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Fellowships @ The Wilson Center 2012-2013

Image removed.About the Center 
The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars aims to unite the world of ideas to the world of policy by supporting pre-eminent scholarship and linking that scholarship to issues of concern to officials in Washington. 

Congress established the Center in 1968 as the official, national memorial to President Wilson. Unlike the physical monuments in the nation's capital, it is a living memorial whose work and scholarship commemorates "the ideals and concerns of Woodrow Wilson." As both a distinguished scholar and national leader, President Wilson felt strongly that the scholar and the policymaker were "engaged in a common enterprise." Today the Center takes seriously his views on the need to bridge the gap between the world of ideas and the world of policy, bringing them into creative contact, enriching the work of both, and enabling each to learn from the other. This continuing dialogue between public affairs and scholarship makes the Center unique.

The National Conversation Series at the Woodrow Wilson Center is the Center’s newest initiative. The National Conversation Series will examine overarching themes of U.S. international and domestic policy, drawing on high-profile guests and experts from all sides of the political sphere to provide thoughtful, intelligent explorations of challenging issues with the goal of informing the national public policy debate. The series will provide a safe political space for deep dialogue and informed discussion of the most significant problems and challenges facing the nation and the world. Nonpartisan and civil, The National Conversation Series will provide the level of discourse the nation deserves through thoughtful and challenging explorations of vital issues. 

The Center’s 2012-2013 flagship Fellowship Program will emphasize the keystones of the National Conversation Series.

In addition to its residential program, the Center conducts conferences and seminars and disseminates the content of these meetings and of fellows’ research through The Wilson Quarterly, Centerpoint (the Center’s monthly newsletter), Dialogue (The Center’s radio and television program), and the Woodrow Wilson Center Press, which has copublishing arrangements with Cambridge University Press, the Johns Hopkins University Press, and the Stanford University Press. The Center invites Fellows to take part in the Center’s conferences, meetings and seminars and to benefit from the wide range of dialogue that takes place at the Center.

Application Process 
The Wilson Center invites scholars, practitioners, journalists and public intellectuals to take part in its flagship Fellowship Program and to take advantage of the opportunity to engage actively in the Center’s national mission. The Center awards approximately 22-25 residential fellowships through its annual international fellowship competition. Fellows will be affiliated with one of the Wilson Center programs/projects and are encouraged to interact with policy makers in Washington, D.C. as well as with Wilson Center staff who are working on similar research and topics.


  • Citizens or permanent residents from any country (foreign nationals must be able to hold a valid passport and obtain a J1 Visa)
  • Men and women with outstanding capabilities and experience from a wide variety of -backgrounds (including government, the corporate world, professions, and academia)
  • 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


  • 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

    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 Fellowships Committee of the Board of Trustees.

    If you have questions regarding your eligibility or the suitability of your project, please e-mail the Scholar Administration Office at

    Selection Process 
    Image removed.Fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis. External interdisciplinary panels of distinguished scholars and practitioners assess the applications. The panels’ recommendations are presented to the Center’s Fellowships Committee of the Board of Trustees, composed of public officials who serve ex officio, citizens appointed by the President of the United States, and citizens from the private sector. The Fellowships Committee of the Board of Trustees makes the final decisions on selection.

    The basic criteria for selection are: 

    a) significance of the proposed research, including the importance and originality of the project;

    b) quality of the proposal in definition, organization, clarity, and scope;

    c) capabilities and achievements of the applicant and the likelihood that the applicant will accomplish the proposed project;

    d) the relevance of the project to contemporary policy issues.

    e) potential as a fellow, including what is the applicant’s potential for participating in the life and priorities of the Center and its outreach in fulfilling its mission.

    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 the world of public policy, and fellows should want, and be prepared, to interact with policymakers in Washington and with Wilson Center staff who are working on similar issues. 

    Primary themes for the 2012-2013 Fellowship Competition 

    The Center accepts non-advocacy, policy-relevant, fellowship proposals that address key challenges of past, present and future challenges confronting the United States and the world. Applicants should be aware that the work and priorities of the Center’s activities will be focused on its primary themes. 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. 

    Global Sustainability and Security

  • Terrorism
  • Transnational crime and citizen security
  • Climate change, natural resource scarcity, and their impact on national security
  • Urbanization, migration, and immigration

    Regional Power Shifts

  • Transitions from autocracy
  • Rising powers and regional orders

    American Challenges as a Global Power

  • American competitiveness and innovation
  • Future of America’s social contract: the role of government and the economic future
  • Energy: its costs, availability, impact on national security, and prospects for the future

    Fellows’ Responsibilities
    The Center’s "scholars in residence" are so in both name and fact. Fellows are expected to work from their offices at the Center and to participate in appropriate meetings organized by the Center. Fellows are also expected to present their research at our informal internal Work-in-Progress seminars, and to attend the Work-in-Progress presentations given by their colleagues. In addition, fellows are encouraged to make a more formal presentation to the public such as a colloquium, seminar, workshop, or other form of meeting. The Center expects all fellows to seek ways to share their expertise with the Washington policy community. The form of such interaction could range from a deep background briefing for an executive branch agency to an informal roundtable discussion with members of Congress and their staffs. 

