Fellowships at the Wilson Center, Washington, DC


October 01, 2010

The Center awards approximately 20-25 residential fellowships annually to individuals with outstanding project proposals in a broad range of the social sciences and humanities on national and/or international issues. Topics and scholarship should relate to key public policy challenges or provide the historical and/or cultural framework to illuminate policy issues of contemporary importance.


  • 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 fellowships( at) wilsoncenter.org.

Selection Process
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

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.

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

The Center devotes significant attention to the exploration of broad
thematic areas.

Primary themes are:

  1. governance, including such issues as the key features of the development of democratic institutions, democratic society, civil society, and citizen participation;
  2. the U.S. role in the world and issues of partnership and leadership—military, political, and economic dimensions; and
  3. key long-term future challenges confronting the United States and the world.

While the Center does not engage in formulating actual policy, priority will be given to proposals related to these themes and intersecting with
crucial public policy issues. Within this framework, the Center also
welcomes projects that provide the historical and/or cultural context
for some of today’s significant public policy debates.

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

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 April 2008, these include the United States Studies
Division and the International Security Studies Division and programs on
Africa, Argentina, 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, Emerging Nanotechnologies, Energy, Environmental
Change and Security, Foresight and Governance, 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 120 books based on fellows’ research and other writing at the

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. Professional librarians
provide access 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.

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

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.
*The online application will be available here soon.* Applicants are
notified of the results of the selection process by March of the
following year.

For more details see https://www.wilsoncenter.org/programs 

Host Country
Publish Date
July 21, 2010