Initiative on History and Public Policy Doctoral Fellowship

The Initiative on History and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, based at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, awards non-stipendiary fellowships to doctoral candidates. 

We seek to attract outstanding doctoral students who are engaged in cutting-edge historical research that is informed by, or seeks to illuminate, issues of contemporary public policy. In addition to carrying out their own research, the doctoral fellows are expected to contribute to the intellectual life of the Ash Center and the Harvard Kennedy School and participate in the collective activities and development of the Initiative on History and Public Policy. These activities may include hosting seminars, inviting speakers, and helping to plan a conference.

The fellowship begins in September with a term of one year. 


The fellowship will provide office space and access to many of Harvard's facilities. Doctoral fellows must be in residence in the Cambridge area, and at the Ash Center, for the duration of the academic year. The fellow will be granted a research stipend of up to $5000.

How to Apply

Applicants should plan to include with their application a cover letter, a 1-2 page research proposal, and a CV, and should arrange to have two referees submit letters of recommendation. Candidates may also be asked for a writing sample and additional materials. The deadline for applications for AY2018-19 has passed. 

Candidates should have an excellent academic record and well-defined research objectives. Preference will be given to applicants whose projects have progressed beyond the conceptual stages of the research. Harvard University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution, and we strongly encourage applications from women and minority candidates. For more information, contact Elizabeth Steffen.

Fellowship Background

The Roy and Lila Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School strives to make the world a better place by advancing excellence and innovation in governance and public policy through research, education, and public discussion. By training the very best leaders, developing powerful new ideas, and disseminating innovative solutions and institutional reforms, the Center’s goal is to meet the profound challenges facing the world’s citizens.

The Initiative on History and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School will bring together scholars, practitioners, students, and policymakers with the goal of linking our interpretations of the past with our approach to contemporary policy issues. The Initiative will draw on the expertise and leadership of faculty and practitioners at HKS who work and teach at the intersection of history and public policy.

The Initiative will serve as a meeting point between scholars and practitioners eager to draw on historical knowledge and expertise to promote successful policy outcomes. Members of and participants in the Initiative will bring historical perspective to bear on the work and challenges facing policy makers.