NCEAS Senior Fellows Program

Program Scope

Senior Fellow at WorkNCEAS Senior Fellows are resident scholars who make NCEAS their home base and have a sustained interest in working on one or more of the themes of the NCEAS mission:

  • Synthetic research
  • Science communication and training
  • Science/policy interface
  • Informatics/Data Science

Senior Fellows typically operate as independent P.I.’s who may also play roles in collaborative initiatives housed at NCEAS or elsewhere (e.g., DataONE, the LTER National Communication Office or the Ocean Tipping Points project). Senior Fellows may or may not have other affiliations and titles at UC Santa Barbara, other universities or non-academic entities. Our Senior Fellows have diverse, often creative, career paths, and may include a career focus on science facilitation, history or philosophy of science, policy, communications or journalism.

NCEAS Senior Fellows are expected to be in residence a majority of the time with a 2+ year commitment to residence. A separate Visiting Fellows program is suited to short-term rental of office space (less than one year). Check out the bios of our current NCEAS Senior Fellows.


In addition to expanding the breadth of NCEAS’s in-house productivity and expertise, Senior Fellows fill a unique role at NCEAS as informal mentors available to post-docs and other early career researchers. They may participate in ad-hoc trainings on topics in science, communications, informatics and career advancement in academia. Senior Fellows support our seminar series by bringing in speakers and speaking on their own work at least once annually. Senior Fellows meet regularly as a group to explore topics of shared interest.

Often, the integration of Senior Fellows with the broader NCEAS community results in new synergies that align with the broader mission of NCEAS. For example, Stacy Rebich Hespanha is currently working to develop tools to enable more efficient scientific data discovery; Jai Ranganathan initiated a science communication and crowdfunding platform (SciFund Challenge) in collaboration with NCEAS postdoctoral fellows; Carrie Kappel works as a facilitator for NCEAS and SNAPP working groups; Amber Budden supports training and outreach across informatics programs (DataONE, Arctic Data Center); and Nancy Baron periodically holds trainings for NCEAS scholars on science communication with the media.


NCEAS’s steady stream of visiting scientists, post-doctoral fellows, working groups, trainings and seminars make for a rich and vibrant work environment with great networking potential and exposure to the cutting edge of ecology and environmental science. Residence at NCEAS provides opportunities for informally sitting in on working groups of interest, participating in various study groups, trainings and side-collaborations going on at NCEAS. Visits to UCSB main campus are made easy by a direct city bus line (24x) and options for accessing free on-campus parking and shared on-campus office or meeting space. Library privileges can be arranged.

Last but not least, NCEAS’s in-house expertise on analytics, programming and informatics is available to provide Senior Fellows with both casual guidance and more involved, formal project-funded support. The NCEAS grants office is available to facilitate grant submission through NCEAS (with off-campus overhead rates where applicable), and Senior Fellows also benefit from the NCEAS computing and administrative support teams.

Senior Fellow at work


Residents cover rental of office space, which is available to Senior Fellows as half (shared) or full (solo) office space. Our administrative staff works with each Senior Fellow to design a structure for rent payment that maximizes continuity and flexibility of funds. For periods of time when residence is sporadic, an alternative office arrangement may be available.

Those interested in becoming a Senior Fellow should send a C.V. and cover letter that briefly describes:

  • Motivation for residence at NCEAS
  • Area(s) of expertise
  • Goals for your work at NCEAS over a 2+ year horizon
  • Current or anticipated funding sources
  • How you envision benefiting and contributing to the NCEAS community

Applications are evaluated based on fit of the proposed work with the NCEAS mission, the candidate’s record of excellence, and space availability. Continuation in the Senior Fellows program is evaluated bi-annually to re-assess a Senior Fellow’s goals and plans, and may include a presentation of recent work at a mini-symposium open to the public.