Graphic representation of 4 people putting the last piece of a puzzle together.
Science and Technology Fellows use their diverse backgrounds and experiences to help USAID achieve our mission, improve our operations, and increase our impact.

USAID hosts several fellowship programs that are characterized by their commitment to the use of science, technology, and innovation across USAID’s sectors. Fellows bring diverse technical backgrounds to USAID, including life sciences, physical sciences, social sciences, mathematics, engineering, public health, and medicine.

These science and technology fellowship programs offer USAID the opportunity to source staff with up-to-date technical knowledge and a desire to apply scientific thinking to international development. Fellows apply analytic rigor to our programs and policies, increase adaptive management and the use of evidence in our programs, support program management and policy implementation, and apply diverse backgrounds to new approaches. Fellows gain firsthand experience and contribute to  solving the most challenging and critical development issues of our time. 

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellowship

USAID is a long-time host of the AAAS Science & Technology (S&T) Policy Fellowship, which offers Ph.D. scientists and engineers an opportunity to work in Congress and in federal agencies on policy issues. Fellows are placed in Washington, D.C. for one year with the option to extend for a second. At USAID, Fellows bring a thirst for understanding the challenges facing development and apply their expertise across boundaries to develop solutions.

USAID also offers the overseas AAAS Fellowship program, which provides Alumni AAAS S&T Policy Fellows a chance to work an additional two years in a USAID Mission. This opportunity allows Fellows to bring their scientific and technical expertise, as well as their experience from Washington, D.C., to work in the field.

Former  AAAS S&T Policy Fellows at USAID have:

  • Led a major research effort focused on using machine learning and artificial intelligence for international development;
  • Coordinated with the Department of State to develop the first-ever U.S. Government Global Water Strategy;
  • Created sustainable delivery pathways for technologies to reach small holder farmers in development settings;
  • Advised on Infection Prevention and Control activities during the 2014 West Africa Ebola Outbreak, which were adopted by local governments and the World Health Organization;
  • Engaged with the private sector to reduce deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions in the cocoa industry; and
  • Utilized geographic data to increase collaboration across sectors to promote holistic approach to development.

For more information, visit:

A woman using a groundnut processor is surrounded by a group of women and men.
Karelyn Cruz-Martinez (2011-13 AAAS Fellow and AAAS Overseas Fellow at USAID) tries her hand at processing groundnuts at Feed the Future programs in Zambia.
Karelyn Cruz-Martinez

Jefferson Science Fellowship

In partnership with the U.S. State Department, USAID hosts the Jefferson Science Fellowship, which places tenured faculty from U.S. higher education institutions to serve as advisors to the State Department or USAID for a one year fellowship.

Former Jefferson Science Fellows at USAID have :

  • Provided in-depth consultation and training on Climate Risk Management, used by over 20 USAID Missions while revising their Country or Regional Development Cooperation Strategies;
  • Worked with a foundation to assess and implement molecular surveillance testing for drug resistance in parasites that cause malaria;
  • Utilized technical expertise to help increase regional energy security through new technology deployment, policy and regulatory reform, energy efficiency and energy financing
  • Provided critical guidance to the USAID Administrator in the days immediately following the 2011 earthquake in Haiti on seismological trends, and
  • Designed and launched a pilot project to demonstrate the use of energy management software in the industrial sector in the Western Balkans. 

For more information, visit:

A woman and two men writing notes on a board.

IEEE-USA Engineering & International Development Fellowship

IEEE-USA and USAID created the Engineering & International Development Fellows program to provide a resource of relevant scientific and technical expertise to USAID, from IEEE members. The intent is to facilitate the sharing of experience, to broaden the perspectives of both the science and technology professional and governmental communities, and to promote interactions that promote mutual learning. Fellows are placed in Washington, D.C. for this one year fellowship.   

IEEE-USA is an organizational unit of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE) created in 1973 to support the career and the public policy interests of IEEE’s U.S. members. 

Former IEEE-USA Fellows at USAID have:

  • Participated in the planning and design to support compliance with USAID’s Open Data Policy; 
  • Prepared briefing materials for USAID’s Senior Science Advisor in advance of site visits to implementing partners’ project sites; and 
  • Managed a portfolio of regional research grants, supporting scientific research and partnership across South Asia.

For more information, visit:

Three people wearing scuba gear in a pool
The science and technology fellowships are opportunities for participants to gain a new and different perspective on policy work. Just as important as the technical and policy work is building relationships. Interpersonal skills and cultural appreciation assist fellows in building trust, thereby enhancing outcomes.
USAID Indonesia

Embassy Science Fellowship

The U.S. Department of State’s Embassy Science Fellows (ESF) program leverages the expertise of U.S. government scientists to build relationships and partnerships that advance American foreign policy and scientific priorities, further our understanding of worldwide science trends, promote U.S. scientific norms, and advance American foreign policy interests.

Scientists and engineers from U.S. government technical agencies provide expertise at Embassies and USAID Missions for up to three months. 

Since 2001, more than 550 Embassy Science fellows  from the federal government have lent their expertise to projects in Embassies and Missions around the world.

Opportunities are advertised within eligible Federal Government Agencies annually. USAID Missions may host ESFs in partnership with the Embassy, and USAID staff are eligible to serve as ESFs. 

Past USAID ESFs have:

  • Led a collaborative sustainability initiative between the U.S. Embassy of Thailand and the Phuket Hotels Association with the aim of reducing single-use plastics in their 65 associated hotels;
  • Focused on the ethical implications of artificial intelligence (AI) at the Embassy to the Holy See, a topic which was a rising interest among the Pope and other Vatican officials;
  • Consulted with stakeholder entities documenting the opportunities and challenges associated with advancing wastewater collection, treatment, and reuse in the West Bank; and 
  • Researched urbanization and climate impacts on Lagos State in Nigeria to create a set of recommendations for the Lagos State Government and inform the U.S. Consulate’s engagement in Lagos around resilience. 
Woman crouched next to a tortoise on a field of vegetation.
Embassy Science Fellow Lily Sweikert with a tortoise on the Galápagos Islands. The Embassy Science Fellowship Program matches U.S. Government scientists and engineers with a U.S. Embassy or USAID Mission’s need for expertise and assistance in a variety of technical fields.
Lily Sweikert