Visiting and Non-Resident Research Fellows Program

The purpose of the INSS Research Fellows Program is to enhance INSS’ expertise and research output on critical DoD regional and functional priority issues, and offer research fellows opportunities to research, publish, and engage with national security experts. Research Fellows fall into one of two categories: (1) Visiting Research Fellows spend several months in-residence at the National Defense University; (2) Non-Resident Research Fellows remain on their home campus and interact with INSS team members virtually.

Applicants interested in becoming a Visiting Research Fellow must include their preference on their application and meet all the criteria for being on-campus at Ft Lesley McNair. Although we welcome applicants with any expertise related to national security, we are particularly interested in applicants with expertise beyond those in our organization. These topics include, but are not limited to, Space Policy, U.S. foreign policy for Africa and Latin America, Climate Change, and Civil-Military Relations. 

Applicants interested in being in-residence longer than 3 months should apply through the Visiting Scholars Program. All Fulbright Scholars, regardless of their duration of stay, also should apply through the Visiting Scholars Program.


Visiting Research Fellows are expected to contribute to the INSS and NDU missions through rigorous research and publications. 

Publications can include:

  1. Scholarly Publications. Develop manuscripts for publication either for INSS product lines or through outside peer-reviewed journals.   Publications require close coordination with INSS Research Fellows, and internal peer review and security and policy review processes.
  2. Policy Papers and Publications. Visiting Research Fellows can author policy papers and analyses addressing national security policy issues.

Visiting and Non-Resident Research Fellows can provide additional support to enhance INSS research, such as peer-reviewing INSS Fellows’ research and publications, speaking at conferences, and engaging with DOD stakeholders with INSS sponsors. These additional support activities supplement, but do not replace, the research and publication requirements above.

Download the VRF Program Guide

Criteria for Application

Candidates for the VRF Program should have recognized expertise, proven publication record in their field, clearly defined research project that aligns with existing INSS research, and an INSS sponsor. All application packages should include a curriculum vitae, biography, proposed research topic, and an application letter for consideration.

  • INSS Sponsor: Visiting Research Fellows must be sponsored by an INSS Senior/Distinguished Research Fellow.  The INSS fellow will oversee the VRF’s research project and related activities.
  • The application letter should identify the research plan and deliverables to INSS. The application letter also should identify the resources, if any, the sponsor and Visiting Research Fellow anticipate may be required, and how the sponsor and/or applicant plan to obtain them. A sample application letter can be viewed here.

Application Deadlines: 

VRF applications are accepted twice annually; February 15 and August 15.  Applications received after either deadline will be reviewed during the next application review window. For example, an application received 16 February will be reviewed when the Committee meets to review applications following the 15 August deadline. 

Submit Your Application 

Submit Materials To: inss_communications_@ndu.edu

Acceptance and Notification

When an applicant is selected as a Visiting Research Fellow, they will be notified by the INSS Front Office via an e-mail containing their appointment letter and a DD Form 2793 Volunteer Agreement.  The appointment will become effective after the Visiting Research Fellow signs and returns the appointment letter and the Volunteer Agreement.

In addition to signing the agreement acceptance page in the appointment letter which describes the period and the work intended to be accomplished during his/her uncompensated service appointment as a Visiting Research Fellow, he/she will be required to sign the included DD Form 2793 Volunteer Agreement.  Part II, Block 9 on that form includes a statement of certification that identifies the Visiting Research Fellow’s relationship to the United States Government during the period of his/her appointment.