Doctoral Fellowships

The Ash Center awards several dissertation research fellowships to Harvard Kennedy School Ph.D. candidates or other Harvard University students in related fields.


Doctoral dissertation topics should fall within the parameters of the Center’s work on democratic governance. The Center particularly encourages applications from doctoral students writing about issues of democracy in “hard places”; citizen participation; government innovations at the regional and local level, and questions specific to South-East Asia. Candidates should have an excellent academic record and well-defined research objectives. Preference will be given to applicants whose projects have progressed beyond the conceptual stages of the research.


The fellowship will provide up to $30,000 annual stipend and work space at the Ash Center for two fellowships.

How to Apply

To apply for the 2014-2015 fellowship, please submit a two to three page explanation of the nature and current status of the dissertation, a resume, sample chapter(s) or other examples of professional writing, and the names of two faculty members who can be consulted as references. Email your proposal by October 1, 2013 to Juanne Zhao, Program Assistant, Democratic Governance Program at the Ash Center ( Questions should be directed to Bruce Jackan, Associate Director for Democracy, Students, and Fellows Programs (

2013 Doctoral Fellow Announced

  • Jonathan Bruno, a joint J.D./Ph.D. student at Harvard Law School and Harvard Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Government Department - Bruno’s dissertation examines the concept of transparency in modern democratic theory and practice, with special emphasis on the United States and its political institutions. His research provides an account of transparency’s genesis and historical development in our political imagination, as well as a normative framework through which transparency practices can be assessed.
  • Jennifer Pan, a Ph.D. candidate in the Harvard Government Department - Pan’s dissertation research on the variation in social welfare provision among Chinese cities sheds light on how responsiveness occurs in a regime without electoral competition—whether it is via state institutions, extra-formal means, or capable leadership, and to whom state officials are responsive—whether it is top down influences or bottom up pressures from citizens or businesses.

HKS Students