Mistletoe Research Fellowship

The Mistletoe Research Fellowship fosters the development of new competencies in postdoctoral scholars and Ph.D. candidates by offering unrestricted research funding and professional development training, including entrepreneurial collaboration. All Mistletoe Fellows participate in two programs designed to build skills that will help fellows to succeed and work more effectively with outside collaborators, whether they seek industry careers or remain in academia. 

Fellows are expected to attend a three-day summer “Match Workshop” in which they are onboarded and introduced to startups, mentors, investors, and community partners. Once the academic year begins, the Startup Collaboration takes place using our Online Learning Community. 

The Mistletoe Foundation will award up to 36 competitive fellowship opportunities to postdoctoral scholars and advanced Ph.D. candidates from a small cohort of R1 partner universities. Postdoctoral participants must remain in full-time appointments throughout the 2019-20 academic calendar year; doctoral candidates should be “all but dissertation” (ABD) and in full-time status with stipend support for the duration of the 2019-20 academic year. 


  • Mistletoe Research Fellowships are open to full-time postdoctoral fellows and advanced Ph.D. candidates in most STEM fields and some fields of social science. These broadly include: Engineering, Life Sciences, Health Science, Computer Science, Environmental Studies / Ecology / Earth Sciences, Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Statistics / Data Science / Informatics, and Experimental Psychology.
  • If you are unsure as to whether your field is classified under a broad area, please refer to the FAQ on the Mistletoe website. If your field is not included, please note that Mistletoe hopes to expand the program in the next few years. 
  • Citizens and non-citizen permanent and temporary residents of the U.S. are eligible to apply. Candidates who are temporary U.S. residents must hold a valid U.S. visa (J-1, H1B, F-1, O-1). Please note that if accepted into the program, Mistletoe will ask for documentation of visa status. Your visa status must allow you to remain in the U.S. for the duration of the 2019-20 academic year.

​Award Types 

  • The Unfettered Research Grant provides fellowship recipients with $10,000 of unrestricted research funding that can be applied to any university-approved research-related activity, including conference travel. 
  • The Startup Collaboration is an extracurricular professional training program in which Fellows form interdisciplinary teams and learn to apply their scholarship and expertise to help frontier startups to further the development of products with high social impact potential. 

Application Process 

  • For Postdoctoral Fellow Applicants: If accepted into the program, the Foundation will require proof of full-time employment for the duration of the 2019-20 academic year.
  • For Ph.D. Candidates:  Although this fellowship is primarily directed at postdocs, it is open to full-time enrolled Ph.D. candidates in ABD status, meaning all coursework is completed and a dissertation proposal has been approved. Full-time enrollment must be maintained for the duration of the 2019-20 academic year.
  • Applications are submitted through the Mistletoe Foundation application portal. All applicants will be required to complete an eligibility screener; if eligibility criteria are met, applicants will be automatically directed to the application form.
  • Application checklist includes: 
    • ​Names and email addresses for the two faculty members who will provide letters of recommendation. *Please note that letters of should come from academics who have worked with you in a supervisory role, e.g., PIs, mentors, senior co-authors, project collaborators, or course instructors. External letters from non-GU faculty are permitted, as long as they are scholars/researchers who have supervised your research/work.
    • A current copy of your CV in PDF format.
    • A statement of research, up to 600 words, single spaced, 12pt font, in PDF format. This is a condensed version of what you may have prepared/would prepare for the academic job market.
    •  If you are applying as an advanced Ph.D. candidate, provide the name and email address of your Ph.D. advisor. Your advisor will confirm online that you have completed a dissertation proposal and that you have permission to participate in the program.


  • April 29, 2019, 11:59pm Pacific Time
  • First week of June: Applicants are notified by email of decisions made by the Mistletoe Foundation’s Selection Committee.
  • Late July – August: Mistletoe fellowship recipients are given travel support and accommodation to attend a three-day Match Workshop at which they will be onboarded into the program, form teams, be matched with a startup, and meet community mentors.
  • September: Collaborations begin and grant funds are released for spending.​

For questions regarding your eligibility or application please contact Nellie Gaynor with subject heading: [last name] Georgetown MRF Application.

2018-19 Mistletoe Foundation Fellows

Alana Lelo, Ph.D. candidate in Tumor Biology. Mentor: Todd Waldmann, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Oncology (WaldmanLab)

Max Kushner, Ph.D. candidate in Tumor Biology. Mentor: Anna Riegel, Ph.D., Tumor Biology Program; Center for the Study of Sex Differences in Health, Aging & Disease (CSE)