FAQ: Miller Fellowship
The FAQ provides answers to recurring questions concerning the fellowship application and the selection process.
Q. Deadline Dates?
For Term: 2017-2020
September 10, 2016: Nominations due online.
October 10, 2016: Applications (including all letters of reference) due online.
Mid-December 2016 - Mid-February 2017: Miller Fellowship awards are offered.
Q. My Ph.D. advisor will be away, so will not able to meet the nomination deadline. Can it be submitted late?
No. All nominations must be received by the deadline of September 10, 2016.
Q. Can I be nominated more than once?
Only one nomination is required to get into the current competition cycle. Once you are nominated any subsequent nominations will be rejected. If you have multiple faculty members wishing to nominate you, ask them to rather serve as a reference.
There is only one competition per year. Should your application be unsuccessful, you may be nominated in another competition year provided you still meet all the eligibility criteria listed in the guidelines.
Q. I have already been working in my host's laboratory for 8 months, am I still eligible to be nominated?
No, if you are already on campus or plan to start on campus between now and the time that an award is made, you are not eligible. The intent of the award is to bring new people to campus, so if you have already found a way here, you are not eligible.
Q. I am a foreign national, am I eligible?
Yes, you are eligible. If you are currently a student or postdoc within the US on F1 status, you may be eligible for F1-OPT or a STEM extension. If you are currently outside of the US, you will be eligible for J1-Scholar status. We do not support H1B status. We will assist with your immigration processing upon award.
Q. Potential Faculty Hosts: I am a potential faculty host for a Miller Fellow applicant. Where can I send my letter of support?
Potential faculty hosts should ask the candidate to include them as a reference. The online system will then send an email inviting the faculty member to upload a letter of support into the candidate's record.
Q. Is it possible to have two host faculty members in two different departments?
Yes, the online application allows you to enter up to three potential host departments and you may name up to two host faculty members in each department. We realize the distinction between departments and hosts listed may be very slight.
Q. Can my potential host support more than one candidate?
A potential host faculty member may support the applications of multiple candidates. While it is not common for a faculty member to ultimately host more than one candidate, it has happened.
Q. The reference I registered will not be able to meet the submission deadline. Can the letter of recommendation be submitted after the deadline?
It is not possible to submit material after the deadline.
Q. Is it possible to change a reference?
Yes, the online system allows applicants to change a reference (or the faculty host) up to the submission deadline.
Q. Can I submit my application before all of my references have uploaded their letters of support?
YES! Once you have completed your part of the application you can submit your file. Letters will be included as they arrive.
Q. I do not have any publications. Am I eligible to apply?
Yes, you can still apply. If you have no publications yet, upload a PDF stating "None".
Q. I updated my PDF File but I'm still seeing the old PDF file when I view it online. Is the new PDF file uploaded?
Make sure you uploaded a PDF formatted file. Make sure you did NOT use Firefox browser to upload the file. Refresh your browser AFTER you open/view the new PDF file in the browser. If these steps do not help, please go to your browser settings and clear your browser cache and try again.
Q. Can I submit my application while still finishing my Ph.D. thesis?
Yes, but you must have obtained your Ph.D. by the time the Miller Fellowship begins.
Q. I took parental leave during my first postdoc, should I list this in my application? The reviewers might think I'm not serious about my research.
It is very important to list any breaks in the "research experience/other activities" section of the application so that the reviewers can take this into consideration when assessing productivity. The review committee will not be biased against applicants who have taken breaks to have and care for children.
Q. What are my chances of success?
The Miller Fellowship is very competitive. The overall success rate averages around was 4-5%. Given budget limitations, only applications that clearly reflect the overall objectives of the Miller Fellowship program and that receive outstanding marks by the reviewers will be funded. The University of California and the Miller Institute are Equal Opportunity Employers.
Q. What criteria are used for selecting Miller Fellowship awardees?
The Miller Institute seeks to discover and encourage individuals of outstanding talent with a keen curiosity about all science. Nominees should have a demonstrated record of outstanding research and a commitment to pursuing basic research. Candidates are judged on their potential.
The ability to describe one's research in a way that can be understood and valued is critical in the competitive selection process. Successful applicants have demonstrated that they have made significant intellectual contributions to the published work (the reference letters should elaborate on this) and have a clear goal for their proposed research.
It is important to show a departure from the applicant's previous research by proposing new ideas or methodologies. Proposing a new approach to a research problem which may make a major contribution to the research field is highly valued.
Q. Who reviews the applications?
All eligible applications are first evaluated by members of the potential host departments. Following receipt of a culled subset of applications, the Miller Institute's Executive Committee reviews all files and makes the final awards. The current members of the Executive Committee are posted at: miller.berkeley.edu/contact
Q. Two of my references never received an email containing the access information to submit letters on my behalf. Why?
First, please check the email addresses you entered in the "Reference" section to verify if they are correct. Another possibility is that the email from the Miller Fellowship application server was sent to a spam filter on the receiving end. Please inform your host and references to check their spam filter for messages with the subject line: "Reference Request for Miller Fellowship Applicant".
Q. Why can't I format the text in the different sections of the online forms?
The Miller Institute uses an online web application which standardizes the formatting of the application for everyone and packages the submitted forms into one PDF document for our review for each applicant.
Q. Do I need to select and contact the potential host department and faculty advisor prior to the nomination and application?
You will be asked to name a potential host and department in the application. It is prudent to contact a potential host to ascertain their interest in hosting you should you be granted an award.
Q. Should the nomination be by the potential host department chair/faculty advisor at Berkeley or can it be by any other institute? If both are acceptable, which one is preferred by the committee?
The nomination should be submitted by whomever can write a compelling letter for you. No preference is given to a Berkeley nominator vs an outside nominator. Others can be named as references in the application process to submit letters of support.
Q. I received my Ph.D. a few years ago, worked for industry for about a year, then started a postdoc position in Canada. Am I qualified for the fellowship? Does my postdoc period count as "substantial postdoctoral training"?
Postdocs cannot have had more than five years of postdoctoral experience, including from other institutions, nor been employed as an assistant professor, associate professor or professor in order to be eligible.
The further away you are from your Ph.D. the less competitive you may be.
Q. I've been a postdoc for 4.5 years already, am I still eligible?
According to the University of California definition, "a postdoc may not have more than five years of postdoctoral experience, including that from other institutions". Therefore, any nominee with less that 1 year remaining in postdoc eligibility will be denied, and may possibly be awarded only a one year fellowship.
Q. I have been working as an Assistant Professor for the past two years. Am I eligible?
No. According to the University of California definition of a postdoc, "the postdoc may not have been employed as an assistant professor, associate professor, or professor."
Q. I received my Ph.D. degree 6 years ago. Am I eligible to apply?
No, you must receive your Ph.D. within 5 years to be eligible.
Q. For the "Publications List" PDF, can manuscripts in review or in prep be included?
Papers in submission or review status can be listed in publications as long as the appropriate status is noted.