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A fellow is a broad concept whose exact meaning depends on context. In
learned Learning is the process of acquiring new understanding, knowledge, behaviors, skills, value (personal and cultural), values, attitudes, and preferences. The ability to learn is possessed by Human, humans, Animal, animals, and some machine learni ...
or
professional A professional is a member of a profession A Profession is a disciplined group of individuals who adhere to ethical standards and who hold themselves out as, and are accepted by the public as possessing special knowledge and skills in a wid ...
societies, it refers to a privileged member who is specially elected in recognition of their work and achievements. Within the context of higher educational institutions, a fellow can be a member of a highly-ranked group of teachers at a particular college or university or a member of the governing body in some universities (such as the Fellows of Harvard College); it can also be a specially selected postgraduate student who has been appointed to a post (called a fellowship) granting a stipend, research facilities and other privileges for a fixed period (usually one year or more) in order to undertake some advanced study or research, often in return for teaching services. In the context of research and development-intensive large companies or corporations, the title "fellow" is sometimes given to a small number of senior scientists and engineers. In the context of medical education in North America, a fellow is a physician who is undergoing a supervised, sub-specialty medical training (fellowship) after having completed a specialty training program (residency).


Education and academia

In education and academia there are several kinds of fellowships, awarded for different reasons.


Teaching fellowships

The title of (senior) teaching fellow is used to denote an academic teaching position at a university or similar institution and is roughly equivalent to the title of (senior)
lecturer Lecturer is an academic rank Academic rank (also scientific rank) is the rank of a scientist or teacher in a college, high school, university or research establishment. The academic ranks indicate relative importance and power of individua ...

lecturer
. The title ''(senior) fellow'' can also be bestowed to an academic member of staff upon retirement who continues to be affiliated to a university in the United Kingdom. The term teaching fellow or
teaching assistant Image:US_Navy_061026-N-5271J-014_Jennifer_Tonder_(right),_a_teacher's_aide_for_a_3rd-4th_grade_multi-age_class,_discusses_the_various_books_available_from_the_Reading_Is_Fundamental_(RIF)_grant_given_to_Sasebo_Elementary_School_with.jpg, 300px, A t ...
is used, in the United States and United Kingdom, in secondary school, high school and middle school setting for students or adults that assist a teacher with one or more classes.


Medical fellowships

In US medical institutions, a fellow refers to someone who has completed residency training (e.g. in internal medicine, pediatrics, general surgery, etc.) and is currently in a 1 to 3 year subspecialty training program (e.g. cardiology, pediatric nephrology, transplant surgery, etc.).


Research fellowships


As an academic position

The title of research fellow may be used to denote an
academic position Academic personnel, also known as faculty member or member of the faculty (in North American usage) or academics or academic staff (in British, Australia, and New Zealand usage), are vague terms that describe teaching or research staff of a univers ...
at a university or a similar institution; it is roughly equivalent to the title of
lecturer Lecturer is an academic rank Academic rank (also scientific rank) is the rank of a scientist or teacher in a college, high school, university or research establishment. The academic ranks indicate relative importance and power of individua ...

lecturer
in the teaching career pathway.


As a financial grant

Research fellow may also refer to the recipient of academic financial grant or
scholarship A scholarship is an award of financial aid Student financial aid in the United States is funding that is available exclusively to students attending a Higher education in the United States, post-secondary educational institution in the Unite ...

scholarship
. For example, in Germany, institutions such as the
Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Alexander is a male given name. The most prominent bearer of the name is Alexander the Great, the king of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia (ancient kingdom), Macedonia who created one of the largest empires in ancient history. Etymology Th ...
offer research fellowship for postdoctoral research and refer to the holder as research fellows, while the award holder may formally hold a specific academic title at their home institution (e.g., ''
Privatdozent ''Privatdozent'' (for men) or ''Privatdozentin'' (for women), abbreviated PD, P.D. or Priv.-Doz., is an academic title conferred at some European universities, especially in German-speaking countries, to someone who holds certain formal qualific ...
''). These are often shortened to the name of the programme or organization, e.g.
Dorothy Hodgkin Dorothy Mary Crowfoot Hodgkin (née Crowfoot; 12 May 1910 – 29 July 1994) was a Nobel Prize The Nobel Prizes ( ; sv, Nobelpriset ; no, Nobelprisen ) are five separate prizes that, according to Alfred Nobel Alfred Bernhard No ...
Fellow rather than Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow, except where this might cause confusion with another fellowship, (e.g.
Royal Society University Research Fellowship __NOTOC__ The Royal Society University Research Fellowship (URF) is a research fellow A research fellow is an academic research Research is "creativity, creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It invo ...
.) In the context of
graduate school File:CCMDonation49.JPG, Student receives degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, Mexico City, 2013 A graduate school (sometimes shortened to grad school) is a school that awards advanced academic degrees (e.g., ma ...
in the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
and
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...

