Academic Programs

Postdoctoral Research Fellows

Postdoctoral Research Fellows

Postdoctoral research fellows are at a very special place in a scientist’s career: transitioning from graduate student to full-fledged autonomous researcher; in charge of a research program but not yet burdened by the chore of grant writing; and in the process of laying out what their career will look like in the near future. The Smalley-Curl Institute sponsors two-year Postdoctoral Research Fellows positions available to exceptional scientists who have recently earned their doctoral degree in any area of science and engineering and who want to pursue their multidisciplinary research at Rice University under the supervision of SCI members. 

Candidates must be nominated and recommended by current SCI faculty to apply. Interested prospective candidates may contact relevant SCI faculty to inquire about potential opportunities and sponsored research projects. A list of current SCI members may be found here.

Named Fellowships

Carl and Lillian Illig Fellowship
Peter M. & Ruth L. Nicholas Postdoctoral Fellowship in Nanotechnology
J. Evans Attwell Welch Postdoctoral Fellowship

Click here to see a list of previous postdoctoral research fellows and where they are now.
Click here to see the current postdoctoral fellows.

Requirements for Nomination

Prospective applicants must have the following:
- Nomination by current SCI faculty member
- Ph.D. in a field related to an SCI focus areas
- Successful Ph.D. thesis defense before start of appointment
- Ph.D. completed no more than three years before the start of the appointment

How to Apply

Note that all materials should be sent to by December 31st.

The nominating SCI faculty member should send an email with an attached pdf letter of recommendation that should explain how the candidate's talents and expertise would be additive to Rice's existing talent pool; what makes them unusual and how this would help the university make additional progress in the fields that the PI is pursuing; and what would make them promising as prospective faculty members (whether at Rice or elsewhere). Note that faculty may submit more than one nomination per application period, if desired.

The email subject line should read "NAME - 2023 SCI postdoc nomination" (where NAME is the name of the nominee). The PDF letter of recommendation should be titled "LAST_FIRST - 2023 nominee LOR 1". 

The above file-naming conventions are requested to better manage application materials. Be sure to send all materials to

The candidate should send an email with their cover letter, CV, and research proposal as a single pdf. Note that the proposal should be no more than 3 pages in length (including figures and references). The email subject line should read "NAME - 2023 SCI postdoc CV" (where NAME is the name of the nominee). The PDF should be titled "LAST_FIRST - 2023 nominee CV".

The candidate should also request an additional letter of recommendation from another faculty member (current or former) who is familiar with the nominee's research and academic work. If possible, the email from the recommending faculty member should have the subject line read "NAME - 2023 SCI postdoc LOR" (where NAME is the name of the nominee). If possible, the PDF letter of recommendation should be titled "LAST_FIRST - 2023 nominee LOR 2".

The above file-naming conventions are requested to better manage application materials. Be sure to send all materials to Decisions are expected to be announced within 6 weeks of the submission deadline.

Postdoctoral Activities & Professional Development at Rice University

At the Smalley-Curl Institute, we contribute to the establishment of the tightly knit intellectual community that characterizes Rice University. To encourage our science and technology postdocs to be a part of this inclusive community, SCI hosts periodic luncheons in which all Rice Science & Engineering postdoctoral associates can participate, get to know each other, and become familiar with each other's work. Rice faculty are also invited to selected luncheons to talk about relevant topics for postdocs. The institute also plans to organize a career development workshop that will address these and related issues in more detail.

For information on our next Postdoctoral Research Associates Luncheon, please see our Events page.

Current postdocs can also search for resources, workshops, and mentoring activities at the Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies and their GPS Postdoc Blog.