Commonwealth Fund’s Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy and Practice 2019/20

The Commonwealth Fund invites applications for Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy and Practice 2019-2020. The Harkness Fellowships provide a unique opportunity for mid-career health services researchers and practitioners from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and the United Kingdom to spend up to 12 months in the United States, conducting original research and working with leading U.S. health policy experts.

Commonwealth Fund’s Harkness Fellowships

Fellows work with leading U.S. experts to study health care delivery reforms and critical issues on the health policy agenda in both the U.S. and their home countries. A rich program of seminars organized by the Fund throughout the year further enhances the fellowship experience.



Each Harkness Fellowship awards up to U.S. $130,000, which covers:

  • Roundtrip airfare to the United States;
  • A fixed monthly stipend for U.S. living expenses;
  • Set up and shipping allowances;
  • Support toward the portion of the project conducted in the home country, if appropriate;
  • Funds for project-related travel, case studies, conferences and research expenses;
  • Travel funds to attend seminars including:  Harkness Fellows Orientation, Commonwealth Fund International Symposium on Health Care Policy; Washington Health Policy Briefing; Final Reporting Seminar; and AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting;
  • Institutional allowance for U.S. mentor/placement;
  • Health insurance coverage while in the United States;
  • U.S. and state taxes.

A supplemental allowance of approximately $60,000 —including roundtrip airfare, living allowance, and health insurance—is also provided to Fellows accompanied by a spouse and/or children up to age 18.

In some cases, Fellows may opt to arrange paid leave from their home institution in lieu of the fellowship monthly stipend to maintain their current income. Where partial home institution salary support is provided during the fellowship, a monthly supplement is available.

Eligibility for Commonwealth Fund’s Harkness Fellowships

Harkness Fellowships are designed for mid-career professionals who are committed to advancing health policy and practice in The Commonwealth Fund’s principal areas of interest: improving health insurance coverage and access to care; and improving the quality and efficiency of health care services. Projects may include comparisons between the United States and the applicant’s home country. Fellowships are not awarded to support study for academic degrees. All applicants must:

  • Be citizens of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, or the United Kingdom. Applicants who are not citizens of the country in which they are applying must have permanent residency and have lived in that country for at least the last three years. Such applicants must also be committed to pursuing careers in the country from which they are selected.
  • Show significant promise as a policy-oriented health services researcher or practitioner (clinician, health services manager, government official, or journalist);
  • Have a demonstrated expertise in health policy issues and a track record of informing health policy through research, policy analysis, health services, or clinical leadership;
  • Have a master’s degree or doctorate (or the equivalent thereof) in health care services, health policy research, or a related discipline, such as economics or political science (consideration may be given to candidates with a bachelor’s degree only, depending on work experience); and
  • If academically based, be at a mid-career level (e.g., research fellow to senior lecturer).

Requirements for Commonwealth Fund’s Harkness Fellowships

  • Fellows are expected to publish the results of their fellowship research in a peer-reviewed journal and/or in a report for Health Ministers and senior government officials. Fellows’ research findings are also formally presented at the Harkness Fellows’ annual final reporting seminar.
  • In addition to the reporting and publication requirements, Fellows are also expected to attend the seminars and policy briefings organized by the Fund. These include orientation, a qualitative research methodology workshop, the International Symposium, the Washington Policy Briefing, and the Final Reporting Seminar.
  • Fellows also participate in a series of leadership seminars organized by the Fund throughout the year, with U.S. health care leaders drawn from government, politics, health care organizations, and academia. A full schedule of these activities is provided to each Fellow prior to their arrival in the U.S

Application for Commonwealth Fund’s Harkness Fellowships


  • September 4, 2018: Australia and New Zealand
  • November 12, 2018: Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom
  • December 2018–January 2019 Selection of new Harkness Fellows
  • August–September 2019 Starting dates for the new class of Harkness Fellows

All candidates must complete a formal application, including:

  • Statement of professional objectives;
  • Curriculum vitae;
  • Preliminary proposal (up to five pages) for a policy-oriented research project that fits within the Fund’s national program areas;
  • Letter of reference from the applicant’s department chair or from the director of his or her institution (more than one applicant may apply from the same institution. To see a copy of the letter that we will send as instructions for the institutional/organizational letter of referenceclick here.
  • Three professional references from senior health policy researchers, policymakers, or senior level managers, who can comment on the applicant’s past work and the potential contribution of his or her proposed project. To see a copy of the letter that we will send as instructions for the professional letter of reference, click here.
  • Three published articles or reports.

Candidates are encouraged to structure projects around topics presented in the Fund’s List of Suggested Projects for Harkness Fellows in Health Care Policy and Practice, or to propose original ideas on other topics relevant to the Fund’s work. The list is available for downloading at left.

All applicants are also strongly encouraged to explore what U.S. datasets are available related to their proposed project. Applicants may download a list of examples of such datasets, as well as further resources for identifying related datasets or ongoing projects.

Please click here to access the application form.

For more information, visit Harkness Fellowships.


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