Canada
, a fellow is a recipient of a
postgraduate Postgraduate education (graduate education in North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, u ...
fellowship. Examples include the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, the DoD National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship , the
Guggenheim Fellowship Guggenheim Fellowships are grants Grant or Grants may refer to: Places *Grant County (disambiguation)Grant County may refer to: Places ;Australia * County of Grant, Victoria ;United States *Grant County, Arkansas *Grant County, Indiana * ...
, the Rosenthal Fellowship,
Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship (WW Teaching Fellowship) is a program of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation The Institute for Citizens & Scholars, formerly known as the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, is a priva ...
and the
Presidential Management Fellowship The Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program is a two-year training and leadership development program at a United States government agency, administered by the Office of Personnel Management, U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), for U. ...
. It is granted to prospective or current students, on the basis of their academic or research achievements. In the UK, research fellowships are awarded to support
postdoctoral research A postdoctoral researcher or postdoc is a person professionally conducting research after the completion of their doctoral studies (typically a PhD A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD, Ph.D., or DPhil; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical ...
ers such as those funded by the
Wellcome Trust The Wellcome Trust is a charitable foundation focused on health research based in London, in the United Kingdom. It was established in 1936 with legacies from the pharmaceutical magnate Henry Wellcome Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome (August 21, 185 ...
and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). At
ETH Zurich (colloquially) , former_name = eidgenössische polytechnische Schule , image = ETH Zürich am Abend.jpg , image_size = , established = , type = Public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and dis ...
, postdoctoral fellowships support incoming researchers. The
MacArthur Fellows Program The MacArthur Fellows Program, also known as the MacArthur Fellowship and commonly but unofficially known as the "Genius Grant", is a prize awarded annually by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation typically to between 20 and 30 indi ...
(aka "genius grant") as prestigious research fellowship awarded in the United States.


Fellowships as a training program

Fellowships may involve a short placement for capacity building, e.g., to get more experience in government, such as the
American Association for the Advancement of Science The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is an American international non-profit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution ...
's fellowships and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellowship programs. Some institutions offer fellowships as a professional training program as well as a financial grant, such as the
Balsillie School of International Affairs The Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA) is a centre for advanced research and teaching on global governance and international public policy, located in Waterloo, Ontario Waterloo is a city in the Canadian province The provinc ...
, where tuition and other fees are paid by the fellowship.


