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Applications are invited for Postdoctoral Research Fellows in the Black Hole Initiative (BHI) at Harvard University. 

Applications will be accepted until February 25, 2023.



Applications are invited for a three-year Postdoctoral Research Fellow position in the History, Philosophy, & Sociology of Science in the Black Hole Initiative (BHI) at Harvard University and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO).  We are looking for candidates interested in a full range of questions regarding black holes, black hole observation, theory, or cultural resonance.  The BHI is the first interdisciplinary research center worldwide to focus on the study of black holes. It is located within Harvard University at 20 Garden Street in Cambridge, MA. Current senior members of the BHI include Harvard faculty Peter Galison (Director; Physics/ History & Philosophy of Science), Ramesh Narayan (Astronomy); Priya Natarajan (Astronomy); Andy Strominger (Physics); Netta Engelhardt (Physics);  as well as SAO astronomer Sheperd Doeleman (Astronomy; Director of the next generation Event Horizon Telescope project).

Successful candidates will have the opportunity to interact and work researchers engaging with aspects of fundamental physics, such as the information paradox, stability of spacetime, accretion flows, and the wide range of historical, philosophical, and STS topics (including HPS/STS) involved in the next generation Event Horizon Telescope.

Starting date for BHI postdoctoral fellows is September 1, 2023. Applications should be

submitted electronically at by

5:00pm EST, February 25, 2023, but applications will be considered ongoing, continuing until the position is filled. The grant-funded position is for two years, renewable for a third year, contingent on performance and funding. Resources for research expenses including publication charges and related conference travel will be available.


Further information about the BHI may be found at


Please direct any questions on the application process to Jessie Chouinard, Women and minorities are strongly encouraged to apply. AAE/EOE.


All the following online application materials are due requested

  • Personal Information Section
  • Thesis Information Section
  • Prior Research Interests (Please offer information on prior black hole research and research you plan to pursue in the near future)
  • Three Uploaded Forms in PDF (preferred) or Plain Text Format:
    1. Curriculum Vitae
    2. Publication List
    3. Research Proposal
  • Three Letters of Reference and Referees Information

Letters of reference should be submitted by three "referees" and must be received by the application deadline. The preferred format is pdf, but plain text is also acceptable. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that letters of reference have been received. Use the "View Status" feature to check receipt of a reference letter.

The steps for submitting a letter are:

  • The applicant supplies the name and e-mail of each referee in the application form.
  • A message providing a unique URL is e-mailed to each referee. The referee uses that URL to upload the letter.
  • Once the reference letter has been uploaded, the applicant will see "Complete" when checking the appropriate area of the application status page.

PLEASE NOTE: Completion of the Ph.D. is required to begin a Postdoctoral Fellowship; successful candidates who have received their degree within three years of the effective start date of the fellowship must provide verification of their Ph.D.

Application Instructions

Please review the FAQ page before beginning the online application.

Fellowship Application Login

The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer where all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, creed, color, sex or national origin.


How do I apply?
Applications are accepted online from October 27, 2021 to November 30, 2022, 17:00 EST.

Can I print the application form and mail it?
If you are unable to use the online application, contact for more information.

How do I register online?
Go to the Fellowship Application Login page. Select "Update Account," then "Register." On the Registration page, enter your full e-mail address and a password of your choice. Repeat the password for verification and select "Register Now."

When is the deadline?
The deadline is November 30, 2022, 17:00 EST, but applications will be accepted until all positions are filled. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that all materials, including letters of recommendation, are received by the deadline.

Do I need to have finished my Ph.D. to apply?
You may apply in the final year of your doctoral program, but you must satisfy all the requirements of the Ph.D. before you begin your fellowship, including successfully defending your thesis. If you will have finished your degree within three years of the effective start date of the fellowship, you will need to provide verification of completing your Ph.D.

If I am also applying for other fellowships at the CfA, do I need to have separate letters of recommendation sent for each fellowship, or will they be shared?
Letters of recommendation received for the BHI Postdoctoral Fellowship will not be shared with other fellowships at the CfA and vice-versa.

What format is required for uploading files?
Files should be in pdf format. If this is not possible, plain text is also acceptable.

Can I edit my application online?
Yes, you can access the application as many times as you want until the deadline. You can enter more information or edit existing information each time. You can upload new files to replace existing ones until the deadline.

If my password does not work, what should I do?
On the "Fellowship Application: Login" page select "Reset Password," and a new password will be e-mailed to you if you have already successfully registered.

How will I know if all my application materials have been received?
After logging in to the application, select "View Application Status" to check what remains incomplete in your application. In addition, when viewing your application online, you can check previously uploaded files by clicking on the numbered button provided.

What should I do if I notice an error in my application after I submit it?
Until the deadline, you can access the application to make corrections, including uploading new versions of the pdf files.

What if I decide to withdraw my application?
If you want to withdraw your application, send an email to stating your full name and which fellowship application you wish to withdraw.

What if I have other questions?
Please e-mail all inquiries to

Application Questions: Please send an e-mail to the BHI Administrator, at