Science Fiction Studies

Call for Applications: R.D. Mullen Fellowship

R.D. Mullen Research Fellowship Winners


Call for Applications: R.D. Mullen Fellowships

Named for the founder of our journal, Richard “Dale” Mullen (1915-1998), the Mullen fellowships are awarded by Science Fiction Studies to support archival research in topics related to science fiction, broadly construed.

We have two categories of awards:

Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Amount: Up to $5000 Number: 1 award each year

Qualifications: Candidates must have received their PhD degree but must not hold (or be contracted to begin) a tenure-track position. Also eligible are ABD students who have not yet been conferred their degree but who are scheduled to do so before taking up the award. Granted for research in support of a new project only. The relation between the new research and the topic of the dissertation should be clarified in the proposal, particularly in cases of closely related projects.

PhD Research Fellowship

Amount: Up to $3000 Number: 2 awards each year

Qualifications: Research must be in support of a dissertation, and students may apply at any stage of their degree. The proposal should make it clear that applicants have familiarized themselves in some detail with the resources available at the library or archive they propose to use. Dissertation projects with an overall science fiction emphasis, other things being equal, will receive priority over projects with a more tangential relationship to the field (i.e., engage sf only in a single chapter).

Application Process

All projects must centrally investigate science fiction, of any nation, culture, medium or era. Project descriptions should concisely but clearly

  • Define the project,
  • Include a statement describing the relationship of this project to science fiction as a genre and to sf criticism as a practice,
  • show familiarity with the specific holdings and strengths of the archive in which the proposed research will be conducted to explain why archival research is essential to the project, and
  • Offer a research plan (including time frame and budget) that is practical for the time-frame proposed.

Applications may propose research in—but need not limit themselves to—specialized sf archives such as the Eaton Collection at UC Riverside, the Maison d’Ailleurs in Switzerland, the Judith Merril Collection in Toronto, or the SF Foundation Collection in Liverpool. Proposals for work in general archives with relevant sf holdings—authors’ papers, for example—are also welcome.

For possible research locations, applicants may wish to consult the partial list of sf archives compiled in SFS 37.2 (July 2010): 161-90. This list is also available online at:

Applications should be written in English and should include

  • the project description (approximately 500 words),
  • a work plan and an itemized budget (in addition to the 500-word description),
  • a cover letter clearly identifying which award is sought,
  • an updated curriculum vitae, and
  • two letters of reference, including one from the faculty supervisor in cases of PhD research.

Students who receive awards must acknowledge the support provided by SFS’s Mullen Fellowship program in any completed theses, dissertations or published work that makes use of research supported by this fellowship. After the research is conducted, each awardee shall provide SFS with a 500-word report on the results of the research prior to receiving reimbursement. All awards are based on reimbursement for allowed expenditures (see below.

Successful candidates will be reimbursed for expenses incurred conducting research, up to the amount of the award, once they complete the research and submit relevant receipts. Valid research expenses include

    • airfare or ground transportation costs from one’s home to the archive,
    • meals for the scholar,
    • accommodation costs, and
    • costs associated with using an archive, such as photocopying, camera fees, or other institutional costs.

Funds cannot be used in support of

    • conference travel (one may attend a conference at the same venue as the archive),
    • capital items such as computers or other equipment,
    • the purchase of books or other research material, and
    • meals, travel, or accommodation costs for anyone other than the researcher.

Applications should be submitted electronically to the chair of the evaluation committee, Sherryl Vint, at Applications are due April 3, 2023 and awards will be announced in early May.

The selection committee for 2023 consists of SFS Advisory Board members Rachel Haywood and John Rieder, Klein Librarian Phoenix Alexander, and SFS editor Lisa Swanstrom. The committee is chaired by Sherryl Vint who manages the administration but does not participate in the voting or deliberations.


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