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IEEE-USA Engineering & Diplomacy Fellowship:
U.S. Department of State


"We still have far too few officers with strong science backgrounds, but thanks to the National Academies and others in the scientific community such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Institute of Physics and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a small group of scientific fellows have joined our ranks, and their number will grow. Scientists, volunteers have graciously put their own research on hold, stopped their own work, their own life, to perform tours of duty in many of the State Department's bureaus, and they are making a real difference. And we look forward to welcoming more scientists on to our State Department team, either as fellows or as career Foreign Service Officers or Civil Service Officers."

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell
Remarks to the National Academy

IEEE-USA is seeking IEEE U.S. members who want to spend a year working in Washington as an IEEE-USA Engineering & Diplomacy Fellow, also known as a State Department Fellow. The fellowships run for one year, starting every September 1st.

This fellowship program is designed to raise awareness of the value of STEM input into the public policymaking process, and offers an opportunity for the fellow to provide technical expertise to the U.S. State Department, while learning about and contributing to the foreign policy process.


To be considered for an IEEE-USA Engineering & Diplomacy Fellowship, applicants must submit an application confirming the following basic eligibility requirements:

  • Applicants must be an IEEE Member (which includes those in graduate student membership status) in good standing at the time of application.
  • Prior to beginning the fellowship, applicants must possess a Ph.D., or a Masters Degree plus five (5) years of relevant professional experience. The degree must be granted by a recognized program in a subject field that falls with the science, engineering, computer, or allied disciplines eligible for IEEE membership. In exceptional cases, the Masters or Ph.D. requirement may be waived by the Government Fellowship Committee for candidates with compensating experience. Work experience must consist of relevant professional employment and does not include internships or student-related employment.
  • An applicant must be a U.S. citizen at the time of application or, at the latest, prior to selection.
  • An applicant must possess or be able to obtain a security clearance prior to the beginning of the fellowship.

The Government Fellows Committee considers the following factors when selecting State Department fellows:

-- length of IEEE membership,
-- education,

-- technical competence and professional experience,
-- previous public service/public policy expertise,
-- basic comprehension and understanding of the public policy process,
-- evidence of service to IEEE and the engineering profession,
-- communication skills,
-- demonstrated interest in foreign policy,
-- foreign language proficiencies, and
-- overall suitability for the Fellowship.

A joint IEEE-USA and State Department committee reviews finalists, with the State Department giving final approval of the Fellow selection. The selection committee may establish additional criteria. Specifically excluded as selection criteria are age, sex, creed, race, ethnic background, and partisan political affiliations.

The Fellow does not act as a representative of IEEE-USA during the Fellowship term, and is not considered an employee of IEEE-USA. (See also AAAS Ethics Policy.)


If you wish to apply for an IEEE-USA State Department Fellowship, please apply directly to IEEE-USA, using the application provided on this page.  Do not apply to AAAS for the IEEE-USA Fellowship.

2017-2018 fellowship year is
5pm EST, Friday, 23 DECEMBER 2016.

If selected as a finalist, you will be invited to interview in-person in Washington, DC at IEEE-USA's expense. Finalists must be able to attend in person. Rescheduling the face-to-face interview is not an option.

The interviews for 2017-2018 Fellows are scheduled for: 13-14 February 2017 in Washington, DC.  Interviews are approximately 45 minutes long and applicants need be here for only one of those days. Scheduling will occur at the time of notification of an interview.

If selected for a fellowship, you must spend one week in Washington - at IEEE-USA's expense - in mid-April, participating in the Fellowship placement process coordinated by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Office of the Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State (STAS). In addition to the opportunities provided by the AAAS process, the STAS office will work with you one-on-one and connect you personally with offices that work on topics of interest to you. See the agency’s website to begin researching the agency’s structure and where you might like to work if selected. The Government Fellows Committee will often ask applicants if they've researched the agency and thought about where they may wish to work.

Additionally, prior to beginning a fellowship in September, fellows are enrolled in a mandatory, multi-society, two-week orientation program organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

PLEASE NOTE:  You may apply for more than one of the IEEE-USA fellowships (Congressional, State, USAID) in any one year.  However, you must submit a separate cover letter and separate supporting packages for each type of fellowship.  Each letter must show your understanding of the specific fellowship. IEEE-USA will not accept one application package in which you state you are interested in all three types of fellowships. In applying for the diplomacy fellowship, you must provide a clear understanding of the role of the U.S. Department of State, along with a statement of the areas of the agency’s work that most interests you. You should also identify those areas in the State Department where you feel you would make the most significant contribution.

Please mail your application— electronically —to Diana Librizzi at: d.librizzi at You may also send a hardcopy if you wish, but we must receive your application via e-mail by the 5pm deadline for it to be considered valid.

IEEE-USA Government Fellows
2001 L Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036


IEEE-USA Engineering & Diplomacy Fellows must have a security clearance. Once the Fellow is selected, arrangements must be made immediately with the State Department to obtain a security clearance (if the Fellow does not already have a clearance). A security clearance currently requires a 4-6 month background check.The Fellow will be asked to complete a clearance form, provide contact information, and make various disclosures. For more information, see:

Getting A Security Clearance...In a Nutshell (OPM)
FAQ About OPM Background Investigations (OPM)
Questionnaire for National Security Positions (OPM Form SF 86)


Fellows receive a stipend of either $75,000 (MS with experience) or $65,000 (Post Docs/ PhDs just entering the workforce). The Government Fellows Committee maintains the discretion - based on the applicant's professional experience - to determine which of the two stipend levels an applicant receives.

Payment of the Fellowship stipend is contingent upon the Fellow's receipt of an appropriate security clearance, participation in the AAAS orientation, and reaching agreement with the State Department on a suitable assignment.

IEEE-USA provides an additional supplementary allowance of $5,000 for travel and relocation expenses; this may be incorporated into the stipend if desired.  The Fellows or their employers are responsible for the balance of salaries, benefits (including health insurance), and all other expenses.

When making arrangements to supplement the Fellowship stipend through a continued salary from an employer, applicants must consider potential conflicts of interest.


In an October 1999 report, the National Research Council concluded that, "the Department [of State] needs the capability to understand how technological factors influence political and economic developments." In its 15 May 2000 response, the State Department recognized, "the growing significance of science and technology based issues in foreign policy and is aware that this trend will continue and accelerate. The Department is determined to do what is necessary to respond to this challenge and to meet its responsibilities in this area." 

The State Department Science & Technology Adviser reached out to IEEE-USA and other science and engineering societies for help in building its S&T expertise; the result is the IEEE-USA's Engineering and Diplomacy Fellowship program.

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