History of the Consortium Research Fellows Program
The Consortium Research Fellows Program (CRFP) began in 1981 as a partnership between the U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences (ARI) and the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area. The goal of this partnership was to provide some of the nation's best and brightest graduate students in the behavioral and social sciences an opportunity to work in a Federal research setting. In the 30 years since its inception, the CRFP has expanded in both its size and its mission. The current goals of the CRFP are to provide educationally-relevant, well-paid, professional experiences for undergraduate and graduate students, provide research opportunities for faculty, provide high-quality technical and analytical support to sponsoring agencies, and groom a new generation of scientists, who either directly as government employees or indirectly as contractors, will support Department of Defense (DoD) Research & Development in the future.
In addition to its initial contract with ARI, the CRFP has held contracts with the Air Force's 711th Human Performance Wing/Human Effectiveness Directorate, the Defense Manpower Data Center, and the National Defense University. The Fellows Program currently employs 60 graduate and undergraduate students and 30 faculty from 38 colleges and universities in a wide array of disciplines, including, among others: Computer Science, Information Systems and Technology, Engineering, Physics, Psychology, and Sociology. CRFP personnel serve in 10 facilities of Department of Defense agencies located in the Washington, D.C. region and in nine states across the country.
Consortium Research Fellows Program Personnel
Consortium Research Fellows (graduate students) and Consortium Research Assistants (undergraduates) are assigned to research or technical teams at the sponsoring agencies and work up to 20 hours per week during the school year and full-time in the summer. They earn between $20,400 and $40,500 per year for 1300 hours of service. More importantly, they develop professionally under the mentorship of national experts in their fields, co-author publications and presentations, and often accomplish their Master's theses or Doctoral dissertations using fellowship research. The government gains over 35 person-years of effort from Fellows and Assistants each calendar year and benefits from the fresh perspectives they bring as a result of studying the latest research and practice in their disciplines.
Post-doctoral Fellows have earned their doctorates within the last three years and work full-time in one of the sponsoring agencies for one or two years. Both the post-doctoral Fellows and the sponsoring agencies they work for benefit from this relationship.
Faculty members are appointed for short-term, specific research tasks to augment government research teams by providing skills and expertise that are not available in-house. These Senior Fellows are a valuable asset to the Program and an example of the strong relationship the CRFP is able to foster between government and academia.
Over the past three decades, over 1200 students have passed through the Program. They have been 48% male, 52% female, and 24% minority. A study of psychology graduate students in the United States showed that those who participated in the CRFP were more likely to complete their degrees than those who did not. Many alumni of the CRFP have entered government service after completing the Fellows Program and are now mentors of the next generation of Research Fellows and Assistants. Numerous others have joined private firms that are government contractors and thus continue to use the expertise gained in their fellowships in support of the Department of Defense.