Visiting Research Fellowships

2020-2021 Visiting Research Fellowships

Call for applications is closed!
The University of Pennsylvania Libraries is accepting applications for the 2020-2021 Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies (SIMS) Visiting Research Fellowship program. Guided by the vision of its founders, Lawrence J. Schoenberg and Barbara Brizdle Schoenberg, SIMS aims to bring manuscript culture, modern technology, and people together to provide access to and understanding of our shared intellectual heritage. Part of the Penn Libraries, SIMS oversees an extensive collection of premodern manuscripts from around the world, with a special focus on the history of philosophy and science, and creates open-access digital content to support the study of its collections. SIMS also hosts the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts and the annual Schoenberg Symposium on Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age.

The SIMS Visiting Research Fellowships have been established to encourage research relating to the premodern manuscript collections at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, including the Schoenberg Collection. Affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania, located near other manuscript-rich research collections (the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Science History Institute, and the Rosenbach Museum and Library, among many others), and linked to the local and international scholarly communities, SIMS offers fellows a network of resources and opportunities for collaboration. Fellows will be encouraged to interact with SIMS staff, Penn faculty, and other medieval and early modern scholars in the Philadelphia area. Fellows will also be expected to present their research at Penn Libraries either during the term of the fellowship or on a selected date following the completion of the term.

Applicants can apply to spend 1 month (minimum of 4 work weeks) at SIMS between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021.[UPDATE: Due to the Covid19 crisis, fellowships should currently not be planned until after September 1, 2020. This date may also be subject to change.] Project proposals should demonstrate that the Libraries’ premodern manuscript resources are integral to proposed research topics. Three fellowships with a stipend of $5000 each will be awarded this year.

Recipients will be expected to conduct their research at SIMS, with the exception of short research trips in support of the proposed project to nearby institutions. Proposals with a digital component are encouraged though not required.

Fellowships are open to all scholars living outside of the Philadelphia area. Applicants must have completed a Ph.D. or an equivalent professional degree by the time the fellowship begins. Independent scholars with a substantial record of achievement are encouraged to apply. Collaborative projects are welcome, though the $5000/month stipend will be shared among collaborators. Applicants who have not completed a Ph.D. at the time of application must have a letter from their dissertation advisor(s) stating that the degree will be completed prior to the applicant’s proposed dates of the fellowship.

Important Note Regarding Taxation & Visas

This fellowship is subject to U.S. income tax.  Fellows who are U.S. citizens and resident aliens will need to complete a W9:

If you are a non-resident alien in the U.S., tax in an amount of up to 30% may be withheld from your award.  However, if your country has a tax treaty with the United States, you may be eligible for certain tax benefits; for more information, click here. You may also be able to recover the taxes by filing a U.S. tax return.  See: and . Fellows should also consult with a tax professional in their country for further guidance.

Fellows who will be non-resident aliens for the duration of their stay in Philadelphia will be required to obtain a J-1 Visa.

Application Process
To be considered, applicants must submit the following by May 15, 2020:

  • A 2-3 page summary of the project that clearly states a) the relationship of Penn Libraries’ manuscript collections to the project, b) the project’s significance to manuscript studies, and c) a workplan for the duration of the fellowship. The proposal should include name of applicant(s), title of project, preferred dates of the fellowship.
  • A cv.
  • Two letters of support from scholars who can speak to the merits of the project. Letters should address the project’s potential for contributing to the advancement of the understanding of the material and its impact on its related field(s) of study. Letters may be included in the application or sent separately by the referee if preferred.

Applications should be sent by email to, preferably as a single pdf, or by post to:

Lynn Ransom
Curator, SIMS Programs
Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies
University of Pennsylvania Libraries
3420 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104

All application materials must be received by May 15, 2020, to be considered. Notice of awards will be sent by June 1, 2020. Please direct questions regarding the fellowship to the above contact.