20-25 residential fellowships, Washington D.C.

Deadline: 1/10/2010
Open to: individuals with project proposals in social sciences and humanities
Stipend: regular salary

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars 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

More information can be found here.

Selection Process

Fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis. External interdisciplinary panels of distinguished scholars and practitioners assess the applications. 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.
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.

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).


Fellowship applications must be postmarked or submitted online by October 1. Please read the details by clicking here.

The application should include:

  • The application:
  1. the two-page, single-sided Fellowship Application Form
  2. a list of your publications (not to exceed three pages)
  3. a Project Proposal (not to exceed five single-spaced pages, using 12-point type)
  4. 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

More information can be found on the official website.

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