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Thomas Jefferson Fund

The Thomas Jefferson Fund provides a unique framework to enable promising and innovative projects to reach their full potential and enrich French-American research collaborations.

The Thomas Jefferson Fund issues a yearly call for proposals and fund projects led by two outstanding young American and French researchers at the beginning of their careers, with mid- to long- term positions at a research or higher education institution in the United States or in France (post-doctorate level, assistant or associate professor, maître de conférences or chargé de recherche).

The Fund aims to encourage cutting-edge, multidisciplinary research projects of the highest quality and especially seeks to support emerging collaborations involving a team of younger researchers.

Grants will be awarded per funding cycle in each of the following fields:

• Humanities and Social Sciences (SSH)
• Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
• Sciences for Society (interdisciplinary STEM-SSH projects)

Each grant will amount to $20,000 over two years to be split equally between the French and the American teams. Co-financing from the researchers’ universities is encouraged to ensure the sustainability of these research partnerships.

These funds will support transatlantic mobility of researchers, collaborative research activities, the organization of international workshops or conferences, and the publication of joint articles.

The Thomas Jefferson Fund seeks out cutting-edge projects of great originality where an initial investment can make a substantial difference by putting American and French partners at the forefront of a new area of inquiry. The two-year terms of the Thomas Jefferson Fund grants will provide the stable platform and confidence that projects on the cusp of taking off require. This investment in early-stage projects and in engaging talented young scholars from diverse backgrounds working at the frontiers of knowledge will jumpstart innovative initiatives and facilitate the emergence of a new generation of international leaders.

Eligible beneficiaries

The Fund considers projects jointly submitted by two scientists at the beginning of their careers, including notably:

  • On the American side, researchers at the post-doctorate level, assistant or associate professors at a university in the United States are eligible.
  • On the French side, researchers at the post-doctorate level, maîtres de conferences and chargés de recherche at a French institution of higher education and research are eligible.

US or French citizenship is not required. Applicants must provide proof that they are employed at either the US or French institution for at least the duration of the partnership, i.e. 2 years.

Senior researchers may be included as team members but not as project leaders.

PhD candidates are not eligible as project leaders.

An additional partner institution may be added to the project proposal, but this additional partner will not receive any funding from the Thomas Jefferson Fund. Only the research or higher education institutions of the project leaders will receive funding.


Selected projects will receive a funding up to $20,000, to be shared equally between the French and the American partners over 2 years.

All award funds will be wired in U.S. dollars to the grantees’ institutions, and will be managed by the appropriate financial manager.

The grant will be allocated in one instalment to both partners to be used over the two-year grant period.

Eligible costs

The funds are to be used specifically to support the research partnership submitted to the Thomas Jefferson Fund. The grant will cover:

  • Travel expenses between France and the US
  • Accommodation costs and living expenses in the partner countries
  • Organizational costs of joint conferences (logistics, meals, venue rental...)
  • Publications costs
  • Dissemination costs

The total cost of other expenses should not exceed 40% of the total grant for both partners: $8,000

Partner researchers are encouraged to obtain « in kind » and/or « in cash » co-funding from their institutions or other sources of funding to cover all other types of expenses necessary to the successful implementation of the joint research project.

No grants are allocated to individuals, but only to institutions.

No general overhead or administrative costs can be covered by the Thomas Jefferson Fund grant.

The Fund does not pay for release time for faculty.

Grants cannot be used to purchase equipment.

The Fund cannot be used to pay salaries or stipends, or to cover everyday living expenses that would be incurred regardless of the project. It may be used for living expenses necessary for project-related travel.


The complete application should be sent by one of the partners to:

Project proposals are to be submitted by February 24, 2020.

Indicative Calendar:

  • Selection of 2020 grantees: Expected in June 2020

  • Estimated official announcement of the 2020 grantees: June 2020

  • Estimated launch of the selected projects (contracts): July 2020

  • Estimated launch of the activities: October 2020

Application date
2 years
America : United States (Great Lakes) (Mid-Atlantic) (Mid-West / Plains) (New England) (Pacific) (Rocky Mountain) (South East) (South West)
Europe : France (North-East) (North-West) (Paris Île-de-France) (South-East) (South-West)
Social sciences
Required post-doc experience
Between 0 and 9 years
Award granted
US$ 20.000