I am considering applying for three different postdoctoral fellowships, from three independent funding bodies. Each of these is a rigorous multi-stage process, including an expert peer review. Most likely, these reviewers will be at universities within my own country, rather than international reviewers.

What I am worried about, is that the same reviewer may be sent my research proposal from more than one of these fellowship applications. Therefore, it may appear, as far as the reviewer is concerned, that I am not dedicated to that particular fellowship. Furthermore, the research proposals are likely to be very similar for all three of the fellowship applications.

Will this cause a problem?

1 Answer 1


I don't think there's any reason to fear "commitment" when you're applying for competitive fellowships. Because they're competitions, it's likely that the success rate will be exceedingly low, and then it makes sense that candidates will apply to multiple programs to improve their chances.

(I also would think it unlikely that the same reviewer accepts the same proposal for multiple fellowships, since doing so would represent a conflict of interest.)

  • 1
    Faculty commonly write recommendation letters for students for multiple fellowships, multiple graduate programs, multiple faculty positions, and so on. And some of these letters require evaluation of an applicant's research proposal. So why would it be a conflict of interest for one person to evaluate the same proposal for multiple fellowships?
    – JeffE
    Jul 22, 2016 at 18:51
  • A letter of recommendation is not the same thing as a referee review. And a conflict of interest would arise if the referee starts steering applicants toward or away from one or the other of the fellowships.
    – aeismail
    Jul 22, 2016 at 19:19
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    @aeismail I don't see the conflict of interest. There might be other reasons, but not conflict of interest. The reviewer is probably disinterested. Jul 23, 2016 at 12:50

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