Research Fellowships
updated 2021.12
Purpose: to enable highly self-motivated, self-directed individuals to conduct vital research, by meeting their immediate financial needs, in order to create a more knowledgeable, better-resourced animal freedom movement.

What Is a Research Fellowship?

Research is a central pillar of Pax Fauna’s mission. The bulk of that work is conducted by our team of research fellows. Our fellowships make it possible financially for fellows to dedicate themselves fully to this research.
Receiving a fellowship means joining a close, collaborative research team working together to actualize Pax Fauna's mission of launching a new mass movement organization. Fellowships are also designed to cultivate our individual and collective capacity for leadership. Fellows are encouraged, expected, and supported to invest significantly in their personal development, and grow into holistic leaders capable of guiding a mass social movement.
2022 Fellowship grants: $17,350 for 6 months ($34,700 per year)

Approval Considerations

Research fellows with Pax Fauna operate as a highly collaborative team (see the role description on our website). Individual applicants work with the Mission Circle to co-create a proposal for research projects they will work on during their grant period which aligns with Pax Fauna's objectives. Proposers outline the focus of the research and describe a plan for completing it and a description of how the outcome of the research will be delivered in a usable form, either to Pax Fauna or directly to advocacy organizations.
Ultimately, the Mission Circle considers proposals based on two criteria:
  1. 1.
    Has the applicant demonstrated the ability to complete the outlined research project and deliverable through their past work?
  2. 2.
    Does the applicant possess the necessary soft skills to grow into a long-term role on our self-managing research team, and eventually, a leadership role in a grassroots mass movement?
Past grantees are eligible to re-apply without restrictions.

Application Process

  1. 1.
    Review this policy and the role description(s) advertised on our website.
  2. 2.
    Email Aidan or fill out the web form to initiate the application process, letting us know how you heard about the role and why you are interested. Attach your resume if you have one.
  3. 3.
    Someone will reach out to schedule a short 1:1 pre-interview to make sure the role might be a good fit.
  4. 4.
    If so, we will send you a link to an application form to introduce yourself to us more formally and identify the work that most appeals to you.
  5. 5.
    Based on your application form, we will schedule the first of several interviews with the full team.
  6. 6.
    Serious candidates will be invited to visit us in Boulder, CO and may be offered a 3-month fellowship to get started.

During the Grant Period

Below are some important things to know about our research fellowships. Our Grant Agreement provides additional information.
  • The typical research fellowship lasts 6 months, or 3 months for a first-time grantee. 6 months is the maximum for a single fellowship, though fellows can be approved for consecutive grants.
  • During the period of their fellowship, grantees are not employees of Pax Fauna. Fellows should not spend more than 40 hours per week on the work associated with their fellowship.
  • A fellowship provides no guarantee of future income beyond the single grant approved for the period in question.
  • Research fellows may continue to be involved with Pax Fauna in other voluntary capacities during their term, including by serving on the Board of Directors. Receiving a research fellowship does not limit a grantee’s ability to request other resources from Pax Fauna in service of their work, including their fellowship work. Such requests are handled through our normal budgeting process.
  • Past grantees are eligible to re-apply without restriction. If a current grantee wishes to reapply, they should do so two months before their next granting period, and the Mission Circle should inform them of a decision no less than one month before same.

Grant Amount (Voluntary Simplicity)

The purpose of Pax Fauna’s research fellowships is to enable work by individuals who would already be choosing to do precisely this work if money were no obstacle. Thus, our philosophy is needs-based: we seek to provide enough money for fellows to live in voluntary simplicity. Our vision of voluntary simplicity can be summed up by the following statements we want anybody depending on a research fellowship from Pax Fauna to be able to make.
  • I don’t worry about money. I have enough to eat, pay rent (with housemates) in a place I like, have good health insurance, and save up a little.
  • For larger expenses, like a new bike, a trip, or extensive car repairs, I do have to plan ahead, save, and be thrifty.
  • I usually eat at home, but I can afford an occasional meal out if I choose. I don’t frequently purchase new clothes, electronics, or furniture.
  • I’m a penny-pincher when it comes to superfluous expenses, but I confidently invest in myself through things like books, courses, and enriching experiences.
  • I would consider myself frugal and thrifty, but not extremely so. My quality of life is high and I don’t view a lack of money as holding me back in any significant way. I see voluntary simplicity as a choice, not a burden.
To achieve this, we have pegged the base amount for our research fellowships to MIT’s living wage calculator and they will be updated annually to reflect MIT’s benchmark. We chose to pin this living wage to Boulder, CO (Pax Fauna’s home address and a relatively expensive location) for all fellowships to honor the ways individuals factor cost of living into where they choose to live. The amount for 2022 is the equivalent of a $34,700 annual living wage prorated to the duration of the fellowship, or $17,350 for a typical 6-month fellowship.

Requesting Supplemented Fellowships

Supplemented grants are a limited way Pax Fauna recognizes the different needs that prospective research fellows may have, in an effort to make these fellowships more accessible. The following list comprises categories of expenses that make grantees eligible for supplemented fellowships based on need.
  • Minimum payments on medical or student debt
  • Dependents (human and nonhuman)
  • Unavailability of public benefits due to immigration status (measured by what benefits would be available in your area to a citizen)
Applicants will have an opportunity to provide documentation of their expenses in these three categories. Then the annual base rate used to calculate their fellowship amount will be increased by 60% of the relevant annual costs, up to a maximum of a 15% total increase in the amount of the fellowship. In other words, Pax Fauna will displace 60% of the costs listed above, up to a maximum of an additional 15% of the base rate of the fellowship.

Requesting Partial Fellowships

Grantees are able to request a reduced or fractional fellowship due to independent financial security, or because of a part-time job which provides supplemental income while limiting the time and attention they can direct to their fellowship project. While applicants are able to request any fraction of the base fellowship, they are invited to consider the following factors before doing so:
  • Women and people of color are encouraged to accept the full stipend they are eligible for, to counteract the role of unconscious bias.
  • Partners whose housing or other major expenses are provided for by circumstance should consider what portion of the stipend would best support them to align with the principle of Voluntary Simplicity described above.
  • Pax Fauna trusts prospective fellows to self-assess the impact that a part-time job has on their fellowship project. In our experience, the impact of a part-time job has less to do with the number of hours spent at work and more to do with the mental bandwidth it consumes the rest of the time.