The 51 Pegasi b Fellowship provides exceptional postdoctoral scientists with the opportunity to conduct theoretical, observational, and experimental research in planetary astronomy.

Established in 2017, The Heising-Simons Foundation 51 Pegasi b Fellowship is named for the first exoplanet discovered orbiting a Sun-like star. The growing field of planetary astronomy studies celestial objects both within and beyond our solar system, bridging planetary science and astronomy. From accelerating understanding of planetary system formation and evolution, to advancing new technologies for detecting Earth-like worlds, 51 Pegasi b Fellows make unique contributions to the field.

2019 Fellowship applications open August 6, 2018. You may access the application guidelines here.




Update on the Search for Planets with TESS
Research highlights from the journals of the American Society  February 1, 2019


Why did you create the 51 Pegasi b Fellowship?

Planetary astronomy is a growing field attracting many young creative scientists. By supporting postdoctoral researchers, we hope to enhance and accelerate scientific progress, including the discovery of exoplanets, the characterization of exoplanets in habitable zones, and the understanding of our solar system’s formation and evolution.

What do you hope to achieve through the fellowship program?

We hope to create a community among these talented fellows, enabling them to exchange and elevate ideas, gain access to other senior leaders in the field, and advance their careers.

Who is eligible to apply?

Applicants can come from any academic institution or research lab, both nationally and internationally. Applicants are not required to have US citizenship; however, all visa and work permit paperwork is the responsibility of the fellow and host institution. Applicants must have received a doctoral degree in astronomy, physics, earth and planetary sciences, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, or a related discipline. Doctoral degrees must be awarded after August 31, 2009 and before August 31, 2019.

The Heising-Simons Foundation is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Thus, we particularly welcome applications from individuals who belong to groups that have been historically underrepresented in planetary sciences and astronomy such as women, persons with disabilities, racial and ethnic minorities, gender and sexual minorities, and others who may contribute to diversification of the field.

How can I apply for the fellowship?

An online application form must be completed if you wish to be considered for the fellowship. Guidelines and the online application form can be found here.

Do the fellowships support research related only to exoplanets, or is more general planetary astronomy research permitted?

The fellowship supports research that broadly fits within the field of planetary astronomy, which also includes general solar system formation and evolution, and planetary atmospheres.

How and when are decisions made?

Completed applications are reviewed by the host institutions, expert review panel, and by the Foundation’s Science program staff. Recipients of the fellowship will be notified in February. The corresponding department chair and faculty sponsor for each fellow are also personally notified.

How many fellowships will you award this year?

The Foundation anticipates awarding six to eight fellowships this year, based on the quality of submissions.

Does the Foundation make other grants or support other programs in astronomy?

Yes, the Foundation’s Science program funds general astronomy to enhance and accelerate new scientific discoveries that illuminate basic understanding of the universe and its celestial objects and processes. This includes grants that support the development of instruments that enhance research.

More Information

The 51 Pegasi b Fellowship provides:

  • Up to $375,000 of support for independent research over three years.
  • Time and space to establish distinction and leadership in the field.
  • Mentorship by an established faculty member at the host institution.
  • An annual summit to develop professional networks, exchange information and ideas, and foster collaboration.
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