Keegstra Bioenergy Research Fellowship Program

Program Overview

The Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) Keegstra Bioenergy Research Fellowship  Program in Integrative Bioenergy Sciences was founded in 2019 with the goal to recruit and support talented and highly motivated postdoctoral fellows to lead projects that cross the traditional bioenergy boundaries of plant feedstocks, biomass deconstruction, microbial conversion, and sustainability and integrate work across two or more GLBRC research teams and possibly other BRCs. Keegstra fellows obtain research expertise in multiple bioenergy research areas that equip them for future careers as independent investigators able to execute the integrated research necessary to help make societal adoption of lignocellulosic bioenergy and bioproducts a reality. The fellowship is named after Ken Keegstra, a professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Michigan State University and a past GLBRC Science Director (SD). Professor Keegstra served GLBRC for nine years and made great contributions to the Center and the bioenergy field in the area of plant feedstocks.

2024 Open Call Announcement

The Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) is pleased to announce a new cycle of Keegstra Postdoctoral Fellowship Program (“Keegstra program”) with new features for research, support, and mentorship. GLBRC anticipates supporting no more than three new Keegstra fellows and invites applications for these positions from GLBRC Co-Investigators (Co-Is) and postdoctoral candidates. There are two tracks for application: 1) Co-Is propose the topic and then recruit a candidate; and 2) a candidate together with Co-Is propose the topic (see details below). Both routes are initiated with a concept proposal of one page or less that identifies a collaborative research topic aligned with the goals of at least two GLBRC research teams. A full 5-page research proposal will be required if a concept proposal is accepted.

Evaluation of concept proposals will be completed within 30 days, with the first review starting for proposals received by June 15, 2024. Concept proposals should be submitted to the GLBRC Science Directors, Robert Landick and Federica Brandizzi. Additional concept proposals will be considered upon receipt if a position remains unfilled or will become available within one year.

Fellowship features

  • A concept proposal must identify a research project that spans at least two research teams in GLBRC and must identify a lead mentor Co-I and a co-mentor Co-I in different teams who will sponsor the project. The project proposed must be a new collaboration between sponsoring Co-Is on a topic of direct relevance to GLBRC 5-year goals. The roles of the sponsoring Co-Is and fellow must be clearly defined in the concept proposal.
  • An eligible candidate must be identified and approved by the science directors within six months of concept proposal approval.
  • Eligible science topics span four defined topic areas: sustainability, feedstock development, deconstruction and separation, and conversion. GLBRC is particularly interested in cross-discipline, cutting-edge research that will advance the frontiers of bioenergy science. Co-Is or candidates should discuss their plans for an application with one or both GLBRC Science Directors before writing a concept proposals.
  • The sponsoring Co-Is and fellow must agree to participate in a GLBRC professional development plan.
  • The initial fellowship award is for two years contingent on meeting program requirements, with a third year of support available contingent on demonstration of adequate progress and availability of funds.
  • The Keegstra fellow stipend is set up to 15% above the NIH recommended postdoc stipend with increases that align with institutional policies in the second and third years.
  Track 1 Track 2
Key Feature Concept proposal is submitted by two GLBRC sponsoring co-Is. If approved, an open search will be conducted to recruit the Keegstra fellow. An eligible candidate identifies two GLBRC sponsoring Co-Is and works with them to jointly develop and submit a concept proposal.
Eligibility of Candidate
  • Must be within three years of completion of their PhD on the start date of the project.
  • Must not have previously been a postdoc at GLBRC or worked in the lab of either sponsoring Co-I.
  • A GLBRC graduate student is eligible if neither sponsoring Co-I is their PhD adviser.
Concept Proposal (≤1 page) Developed by two GLBRC sponsoring Co-Is. Developed by eligible candidate in conjunction with two GLBRC sponsoring Co-Is.
Full Research Proposal (5 pages) Must be submitted within one month after onboarding of new fellow. Review by GLBRC Science Directors is required before supply funding becomes available. Must be submitted within one month after approval of concept proposal. Review by GLBRC Science Directors is required before final approval and commitment for funding.