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Open Call for Fellowship Applications, Academic Year 2012-2013

December 19, 2011 Update: We are no longer accepting applications for 2012-2013 academic year fellowships though our open call for applications.  You can check out our fellowship page to learn of other fellowships we may have open, join the community through participation at events, or sign up for one of our listservs to be notified of new opportunities, events, or research.


The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University has opened our yearly call for fellowship applications. This opportunity is for those who wish to spend the 2012-2013 academic year as a fellow conducting research with the Berkman community.

We invite people who are working on issues related to Internet and society who are familiar to us as well as those who are not; those working on issues that overlap with ongoing Berkman interests and those who will expose us to new opportunities and approaches; scholars, practitioners, innovators and others committed to understanding and advancing the public interest; and people just beginning their work, in the midst of it, or eager to reflect.

Through this annual open call, we seek to advance our work and give it new direction, and to deepen and broaden our community.

About Berkman’s Fellowship Program

Berkman Center fellowships provide the opportunity for innovative thinkers and changemakers to hone and share ideas, find camaraderie, and spawn new initiatives. The program aims to encourage and support fellows in an inviting and rigorous intellectual environment, with community activities designed to foster inquiry and collaboration. With Berkman faculty, students, staff, and other affiliates, fellows help to develop and advance Berkman Center projects, and learn and teach through courses, curricula and diverse gatherings.

Together fellows actively participate in exchanges through a weekly fellows hour, various online media, fellows-run working groups, and a wide-range of events and interactions. Much of what makes the fellowship program rewarding is created each year by the fellows themselves to address their own interests and priorities. These innovative, entrepreneurial, collaborative ventures – ranging from goal-oriented to experimental, from rigorous to humorous – are what ensure the dynamism of the fellows, the fellowship program and the Berkman community.

Fellows are essential to the Berkman Center as nodes of intelligence, insight, energy, and knowledge-sharing. From their diverse backgrounds and wide-ranging physical and virtual travels, fellows bring fresh ideas, skills, passion and connections to the Center, and from their time spent in Cambridge help build and extend new perspectives and initiatives out into the world.

About Berkman Fellowships

An appointment that defies one-size-fits-all description, each Berkman fellowship carries a unique set of opportunities, responsibilities and expectations. All fellows engage issues related to the fairly limitless expanse of Internet & society issues, and are committed to the intellectual life of the Center and fellowship program activities. Some fellows work as researchers directly on Berkman Center projects. Other fellowships consist of independent work, such as the research and writing of a manuscript or series of papers, an event, or the development and implementation of a project or a study on issues related to the Berkman Center’s areas of inquiry. Each Berkman fellow develops and coordinates their fellowship workplan with the Center’s directors and staff.

Fellowship terms typically run the course of the academic year, roughly from the beginning of September through the end of May. In some cases, the period of appointment does not align with the US academic year. In some instances, fellows are re-appointed for consecutive fellowship terms.

While we embrace our many virtual connections, spending time together in person remains essential. In order to maximize their engagement with the community, fellows are expected to routinely spend time in and conduct much of their work from Cambridge, in most cases requiring residency. Tuesdays hold particular importance as it is the day the fellows community meets for a weekly fellows hour, in addition to it being the day we host our public luncheon series; as such, we ask that fellows commit to spending as many Tuesdays at the Center as is possible.


While fellowships are extremely competitive and our standards are accordingly high, we do not have a defined set of requirements for the fellows we select through our open call; we welcome applications from a wildly diverse pool of individuals.

Fellows come from across the disciplinary spectrum, different life paths, and are at all stages of career development. Some fellows are academics, whether students, post-docs or professors. Others come from outside academia, and include lawyers, philosophers, activists, technologists, entrepreneurs, journalists and other types of practitioners.

The commonality between all Berkman fellows is an interest in the Internet and a commitment to spending the period of their fellowship studying it.

Commitment to Diversity

The work and well-being of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society are strengthened profoundly by the diversity of our network and our differences in background, culture, experience, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, and much more. We actively seek and welcome applications from people of color, women, the LGBTQ community, and persons with disabilities, as well as applications from researchers and practitioners from across the spectrum of disciplines and methods. The roots of this deep commitment are many and, appropriately, diverse. We are not nearly far enough along in this regard, and we may never be. It is a constant process in which there remains much to learn. We welcome your inquiries, comments and ideas on how we may continue to improve.

Stipends, Benefits, and Access to University Resources

Stipends: Fellowships awarded through the open call for applications are rarely stipended. Some fellows receive partial stipends –the award of such a stipend is based on the nature of the responsibilities the applicant would assume while a fellow, and their relation, relevance, and application to Berkman’s funded projects. Most fellows receive no direct funding or stipend through the Berkman Center, but rather have obtained funding through other means, such as an outside grant or award, a home institution, or other forms of scholarship.

Benefits: Fringe benefits do not routinely accompany Berkman fellowships. Fellows must make their own housing, insurance, childcare, and transportation arrangements.

Office Space: Most Berkman fellows work out of the greater-Boston area and spend a significant amount of time at the Berkman Center. There are many desks and workspaces available for flexible use at the Berkman Center, though few fellows are given their own permanent desk or office. We endeavor to provide comfortable and productive spaces for fellows to work, even if it is not the same space each day. Fellows are welcome to host small meetings and gatherings at the Center and on the Harvard campus.

Access to University Resources: A Harvard ID is a key into many of Harvard’s resources, including access to the Harvard library network (including checkout privileges and access to the University’s e-resources), the ability to purchase University health insurance, and the ability to purchase Harvard gym membership. At present, we are not able to routinely provide Harvard IDs to fellows, though some IDs are issued based on need, funding, and other administrative reasons. Berkman fellows bringing their own funding via scholarships or other financial support have the opportunity to pay the University appointment fees necessary to issue an ID. Physical access into Langdell Library (the Harvard Law School Library) can be arranged for all Berkman fellows. Berkman fellows wishing to audit classes at Harvard University must ask permission directly from the professor of the desired class.

Additional Information about the Berkman Center

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University is a research program founded to explore cyberspace, share in its study, and help pioneer its development. Founded in 1997, through a generous gift from Jack N. and Lillian R. Berkman, the Center now is home to an ever-growing community of faculty, fellows, staff, and affiliates working on projects that span the intersections among innovation, democracy, learning, law, technology, and policy. More information can be found at:

Required Application Materials

1.) A current resume or CV.

2.) A personal statement which should a) frame your motivation for applying for a Berkman Center fellowship and b) outline the work you propose to conduct during a fellowship. This statement should be roughly 1,000 – 1,500 words or a multi-media equivalent.

3.) A copy of a recent publication or piece of your work that is related to Internet research. It should be on the order of a paper, chapter, or presentation - not an entire book or dissertation - and should be in English.

4.) Two letters of reference, to be sent directly from the referrer to Rebecca Tabasky at rtabasky at

To Apply for a 2012-2013 Academic Year Fellowship Through Our Open Call

Applications will be completed through a combination of online webform submission (through which you will submit information and attach digital copies of application materials 1-3) and receipt of the letters of recommendation directly from your references.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through 11:59 p.m. ET on December 18, 2011. Incomplete applications and applications received after the application deadline will not be accepted or reviewed.

Our online application webform can be found at:

Letters of recommendation should be sent directly from the referrer to Rebecca Tabasky at



If you have further questions about our open call for fellowship applications, please check out our fellowship program FAQ where you might find an answer.

If you have questions that are not addressed in our FAQ, please contact Rebecca Tabasky at