The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University is now accepting fellowship applications for the 2019-2020 academic year through our annual open call. This opportunity is for those who wish to spend 2019-2020 in residence in Cambridge, MA as part of the Center's vibrant community of research and practice, and who seek to engage in collaborative, cross-disciplinary, and cross-sectoral exploration of some of the Internet's most important and compelling issues.
The Berkman Klein Center’s fellowship program provides an opportunity for some of the world’s most innovative thinkers and changemakers to come together to hone and share ideas, find camaraderie, and spawn new initiatives. The program encourages and supports fellows in an inviting and playful intellectual environment with community activities designed to foster inquiry and risk-taking; to identify and expose common threads across fellows’ individual activities; and to bring fellows into conversation with the students, staff, faculty, and broader community at the Berkman Klein Center. From their diverse backgrounds and wide-ranging physical and virtual travels, Berkman Klein Center fellows bring fresh ideas, skills, passion, and connections to the Center and our community, and from their time spent in Cambridge help build and extend new perspectives and actions back out into their home networks, communities, and fields.
A non-traditional appointment that defies any one-size-fits-all description, each Berkman Klein fellowship carries a unique set of opportunities, responsibilities, and expectations based on each fellow’s goals.
Fellows appointed through this open call come into their fellowship with a personal research agenda and set of ambitions they wish to conduct while at the Center. These might include focused study or writing projects, action-oriented meetings, the development of a set of technical tools, capacity building efforts, testing different pedagogical approaches, or efforts to intervene in public discourse and trialing new platforms for exchange. Over the course of the year fellows advance their research and contribute to the intellectual life of the Center and fellowship program activities; as they learn with and are influenced by their peers, fellows have the freedom to change and modify their plans.
In addition to each fellow’s personal research agenda, together fellows actively design and participate in weekly all-fellows sessions, working groups, skill shares, hacking and development sessions, and shared meals, as well as join in a wide-range of Berkman Klein Center events, classes, brainstorms, interactions, and projects. While engaging in both substance and process, much of what makes the fellowship program rewarding is created each year by the fellows themselves to address their own interests and priorities. These entrepreneurial, collaborative ventures – ranging at once from goal-oriented to experimental, from rigorous to humorous – ensure the dynamism of a fellowship experience, the fellowship program, and the Berkman Klein community. As well, the Center works to support our exemplary alumni network, and beyond a period of formal affiliation, community members maintain ongoing active communication and mutual support across cohorts.
Alongside and in conversation with the breadth and depth of topics explored through the Center’s research projects, fellows engage the fairly limitless expanse of Internet & society issues. Within each cohort of fellows we encourage and strive for wide inquisition and focused study, and these areas of speciality and exploration vary from fellow to fellow and year to year.
We welcome applications from people who feel that a year as a fellow in our variegated community would accelerate their efforts and contribute to their ongoing personal and professional development.
Fellows come from across the disciplinary spectrum and different life paths. Some fellows are academics, whether students, post-docs, or professors. Others come from outside academia, and are technologists, entrepreneurs, lawyers, policymakers, activists, journalists, educators, or other types of practitioners from various sectors. Many fellows wear multiple hats, and straddle different pursuits at the intersections of their capacities. Fellows might be starting, rebooting, driving forward in, questioning, or pivoting from their established careers.
Fellows are committed to spending their fellowship in concert with others guided by a heap of kindness, a critical eye, and generosity of spirit.
The fellowship selection process is a multi-dimensional mix of art and science, based on considerations that are specific to each applicant and that also consider the composition of the full fellowship class.
Applicants should submit:
(1.) A current resume or C.V.
(2.) A personal statement that responds to the following three questions. Responses to each question should be between 250-500 words; the personal statement should not exceed 1500 words total.
- What is the research you propose to conduct during a fellowship year? Please
- describe the problems are you trying to solve;
- outline the methods which might inform your research; and
- tell us about the public interest and/or the communities you aim to serve through your work.
- Why is the Berkman Klein Center the right place for you to do this work? Please share thoughts on:
- how the opportunity to engage colleagues from different backgrounds -- with a range of experiences and training in disciplines unfamiliar to you -- might stimulate your work;
- which perspectives you might seek out to help you fill in underdeveloped areas of your research;
- what kinds of topics and skills you seek to learn with the Center that are outside of your primary research focus and expertise; and
- the skills, connections, and insights you are uniquely suited to contribute to the Center’s community and activities.
- How does your personal background inform and influence your research?
(3.) A copy of a recent publication or an example of relevant work. For a written document, for instance, it should be on the order of a paper or chapter - not an entire book or dissertation - and should be in English.
(4.) Two letters of recommendation, sent directly from the reference.
(5.) Applicants will be asked in the Application Tracker to select two of the following topic areas explored at the Berkman Klein Center that resonate with their interests and research. This initial selection will help us to support building connections among fellows and between fellows and ongoing work at BKC, but is of course not meant to constrain future research and exploration. The topic areas from which to choose: Education, Libraries, & Digital Humanities; Ethics and Governance of AI; Governance of Technology & the Internet; Internet Health; Justice, Equity, & Inclusion; Media, Democracy, & Public Discourse; Privacy & Security; and Technology & the Law.
Interested persons can apply here.