    Affiliation at the Center 
    Fellows in residence will be affiliated with one of the Center’s programs/projects. Program and project directors often collaborate with scholars in designing seminars, conferences, and/or meetings related to scholars’ research. As of August 2010, these include the United States Studies Division and the International Security Studies Division and programs on Africa, Asia, Brazil, Canada, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Mexico, the Middle East, Russia and the former Soviet Union, Southeast Europe, and Western Europe; and the program on Science, Technology, America, and the Global Economy and projects on Comparative Urban Studies, Congress, Environmental Change and Security, Science and Technology, Global Health, History and Public Policy (which includes the Cold War International History Project and the North Korea International Documentation Project), and Leadership and Building State Capacity.

    Woodrow Wilson Center Press
    Once awarded a fellowship, fellows who do not already have book contracts for the project they wish to pursue at the Center are encouraged to seek out the Woodrow Wilson Center Press. The Center’s Press, often in collaboration with the Cambridge University Press, Johns Hopkins University Press, or Stanford University Press, reaches a worldwide English-language readership. For titles with special audiences, the Press seeks out other major copublishers, such as Oxford University Press, M.E. Sharpe, and Columbia University Press. The Woodrow Wilson Center Press has published more than 140 books based on fellows’ research and other writing at the Center.

    Facilities and Services 
    Each fellow is assigned an office available to him or her every day around the clock. The Center is located in the heart of Washington, D.C., and includes conference rooms, a reference library, and a dining room. The building is a smoke-free environment. The Wilson Center Library provides access to digital resources, its book and journal collections, and to the Library of Congress, university and special libraries in the area, and other research facilities. Windows-based personal computers are provided, and each fellow is offered a part-time research assistant. Although fellows are responsible for locating their own housing in the Washington, D.C. area, the Center provides written materials to help facilitate the search process.

    Image removed.The Center tries to ensure that the stipend provided under the fellowship, together with the fellow’s other sources of funding (e.g., grants secured by the applicant and sabbatical allowances), approximate a fellow’s regular salary. Stipends provided in recent years have ranged from $26,000 to $85,000 (the maximum possible). Stipends 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 the stipend. In addition to stipends, 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, i.e., nine months), although a few fellowships are occasionally awarded for shorter periods with a minimum of four months. The Center does not award fellowships for the summer months (June, July, August). Fellowships cannot be deferred, and extensions into the summer months have not been possible in recent years.

    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 the world of public affairs.

    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.

    Instructions for Applicants 

    Applicants may submit their applications online at or by mail.

    If submitted by mail:
    A complete application must include the following: 
    1. the two-page, single-sided Fellowship Application Form (We strongly recommend typing the application form.); 
    2. 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); 
    3. 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; 
    4. a bibliography for the project that includes primary sources and relevant secondary sources (not to exceed three pages); 
    5. the one-page Financial Information Form (also available online). 

    If you are mailing your application, in addition to the original, please submit ten collated and unstapled copies of items #1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Pages must be one sided. Please do not send sample publications. 

    All application materials must be submitted in English. Applications submitted via fax machine or electronic mail will not be considered.

    The Project Proposal 
    It is essential to make your project clear to individuals outside your own field and to explain its broader implications. The elements requested below should be incorporated into the text:

    1. a detailed description of the topic and its importance beyond the interests of the specific field of study;
    2. the originality of the proposed study (explain what makes the project distinctive);
    3. the basic ideas and hypotheses;
    4. the methodology to be used (including the activities you will undertake to gather the data you need for your project and the techniques that you will use to analyze the data in order to prove your thesis);
    5. the present status of your research, including how much has already been done in relevant collections and archives, and what you would hope to accomplish at the Center;
    6. the materials that will be used, the importance of Washington-area resources, and the need for residency at the Center;
    7. the relevance of the project to contemporary policy issues. (It is essential to include this element.)

    Letters of Recommendation 
    Two letters of reference may be submitted online or postmarked by October 1. If you are submitting online, please ensure that you submit the correct email address for your referees. It is your responsibility to ensure that we receive your references letters. Applications missing reference letters will be considered incomplete. Your referees should be familiar with you and your work, and you should send them a copy of your project description so that they can comment specifically upon your proposed study, your qualifications for undertaking it, and how you and/or your work would contribute to the Center’s goal of bridging the gap between the world of learning and the world of public affairs. Reference letters must be written in English. Do not send letters written for another purpose, such as those for a job application. Applicants are strongly encouraged to follow up with their referees to confirm that they have sent their letters to the Center.

    Application Checklist 

    • The application:
      a. the two-page, single-sided Fellowship Application Form
      b. a list of your publications (not to exceed three pages)
      c. a Project Proposal (not to exceed five single-spaced pages, using 12-point type)
      d. a bibliography for the project that includes primary sources and relevant secondary sources (not to exceed three pages)
    • ten collated, unstapled, and one sided copies of the application materials listed in the order above (if applying by mail)
    • the one-page Financial Information Form
    • two reference letters, to be submitted directly to the Center by the referees or mailed with the application.

    Applicants who would like suggestions on preparing the proposal can read our"Frequently Asked Questions" and/or "Helpful Hints." You may also click on "The Art of Writing Proposals," published by the Social Science Research Council. 

    Other Program-Specific Grant Opportunities at the Center

    Apart from the Wilson Center Fellowships competition, a number of the Center's regional programs offer grants to eligible scholars. Read about those programs.