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The Byrd Postdoctoral Scholarship

The last Byrd Postdoctoral Scholarship application process was completed January 13, 2023.

The next application cycle will be announced.


The Byrd Postdoctoral Research Scholarship was established through a major gift from the Byrd Foundation in memory of Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd and Marie Ames Byrd. This program provides scholarships at The Ohio State University for postdoctoral researchers with superior academic backgrounds who are pursuing advanced research on topics relevant to polar and alpine environments as well as global climate change. The appointment is for 18 months. Postdoctoral scholars must have received their PhD within three years of selection. Except for fieldwork and other scholarship related research activities that require absence from campus, Byrd Scholars are expected to be in residence at the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center during the tenure of their scholarship.

Qualifications and Application Instructions


Postdoctoral Scholars must have received their PhD within three years of selection, not hold a tenured/permanent position elsewhere, and are expected to be in residence at the Byrd Center during the tenure of their scholarship. Applications can be submitted prior to completion of the applicant’s doctoral program, but the PhD must be received prior to starting the postdoctoral scholar position. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, special consideration will be given to external (non-OSU) candidates. Further, the Byrd Center is committed to increasing the diversity of the center and STEM fields more broadly and, thus, people of color, women and members from other underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply. 

Application Instructions

Applicants should contact specific members of the Byrd Center prior to submitting their application to discuss possible projects and determine how their proposed research will complement existing programs. This scholarship is limited to research of mutual interest to both the scholar and his/her Byrd Center mentor.  Postdoctoral awards will be for 18 months. A competitive stipend and a research and travel allowance will be provided. 

The applicant must email the following three items (statement, proposal and CV), in a single pdf file attachment, to Michele Cook at Byrd-Fellow@osu.edu:

  • Statement of general research interests (1 page), which includes:
    • Brief overview of past research and its broader impacts
    • Reasons for applying to Byrd Scholarship Program
  • Research Proposal (up to five pages) of the specific research project to be conducted during the term of the internship, which includes:
    • Clear description of rationale and objectives for the research and its broader impacts
    • Expected outcomes and how success will be determined
    • Description of methods to be developed and/or applied
    • Work plan including project milestones
    • Budget indicating sources of funding
  • Curriculum Vitae

In addition, the applicant must email a Mentoring Plan to Byrd-Fellow@osu.edu. This plan is to be completed with the prospective mentor(s), laying out expectations for both the applicant and the mentor(s), including regular meetings, planned training and career development opportunities, collaborations in the authoring of presentations, papers and grant proposals.

Finally, 4 letters of reference/support (three letters of reference and one letter of support from the Byrd Center mentor). These letters should be sent directly from the writers to Byrd-Fellow@osu.edu.

All application materials must be received by date to be announced. Selection of scholarship recipients will be made by date to be announced

Scholarship appointments may start on the first day of any month between dates to be announced.

The Ohio State University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. Qualified women, minorities, Vietnam-era Veterans, disabled Veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. Successful completion of a background check is required for all final candidates.

Please email Michele Cook (cook.942@osu.edu) with questions. 

This scholarship information was updated on March 29, 2023.

History of the Program

In 1985, the Institute of Polar Studies, with the support of The Ohio State University Administration, submitted a proposal to the Estate of Marie Ames Byrd, the widow of Admiral Richard E. Byrd, to obtain the expeditionary records, personal papers and memorabilia of the Admiral. The proposal was successful and The Ohio State University purchased the collection. Several donations and purchases of Byrd material followed, including unbound scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, photo albums and several medals, private letters and motion pictures. In 1990, the last batch of Byrd material was picked up in Boston and delivered to OSU.

Much credit should be given to Peter J. Anderson, then the assistant director of the Institute, for the acquisition of these collections. Mr. Anderson is a Byrd historian and polar history scholar. The executor of the estate initially contacted Mr. Anderson to inquire about the Institute's interest in acquiring the Byrd collection when it became available for purchase. Mr. Anderson and Dr. David H. Elliot, then the director of the Institute, crafted the proposal that was submitted to the estate of Admiral Byrd's widow.

Following the University's purchase of the Byrd collection in 1985, the Byrd Foundation was formally being dissolved. The Byrd family agreed to donate the monetary assets of the Foundation to the Institute for the establishment of an endowment: The Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn and Marie Ames Byrd Fund, known as the Byrd Fellowship Program. This fund was officially approved by the University's Board of Trustees on December 6, 1985. The purpose of the program is to provide scholarship at The Ohio State University to men and women of superior academic backgrounds who are pursuing advanced research on topics relevant to the Polar Regions and/or polar and alpine environments. Postdoctoral fellows must have received their PhD degree within five years of selection. Except for fieldwork or other research activities requiring absence from campus, Byrd Fellows are expected to be in residence at The Ohio State University during the tenure of their scholarship.

On January 21, 1987, the name of the Institute was officially changed to the Byrd Polar Research Center as a permanent tribute to the explorer. The name was subsequently changed to the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center in Autumn 2014 to capture the expanding mission of the center.

List of Past Byrd Scholars