January 2013 Update: We are no longer accepting applications for 2013-2014 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 2013-2014 academic year in residence in Cambridge, MA as part of Berkman's community of pioneers, and who seek to deeply engage in the collaborative, cross-disciplinary, and cross-sectoral exploration of some of the Internet's most interesting, challenging, and compelling issues.
We invite applications from those who are working on issues related to Internet and society who are familiar with the work of the Berkman Center as well as those who are not; those studying 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; those who come from and have interest in countries industrialized or developing; and people just beginning their work, in the midst of it, or eager to reflect upon it.
Through this annual open call, we seek to advance our work and give it new direction, and to deepen and broaden our community. We welcome you to read more about the program below, and to consider joining us as a fellow!
About Berkman’s Fellowship Program
“The Berkman Center's mission is to explore and understand cyberspace; to study its development, dynamics, norms, and standards; and to assess the need or lack thereof for laws and sanctions.
We are a research center, premised on the observation that what we seek to learn is not already recorded. Our method is to build out into cyberspace, record data as we go, self-study, and share. Our mode is entrepreneurial nonprofit.”
Inspired by our mission statement, the Berkman Center’s fellowship program provides the opportunity for some of the world’s most 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 to identify and expose the common threads across fellows’ individual activities.
Fellows actively participate in exchanges through a weekly fellows hour, fellows-run working groups, and a wide-range of Berkman Center events and interactions. 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 from goal-oriented to experimental, from rigorous to humorous – are what ensure the dynamism of the fellows, the fellowship program, and the Berkman community.
Additionally, with Berkman faculty, students, staff, and other affiliates, fellows help to develop and advance their own work and Berkman Center projects, and they learn and teach through courses, hacking and development sessions, cultural productions, and other diverse gatherings.
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, Berkman Center 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, the vision and planning of an action-oriented meeting, or the development and implementation of an initiative or a study on issues related to the Berkman Center’s areas of inquiry.
Fellowship terms typically run the course of the academic year, roughly from the beginning of September through the end of May. 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, during their fellowship terms 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 Berkman hosts 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 intersections of the Internet and related emergent technologies, social change, and policy and regulatory change, and a commitment to spending their fellowship exploring those dynamics in concert with others.
To learn more about the work and interests of our current community of fellows, you can read their bios and find links to their outstanding work at http://cyber.harvard.edu/people/fellows, read their blogs at http://cyber.harvard.edu/planet/current/, and find them on the twittersphere in our list of Berkman community members at https://twitter.com/i/#!/berkmancenter/current-people-projects.
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: Fellows are allowed physical access into Langdell Library (the Harvard Law School Library), and fellows are able to acquire a Special Borrower Card for privileges with the Harvard College Libraries. At present, we do not routinely provide access to the University’s e-resources by way of individual logins, however the e-resources are accessible within the libraries. Fellows do not have the ability to purchase University health insurance, get Harvard housing, or purchase Harvard gym membership. 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 is home to an ever-growing community of faculty, fellows, staff, and affiliates working on projects that span the broad range of intersections between cyberspace, technology, and society. More information can be found at http://cyber.harvard.edu.
Frequently Asked Questions
More information about fellows selection and the application process can be found on our Fellows Program FAQ at http://cyber.harvard.edu/getinvolved/fellowships/faq.
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 should be a multi-media equivalent.
3.) A copy of a recent publication or an example of your work that is related to Internet research and inquiry. If it is a written document, 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 recommendation, sent directly from the reference.
In addition to the above materials, we will ask applicants to share some additional information in a form as part of the application.
1.) Disciplinary background: Up to three disciplines in which you have been trained and/or have worked.
2.) Tags: Five tags that describe or represent the themes, issues, or ideas you know about and on which you propose to conduct work during a fellowship at Berkman; and five tags that represent work, themes, issues, or ideas that you do not currently know much about, but would like to explore and learn more about during a fellowship year. Each tag should be one- to three- words or terms.
3.) Berkman projects of interest.