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Cornell University Research Excellence Scholars (CURES)

Cornell University Research Excellence Scholars (CURES) are prestigious postdoctoral research positions with significant independence and resources to attract some of the world’s best young scholars to interact deeply with Research Centers within the Research Division on Cornell’s campuses, with an initial pilot with the Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR).

Successful candidates will focus their efforts on research aligned with the center and/or their career goals. Candidates may choose to spend up to 20% of their time on associated efforts such as DEIA, outreach and/or teaching. They will have access to the full range of expertise and considerable resources available at Cornell, and will be encouraged to interact broadly with the Cornell intellectual community, in their postdoctoral research  and to advancing DEIA. Up to two Scholars will be awarded in the first year; one position has been filled. 


Recent PhD graduates who contribute to Cornell’s core value of improving diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEIA) who have research interests aligned with participating Cornell Centers are eligible for this program. 

  • Candidates should be no more than three years past the award date of their doctoral degree on the date of the application deadline. Exceptions may be made for career-life balance considerations.
  • Appointments are for up to two years, dependent on a positive annual evaluation.
  • The stipend for appointments in the 2023-2024 year will be $63,000 plus full Cornell University endowed employee fringe benefits. Each Scholar also will be provided $5,000 annually for discretionary research and associated expenses including travel. Relocation expenses up to $3,000 will be included. 
  • An extension beyond two years may be made with the support of the center. 

For an application to receive full review, candidates are required to have two sponsors from the faculty members of participating centers. Interested individuals can contact any participating center faculty member(s), i.e. research, assistant, associate or full professor, who, if agreeable to serve as the lead sponsor(s), will endorse the candidate’s application.

A research professor or tenure track assistant professor may serve as a primary sponsor only if a tenured professor serves as secondary sponsor. Cornell faculty may only sponsor one postdoctoral candidate application (as primary sponsor). Sponsorship by a faculty member requires confirmation from a center director of a shared commitment to fund the postdoc by the affiliated center. 

Applications will be judged on the qualifications of the candidate, including the strength of their statement describing their contributions to promoting core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion, their ability to be an ambassador for Cornell University, and the quality and originality of the proposed research and its potential impact. Review and ranking of applications will be performed by a representative faculty committee, and decisions are expected on a rolling basis.

How to Apply

Interested individuals can contact any center member(s) who is agreeable to serve as the sponsor(s), to request sponsorship and the required letter of recommendation. During this pilot, the Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR) will participate.

It is recommended the Cornell faculty members be contacted well in advance of the deadline, as faculty may receive multiple requests to sponsor applicants.

Applications will be submitted using the online submission portal

Application Materials

  1. Candidate CV (4 page max.), including publication list and date of PhD graduation, and listing the PhD advisors name. If not yet graduated, please note the estimated date for graduation. Applicants graduating before Sept. 1, 2019 will not be considered (without an exception request). An exception request (1 page max.) may be made if the candidate is more than three years past the award date of their doctoral degree by the application deadline. Career-life balance reasons such as childcare or eldercare will be considered.
  2. A description of proposed research (2 page max.) that should include a clear statement of objectives and of the significance and expected impact of the proposed research if successful. This page limit includes figures, citations, references, tables etc. Font size should be no smaller than 11 pt. Applications exceeding this limit will be rejected without review. 
  3. A statement on diversity, equity, inclusion and access (3 page max.), that outlines your experiences, scholarship, and commitment with DEIA. Those experiences can include, but are not limited to the following: experience living and meaningfully interacting with individuals with a variety of identities; and professional development or other training in diversity, equity and inclusion. For other examples, see If your experiences are different from those listed and you have a commitment to DEIA, please explain how you will manifest that commitment in this postdoctoral position.
  4. Two letters of recommendation (2 page max. for each letter), including one that must be from the candidate’s PhD thesis advisor, which provide detailed assessments of the candidate’s qualifications and potential for innovative, ground-breaking independent research. Recommendation letter authors, please submit the letter directly to as a PDF file, with the file name ApplicantLastName, ApplicantFirstName-CURES2022.  
  5. Two letters of support from Cornell faculty sponsors (one lead and one secondary) from the participating center (2 page max. for each letter), including a brief statement of any financial and logistical support of the proposed research that will be provided by the faculty sponsors. These letters are critical and will be taken into careful consideration by the review committee. Sponsor letters should be included in the submitted package

No other letters should be included.


Application materials should be submitted by the postdoctoral applicant to the online application portal.

Deadline for all materials: The first of each month at 5 p.m. until all positions are filled. Late applications will be considered at the next deadline. 

A preference may be given to U.S. citizens, nationals, and permanent residents. Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University's heritage. We are a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities. We also recognize a lawful preference in employment practices for Native Americans living on or near Indian reservations.

If you have other questions or comments, please contact:

Cornell University Research Excellence Scholars (CURES)
Office of Sponsored Programs
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14850


This material is partially based on work supported by the National Science Foundation, while working at the Foundation. Any opinion, finding, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material; are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.