Summer Institute on Biological Approaches in the Social Sciences (SIBASS)

Evanston, IL | June 6 – 10, 2022
Application Deadline: January 15th, 2022 at 2 PM ET

DEADLINE EXTENDED: January 28th, 2022 at 2 PM ET


Over the past decade, there has been an explosion of interest in biology among social scientists.  Despite the promise this new research holds, there are significant obstacles to its implementation. Among the most pressing is the shortage of scholars who are adequately trained to undertake it. To address this gap, The Russell Sage Foundation is sponsoring a summer workshop on Integrating Biology Into The Social Sciences.

It will consist of a week-long series of didactic lectures, small-group breakout sessions, and hands-on laboratory exercises. Attendees will (1) develop an understanding of the conceptual basis for integrating the social and biological sciences, (2) become acquainted with the basic units of biology – genes, cells, and organs – and how they function, (3) learn the basic physiology of key organ systems, (4) gain familiarity with methods used to measure human biological processes, and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, and (5) wrestle with the social, ethical, and political implications of conducting work in this area. The target audience is post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty members in the social sciences, although we are open to applications from advanced graduate students.

The workshop will be hosted by Northwestern University’s Cells to Society group and Institute for Policy Research (IPR). The co-directors are Greg Miller, Emma Adam and Thom McDade, and participating faculty include Edith Chen, Bridget Goosby, Claudia Haase, Michael Kobor, Chris Kuzawa, Robin Nusslock, and Michael Yudell. The workshop will be held in-person in Evanston, IL from June 6-10. Travel, housing, and workshop registration fees will be covered by a generous grant from the Russell Sage Foundation.

Admission is competitive and will be restricted to 30 trainees. To apply, visit Any questions about the program or application process can be addressed to


The target audience is post-doctoral fellows and untenured faculty within 10 years of the Ph.D., although we are open to applications from advanced doctoral students. There are no restrictions based on citizenship, country of study, or country of employment.

Priority will be given to candidates whose applications demonstrate (1) research excellence that is appropriate to their career stage, (2) a serious commitment to launching a biosocial research program, which (3) dovetails with RSF research priorities in Social Inequality, Behavioral Economics, Future of Work, and Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration.

Application Requirements

Applications must be submitted via the RSF online application portal, Fluxx.

  1. Create an account or log in to your existing account. **Account registrations are approved manually, please allow up to 48 hours for a new account to be approved**
  2. Start a new "Summer Institute" application and select “Biological Approaches.”
  3. Submit the following documents/information:
    1. a curriculum vitae;
    2. a 100-word overview of why you want to join the institute;
    3. a statement (maximum two pages, single spaced, 11 point font) describing your background, your current research, whether you have any existing background in biology, and reasons for your interest in integrating biology in the social sciences, particularly as it relates to RSF research priorities.
    4. a list of biology courses you have taken in undergraduate and/or graduate school or during your postdoctoral training and the names of (and links to) any other biomarker workshops you may have attended in the past. (Past experience with biology or biological methods is not required; this is for our information only).

For Ph.D. student and postdoctoral researcher applicants only, please also provide:

  1. an (unofficial) course/grade transcript for doctoral studies;
  2. two letters of recommendation from faculty advisors. These should be as informative as possible about your standing in the program (i.e., approximate rank in your doctoral class; plan for completion of PhD), general ability, research potential, and (if applicable) special interest in biosocial research.

Inquiries can be sent to

Technical questions about the application portal (Fluxx) can be sent to


RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of original empirical research articles by both established and emerging scholars.


The Russell Sage Foundation offers grants and positions in our Visiting Scholars program for research.


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