Through an international competition, the Center offers 9-month residential fellowships. The Wilson Center invites scholars, practitioners, journalists and public intellectuals to take part in its flagship international Fellowship Program. Fellows conduct research and write in their areas of interest, while interacting with policymakers in Washington and Wilson Center staff and other scholars in residence. The Center accepts policy-relevant, non-advocacy fellowship proposals that address key challenges confronting the United States and the world.
The Wilson Center invites scholars, practitioners, journalists and public intellectuals to take part in its flagship international Fellowship Program and to take advantage of the opportunity to engage actively in the Center’s national mission. The Center awards approximately 15-20 residential fellowships each year. Fellows will be affiliated with one or more of the Wilson Center programs/projects and are encouraged to interact with policy makers in Washington, D.C., with Wilson Center staff, and other scholars who are working on similar research and topics.
- Citizens or permanent residents from any country (applicants from countries outside the United States must hold a valid passport and be able to obtain a J-1 visa even if they are currently in the United States) (Read more information on visas.)
- Men and women with outstanding capabilities and experience from a wide variety of backgrounds (including academia, business, government, journalism, law, and other professions)
- Academic candidates holding a Ph.D. or J.D. (degree must be received by the application deadline of October 1)
- Academic candidates demonstrating scholarly achievement by publications beyond their doctoral dissertations
- Practitioners or policymakers with an equivalent level of professional achievement
- English proficiency as the Center is designed to encourage the exchange of ideas among its fellows
Notes on Eligibility
You do not need an institutional affiliation to apply. For most academic candidates, a book or monograph is required. Scholars and practitioners who previously held research awards or fellowships at the Wilson Center are not precluded from applying for a fellowship. However, the nature and recency of the prior award may be among the factors considered during the selection process, and by the Fellowship Committee of the Board of Trustees.
If you have questions regarding your eligibility or the suitability of your project, please e-mail the Scholars and Academic Relations Office at [email protected].
Applications that satisfy the eligibility requirements are subsequently subjected to a multi-stage review process involving both internal evaluations by Wilson Center experts and external evaluations by specialists with relevant expertise. Final decisions about all grant awards are contingent on the approval of the Center’s Fellowship Committee of the Board of Trustees and subject to available funding.
The basic criteria for selection are:
a) significance of the proposed research, including the importance and originality of the project;
b) the relevance of the project to contemporary policy issues; try to convince the reader that there is some urgency or importance in your work that can resolve a larger problem.
c) the relevance of the project to the programmatic work of the Center;
d) quality of the proposal in definition, organization, clarity, and scope; describe what the reviewers will learn from your project, why it is important, and how the reviewer will know your conclusions are valid. A clear hypothesis or step-by-step argument of a central problem helps capture the essence of your work for the reviewer. Also describe your methodology, i.e. how and why your approach is the best way to deal with such a problem. Since each field has different methodologies that the reviewer may not know, tell the reader what archives, sources, and techniques you plan to employ.
e) capabilities and achievements of the applicant and the likelihood that the applicant will accomplish the proposed project; not only should your proposal demonstrate how you have the technical know-how and ability to reach some conclusion, but that the conclusion is not preconceived. The proposal should convince the reviewer that there is something genuinely at stake with your inquiry and that your project will yield interesting results.
f) potential of a candidate to actively contribute to the life, priorities, and mission of the Center by making expert research accessible to a broader audience; remember that one of the Center’s main goals is to help inform policymakers to make well-informed decisions.
The Center welcomes in particular those projects that transcend narrow specialties and methodological issues of interest only within a specific academic discipline. Projects should involve fresh research-—in terms of both the overall field and the author’s previous work. It is essential that projects have relevance to public policy, and fellows should want, and be prepared, to interact with policymakers in Washington, Wilson Center staff, and other scholars who are working on similar issues.
Some final tips–start your proposal early, and have friends or colleagues review it. Debate over your proposal will help you answer questions reviewers may have. Sharpen your language and style, especially your opening paragraph. Be to the point so that the reviewer knows exactly what you mean–the Center does not conduct interviews, so make sure that your proposal is clear and concise.
The Center tries to ensure that the fellowship award, when combined with the recipient’s other sources of income (e.g. other grants and sabbatical allowances), approximates an individual’s current level of income.
Awards will also include round trip travel for Fellows. If spouses and/or dependent children will reside with the Fellow for the entire fellowship period, money for their travel will also be included. In addition to stipends and travel allowances, the Center provides 75 percent of health insurance premiums for fellows who elect Center coverage and for their accompanying family members.
Length of Appointment
Fellows are expected to be in residence for the entire U.S. academic year (early September through May). Occasionally, fellowships are awarded for shorter periods, with a minimum of four months. Fellowships may not be deferred.
Conditions of Award
Fellows must devote full time to the fellowship study and may not accept a teaching assignment, another residential fellowship, or undertake any other major activities that require absence from the Center during the tenure of their fellowship. In order to foster a true community of scholars, Fellows must devote a proportionate amount of time to the daily life of the Center. Applicants must notify the Center when they receive other sources of support, including other fellowships or foundation grants, which may affect their request for financial support from the Center. Once fellowships are awarded and at the Center’s (or Fellow’s) discretion, project titles may be modified to reflect the Center’s mandate to serve as a bridge between the world of learning and public policy.
Deadline for Applications
The Center holds one round of competitive selection per year. Fellowship applications must be postmarked or submitted online by October 1. Applicants are notified of the results of the selection process in March of the following year.
A complete application must include the following:
- the Fellowship Application Form;
- a current CV (not to exceed three pages); The Center will only accept the first three pages; please list your publications separately.
- a list of your publications that includes exact titles, names of publishers, dates of publication and status of forthcoming publications (not to exceed three pages);
- a Project Proposal (not to exceed five single-spaced typed pages, using 12-point type); The Center reserves the right to omit from review applications that are longer than the requested page length;
- a bibliography for the project that includes primary sources and relevant secondary sources (not to exceed three pages);
- the Financial Information Form;
- Two letters of reference.