SSRI Faculty Fellows Program

The SSRI Faculty Fellows Program at University Park and the College of Medicine supports faculty members in the social and behavioral sciences to develop new interdisciplinary collaborations aimed at building a novel line of sustainable research through securing external funding. (Fellowships for Commonwealth Campus Faculty are available through the Commonwealth Campus Research Collaboration Development Program). Priority will be given to proposals that are congruent with the SSRI’s interdisciplinary mission and its strategic foci:

The Human System: How environments, experiences, and genes affect stress, immune functions, social, cognitive, and affective neural processes, and how these biopsychosocial mechanisms both shape and are shaped by human behavior, health and development.

Social Disparities: Discovery of causes and consequences and development of evidence-based policies and practices for remediating widening gaps in areas such as health and education.

Smart and Connected Health: Health and mental health promotion and disease prevention and treatment using novel methodologies (electronic devices, social media, human-technology hybrids), “big data” analytics, and other innovations for enhancing health and health behavior and optimizing health care and health care delivery.

Innovative Methods: Novel approaches in areas including research design, data collection, security, archiving, and modeling and analysis.

Dissemination and Implementation Science: Study of best methods for translating knowledge into policies, programs, practices, and products that achieve broad and sustained uptake and use toward enhancing human well-being.

Faculty Fellowship Opportunities

  1. Mentored Fellowships provide funding for a faculty member for up to two course releases during an academic year (up to $7,500 per course or the equivalent for those who do not have resident instruction responsibilities) during an academic year for study and training in new research areas with the guidance and support of a mentor or mentor team. The mentor/mentor team will also receive up to $1,000 in summer supplement.
  2. Collaborative Fellowships provide funding for a new team of faculty members for up to three course releases (up to $7,500 per course, and no more than one release per faculty member on the team) to develop a novel, interdisciplinary project.


Penn State faculty members and established research scientists in the social and behavioral sciences at UP and the College of Medicine at all career levels are eligible. The alternate avenue of support for Commonwealth Campus Faculty is the Commonwealth Campus Research Collaboration Development Program, also supported by the SSRI.

Application Process

Applications should first be submitted for approval to the Department Heads of each faculty member who is seeking a course release. Once the Heads’ approval is obtained, the application should be forwarded to the PI’s College Dean. [Collaborative Fellows applications will require that one of the collaborators serve as PI for this purpose.] Each Dean may submit up to two Mentored and three Collaborative Fellows proposals to


  • October 11: Deans forward up to two Mentored and up to three Collaborative Fellowship proposals, along with their own and the Department Head(s) statements of support, to the SSRI (;
  • The SSRI Steering Committee will review proposals at its November meeting;
  • December 13: Faculty members will be notified of funding for the 2021-2022 academic year. Fellows should work directly with their Department Heads to schedule course releases. (As such, requests for course releases for Spring 2020 should only be done with the approval and in close collaboration with the Department Head.)


The application should be no more than three single-spaced pages, not including items 4 and 5 below. Items 1-5 should be saved in a single PDF document for forwarding to the College Dean.

  1. Title of project and names and departments of each proposed Fellow. For Mentored Fellowships, the mentor/mentorship team should also be listed.
  2. Goals for the Faculty Fellowship
    • Describe the research area and its significance.
    • Explain how the Fellowship will play a significant role in advancing the Fellow(s) research program.
  3. Activity Plan
    • Describe the activities that will be undertaken during the Fellowship period, including how these activities will advance the goals of the Fellowship and a timeline for their accomplishment.
    • Describe the role of each Fellow or of the Fellow and Mentor(s) and their qualifications for their roles. For Mentored Fellowships, a training plan should be included.
    • Explain how the Fellowship will lead to a proposal for external funding.
  4. Attach statements of support from Department Head(s) and mentor(s)/Fellow Collaborator(s) other than the PI.
  5. Attach NSF or NIH biosketches of investigators and mentors. (If an NIH biosketch, please use the new version.)

Review Criteria

  • Merits of the proposal, including its innovation, significance and relevance to the SSRI’s interdisciplinary mission and strategic aims
  • Qualifications, commitment, and clarity of roles for the investigator(s) and mentor(s).
  • Clarity, rigor, and feasibility of the work plan.
  • Likelihood of an external proposal resulting from Fellowship.

Progress Reports

Awardees are required to provide a progress report at the end of the funding period, highlighting progress made, tangible outcomes (e.g. papers, presentations), and the plan and timeline for an external grant proposal. Follow-ups will be requested until targeted external funding is secured or the project is closed.