Catalyst Social Science Fellowship Selection Criteria

Catalyst Fellows in Social Science will be selected for their accomplishments and promise in two main areas: 

  1. Original social scientific, interdisciplinary, or humanistic research related to the Rubin Observatory and/or the LSST project
  2. Meaningful participation in and contribution to the Rubin LSST community, including its diversity, equity, and inclusiveness (DEI)

Successful social science applicants will be enthusiastic about the novel possibilities, benefits, and challenges associated with working in a cross-disciplinary environment in which they are both studying and collaborating with astronomers and astrophysicists. Social scientists are not required to propose research that is immediately actionable to the production of LSST science but should, at minimum, be open to exploring with their astronomy colleagues and/or research participants the value of social scientific inquiry and insights for informing how astronomers collaborate, communicate, and conduct team science. 

We do not expect social science applicants to be versed in astronomy or astrophysics, but some knowledge of the purpose, origin, and scope of the Rubin Observatory and LSST project will be required to craft strong research.



  1. The applicant demonstrates appropriate familiarity with bodies of scholarship relevant to their primary research question and makes a compelling argument for why the proposed research would advance the state of knowledge in their social scientific field(s). Due to the broad cross-disciplinary nature of this fellowship program, applicants should not assume that reviewers are experts in theories and concepts rooted in their home discipline. 
  2. The applicant possesses the methodological skills to carry out their proposed research and/or has a feasible and clearly articulated plan for acquiring the requisite skills. Any quantitative or qualitative methods may be proposed so long as the methods are appropriate for the chosen research question(s).
  3. The applicant proposes creative, important, exciting, novel, and feasible research that is directly related to LSST—for example, research on other astronomical surveys or telescopes is not allowed if it does not involve direct comparison with LSST. Research questions should be clearly articulated. Although deep expertise on LSST at the time of application is not expected, applicants should be enthusiastic about acquiring such knowledge.  

Community Impact, Including DEI


  1. Selection of the applicant as a Fellow would positively impact:
    1. the Fellow
    2. the broader Rubin community
    3. the broader academy and/or the general public (possibly)
  2. The applicant has a strong commitment to advancing DEI in the academy and/or beyond.
  3. The applicant is willing and excited to learn about the research being conducted by astronomy fellows in their Catalyst cohort and to share their own scholarly activities and insights with the Rubin LSST community. 


  1. The applicant demonstrates how their proposed research has the potential to impact the way Rubin LSST science is conducted.
  2. The applicant has ideas for modes of engagement or activities that could strengthen ties between social scientists and astrophysicists in a way that yields better (interdisciplinary) social science and better astronomy.
  3. The applicant can demonstrate prior contributions to advancing equity, inclusion, and social justice in their field(s) of research (whether by one’s presence in the field or one’s actions); an understanding of the challenges that drive current DEI-related efforts; or an understanding of best practices for DEI (although a willingness to learn about, and participate in, the discovery of best practices is perhaps more important).

Please also see the Call for Applications and instructions to apply.