Fellowships as a special membership grade

Fellows are often the highest grade of membership of many
professional association A professional association (also called a professional body, professional organization, or professional society) usually seeks to further Further or Furthur may refer to: *Furthur (bus), ''Furthur'' (bus), the Merry Pranksters' psychedelic bus ...
s or
learned societies A learned society (; also known as a learned academy, scholarly society, or academic association) is an organization An organization, or organisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a of ...
, for example, the
Chartered Institute of Arbitrators The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (abbreviated as CIArb) is a professional organisation representing the interests of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) practitioners. Founded on 1 March 1915, it was granted a royal charter by Queen Elizabe ...
or
Royal College of Surgeons The Royal College of Surgeons is an ancient college A college (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ...
. Lower grades are referred to as members (who typically share voting rights with the fellows), or associates (who may or may not, depending on whether "associate" status is a form of full membership). Additional grades of membership exist in, for example, the
IEEE The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is a professional association A professional association (also called a professional body, professional organization, or professional society) usually seeks to further Further or ...
and the ACM. Fellowships of this type can be awarded as a
title of honor A title of honor or honorary title is a title bestowed upon individuals or organizations as an award An award, sometimes called a distinction, is something given to a recipient as a token of recognition of excellence in a certain field. When ...
in their own right, e.g. the Fellowship of the Royal Society (FRS). Exclusive
learned societies A learned society (; also known as a learned academy, scholarly society, or academic association) is an organization An organization, or organisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a of ...
such as the
Royal Society The Royal Society, formally The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, is a learned society A learned society (; also known as a learned academy, scholarly society, or academic association) is an organization that exis ...
have Fellow as the only grade of membership. Appointment as an honorary fellow in a learned or professional society can be either to honour exceptional achievement or service within the professional domain of the awarding body or to honour contributions related to the domain from someone who is professionally outside it. Membership of the awarding body may or may not be a requirement. How a fellowship is awarded varies for each society, but may typically involve some or all of these: * A qualifying period in a lower grade * Passing a series of examinations * Nomination by two existing fellows who know the applicant professionally * Evidence of continued formal training post-qualification * Evidence of substantial achievement in the subject area * Submission of a thesis or portfolio of works which will be examined * Election by a vote of the fellowship


In ancient universities

At the
ancient universities The ancient universities are British and Irish medieval universities A medieval university was a Corporation#History, corporation organized during the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period last ...
of the
University of Oxford The University of Oxford is a collegiate university, collegiate research university in Oxford, England. There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the List of oldest universit ...
, the
University of Cambridge , mottoeng = Literal: From here, light and sacred draughts. Non literal: From this place, we gain enlightenment and precious knowledge. , established = , other_name = The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of ...
, and
Trinity College, Dublin , name_Latin = Collegium Sanctae et Individuae Trinitatis Reginae Elizabethae juxta Dublin , motto = ''Perpetuis futuris temporibus duraturam'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical langua ...

Trinity College, Dublin
, members of the teaching staff typically have two affiliations: one as a reader, lecturer, or other
academic rank Academic rank (also scientific rank) is the rank of a scientist or teacher in a college, high school, university or research establishment. The academic ranks indicate relative importance and power of individuals in academia. The academic rank ...
within a department of the university, as at other universities, and a second affiliation as a fellow of one of the
colleges A college (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in rel ...
of the university. The fellows, sometimes referred to as
university don Don (; ; pt, Dom, links=no , from Latin ', roughly 'Lord Lord is an appellation for a person or deity who has authority, control, or power (social and political), power over others, acting as a master, a chief, or a ruler. The appellation ...
s, form the
governing body A governing body is a group of people that has the authority to exercise governance Governance is all the processes of interactions be they through the laws Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social o ...

governing body
of the college. They may elect a council to handle day-to-day management. All fellows are entitled to certain privileges within their colleges, which may include dining at High Table (free of charge) and possibly the right to a room in college (free of charge). At Cambridge, retired academics may remain fellows. At Oxford, however, a Governing Body fellow would normally be elected a ''fellow emeritus'' and would leave the Governing Body upon his or her retirement. Distinguished old members of the college, or its benefactors and friends, might also be elected 'Honorary Fellow', normally for life; but beyond limited
dining rights Dining rights, in the United Kingdom, are the right to use the dining facilities offered to the members (and possibly their guests, when accompanied by a member) of certain organisations such as universities, clubs, colleges and bodies such as the ...
this is merely an honour. Most Oxford colleges have 'Fellows by Special Election' or 'Supernumerary Fellows', who may be members of the teaching staff, but not necessarily members of the Governing Body. Some senior administrators of a college such as
bursar A bursar (derived from "bursa (ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period (), and t ...
s are made fellows, and thereby become members of the governing body, because of their importance to the running of a college.


In the U.S.

At
Harvard University Harvard University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly t ...

Harvard University
and some other universities in the United States, "fellows" are members of the
Board of Trustees A board of directors is a group of people who jointly supervise the activities of an organization, which can be either a for-profit or a nonprofit organization such as a business, nonprofit organization, or a government agency. The powers, du ...
who hold administrative positions as non-executive
trustee Trustee (or the holding of a trusteeship) is a legal term {{Short pages monitor