Dissertation Fellowships for Graduate Students (old)


The deadline for 2010–2011 Fellowship applications is February 19, 2011

The Program

The Project on Justice, Welfare and Economics at Harvard University will provide grants during the 2010–2011 academic year to support Harvard graduate students whose research topics are relevant to questions of justice and human welfare. This interdisciplinary initiative, that connects faculty and student research across the University, intends to promote research, learning and knowledge connecting the study of freedom, justice, and economics to human welfare and development.

The main thrust of this initiative is to develop a new generation of students, linked to distinguished scholars, whose work encompasses ethical, political and economic dimensions of human development. This approach leans against the modern tendency to technical specialization and the separation of economics from moral and political dimensions. The focus of the initiative is to expand human capabilities within a context of freedom and justice.

The Fellowships

Dissertation fellowships of $23,000 will be awarded to free students from teaching for a year in order to develop or complete their dissertations. (This sum may be increased to cover facilities fees and individual health insurance, if the student's school or department will not do so.) Additional funds for summer research are also available to fellowship recipients.

Recipients of the dissertation grants are expected to be in residence at Harvard while they are receiving the fellowship. Recipients of both kinds of grants will be expected to participate in events designed to bring together faculty and students whose research interests join justice, welfare and economics.

Submitting an Application

We invite proposals for support of research into ideas of freedom, equality, welfare, rights and justice, and also proposals for support of empirical studies that bear on these topics. Priority for funding will be given to proposals that bridge at least two of the following three approaches: normative, interdisciplinary, or empirical. These might include, for example, normative inquiries into questions of freedom, justice or equality that arise in response to particular empirical phenomena, or empirical investigations that may give rise to such questions or cast light on what particular ideas of freedom, welfare or equality come to in practice.

The following research areas are among those that would be consistent with the aim of the Project:

  • Examining the role of freedom in fostering lasting improvement in the human condition, with implications for economic theory and practice;
  • Bringing historical notions of political economy and moral philosophy to bear on contemporary economic theory and practice;
  • Developing an international or comparative perspective on domestic inequalities, with research comfortably situated in a global context;
  • Exploring the ethical and political dimensions of contemporary economic theory and the policy recommendations of international institutions;
  • Investigating inequalities in capabilities between women and men in the family, the community, the nation and the world;
  • Analyzing inequalities in wealthy and poor nations, encompassing the deprivation of basic human capabilities and freedoms. Given the aims of the initiative, we would expect applications from doctoral students in Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the professional schools in such areas as economics, business administration, law, philosophy, political science, public policy, social policy, political economy and government, and sociology. But the grants are not restricted to applicants from these particular disciplines.
  • The JWE uses the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) Standard Application at the following Web site:

    Applications and all supporting materials should be sent to Jessica Barnard, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, 1727 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02138. Information on other Weatherhead Center fellowships can be found on our Web site at: http://www.wcfia.harvard.edu/funding/student.

    If you have any questions, please contact: Jessica Barnard at 617-495-8923 or jbarnard@wcfia.harvard.edu.