Recently I was offered a full salaried postdoctoral position (not a fellowship) in Australia (with a long lead time).

I am a US citizen, so can also apply for the NSF international postdoctoral fellowships.

Suppose, hypothetically, that I apply for and receive an NSF award.

Is it acceptable to increase my postdoctoral salary with the fellowship, or would it not make a difference?

Given that I already have an offer in hand, if the NSF fellowship wouldn't increase my salary, then it isn't worth it to me to apply (I realize there are other benefits, prestige, that go along with receiving a fellowship, but I'm time-strapped at the moment).

  • Please link to the NSF program announcement. The Australian fellowships I am familiar with must be given up in case of winning another award, but they sometimes give a research funding bonus or salary to-up when that happens. May 15, 2015 at 12:53
  • The Australian offer isn't a fellowship, it is a full salaried position.
    – daaxix
    May 15, 2015 at 17:22
  • Why the downvote?
    – daaxix
    May 15, 2015 at 17:22

2 Answers 2


There will be rules that NSF sets for these fellowships. You need to look them up and/or talk to the program officer who administers the grant.

My best guess is that you can't double dip. So you will likely have to decline one salary or the other. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with still listing the grant on your CV -- it is a grant you won in a competitive solicitation, so it belongs on your CV.

  • I admit I haven't yet spent a whole lot of time finding the rules, but I have not found them yet through cursory googling, I'll have to dig in more deeply. The Australian offer is better, monetarily, than the NSF fellowship.
    – daaxix
    May 15, 2015 at 0:52
  • I don't know how these NSF fellowships work. If they were like other grants, then you'd have an office in your university through which you receive your funds, and they would know. In any case, since I assume that you will want to remain eligible to receive NSF funding in the future, I would take the issue seriously. May 15, 2015 at 11:15
  • yes of course, I don't want to do anything unethical or against the rules.
    – daaxix
    May 15, 2015 at 17:23

I am only familiar with the US NSF Fellowship, but there should (hopefully) be a comparable FAQ for the international version. But in the US, you are allowed by the NSF to accept a fellowship and other source of funding - potentially!

The NSF explicitly forbids "double-dipping" of federal funds - so you are not allowed to accept an NSF fellowship and a DOD fellowship, as they both are paid out of US Federal Government funding sources.

Are you allowed to accept other sources of funding, along with the NSF fellowship? According to the same FAQ for the US domestic fellowship:

Where can I find funding for my Reserve Years?

Many programs and departments have research and teaching assistantships and fellowships available for GRFP Fellows. In addition, the nsfgrfp.org website has a listing of other funding opportunities. See the Guide for rules regarding multiple funding sources.

May I be supported by a Traineeship (e.g., NIH, IGERT, etc.) while on Reserve?

Yes. Traineeships are appropriate for Fellows on Reserve.

May I accept or be paid from a private Foundation Fellowship?

Supplementation to a Fellowship while on Tenure is at the discretion of the GRFP Institution. Fellows should check with their COs.


May I also be paid (supplement my Stipend) from a university or private Fellowship?

Supplementation to a Fellowship while on Tenure is at the discretion of the GRFP Institution. Fellows should check with their COs.

May I be paid (supplement my Stipend) as a teaching or research assistant on top of my Stipend?

Fellows are expected to devote full time to advanced scientific study or work during tenure. However, because it is generally accepted that teaching or similar activity constitutes a valuable part of the education and training of many graduate students, a Fellow may undertake a reasonable amount of such teaching or similar activity, without NSF approval at the affiliated institution. It is expected that furtherance of the Fellow's educational objectives and the gain of substantive teaching or other experience, not service to the institution as such, will govern such activities. Compensation for such activities is permitted based on the affiliated institution's policies and the general employment policies outlined in The Administrative Guide for Fellows and Coordinating Officials.

May I have an outside job?

Outside employment is not governed by the NSF. Fellows should check with their CO about specific institution policies.

Does the NSF GRFP Fellowship provide funds for my research project?

No research or travel allowances are provided with the fellowship.

May I accept funding for my research project?

Yes. Fellows are permitted to solicit and accept, from NSF or other federal and private sources, support for research expenses, such as laboratory supplies, instrumentation usage fees, field-station usage fees, travel expenses, conference/registration fees, workshop expenses, or subscription fees. For Fellows on Tenure, support for living expenses associated with off-site research activities will require approval by the CO.

So the answer for US NSF guidelines is that you are free to accept monies that are not strictly from US federal government fellowships in addition to the NSF fellowship. Whether or not this is also true of International applicants, I am not at all qualified to say - but hopefully this will help you know what to look for and what questions to ask of your sponsoring institution and of the NSF international program.

Note that some institutions establish stipend maximums, often under conditions such as "if the scholar is receiving any stipend from the school, their total stipend may not extend X". If your outside funding is greater than the school maximum you are generally allowed to decline the school stipend and accept the greater outside funding, sometimes while the school still provides other compensation such as health insurance, etc. Again, at least this is true of US institutions - I can't speak for Australian rules.

If you are still interested I would encourage you to review the NSF international rules for similar provisions, and speak with your sponsoring department in Australia to see if they have any experience with these sorts of arrangements. There's nothing sneaky or dishonest here, and such financial questions aren't weird or out of line.

  • This is a good answer, but I finally found one of the solicitations which wasn't canceled which give an answer here : nsf.gov/pubs/2014/nsf14509/nsf14509.htm, if you add it to your answer with commentary I'll check yours...the answer is no, you cannot accept both.
    – daaxix
    May 15, 2015 at 19:06
  • I want accept this answer, but I need you to update the answer to reflect the information in the link I provided first, thanks.
    – daaxix
    Jun 30, 2015 at 19:13

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