issue areas – food, economy, environment, community, and health. The deadline for host applications is January 31, 2020.

Prospective host organizations are encouraged to attend an online information session on Friday, January 10, 11am – 12pm or Tuesday, January 14, 2pm – 3pm. To view the full program requirements or to register for an information session, visit extension.illinois.edu/connection/fellowships.

“Social and environmental issues today are more challenging than ever, but by drawing on scientific research to inform public policy, we can find solutions that work,” said Seiler. “We are actively seeking partners who want to collaborate on these complicated, multifaceted problems.”

Once host locations and needs have been determined, the fellow application period will launch in February for students graduating with masters, doctoral, or J.D. degrees. Assignments are expected to begin in summer 2020.

As part of their experience, fellows will contribute to Illinois Extension projects that align with their fellowship assignments. Fellows will also connect host organizations to the U of I’s public outreach and engagement network that provides educational programs to residents of all 102 Illinois counties.