Wilson Center Fellowship
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/offices and are encouraged to interact with policy makers in Washington, D.C. as well as with Wilson Center staff and other scholars who are working on similar research and topics.
The Center accepts policy-relevant, non-advocacy fellowship proposals that address key challenges confronting the United States and the world. Priority will be given to proposals which align with the programmatic work of the Center and can result in work that reaches a broad audience. Within this framework, the Wilson Center supports projects that intersect with contemporary policy issues and provide the historical and/or cultural context for some of today’s significant public policy debates.
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.
- 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)
- Men and women with outstanding capabilities and experience from a wide variety of backgrounds (including academia, business, government, journalism, and other professions)
- Academic candidates holding a Ph.D. (Ph.D. 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
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 Fellowships Committee of the Board of Trustees.
- Applicants working on a degree (even if the degree is to be awarded prior to the proposed fellowship year)
- Proposals of a partisan or advocacy nature
- Primary research in the natural sciences
- Projects that create musical composition or dance
- Projects in the visual arts
- Projects that are the rewriting of doctoral dissertations
- The editing of texts, papers, or documents
- The preparation of textbooks, anthologies, translations, and memoirs
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 a panel of specialists with relevant expertise. Final decisions about all grant awards are contingent on the approval of the Center’s Board of Trustees and subject to available funding.
The basic criteria for selection are:
- significance of the proposed research, including the importance and originality of the project;
- the relevance of the project to contemporary policy issues;
- the relevance of the project to the programmatic work of the Center;
- quality of the proposal in definition, organization, clarity, and scope;
- capabilities and achievements of the applicant and the likelihood that the applicant will accomplish the proposed project;
- 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.
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 and with Wilson Center staff and other scholars who are working on similar issues.
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.