Eligibility, Review, and Selection Criteria

Harkness Fellowships are designed for midcareer professionals who are committed to advancing health policy and practice in the Commonwealth Fund’s principal areas of interest: improving health insurance coverage, access to care, the quality and efficiency of care delivery, and advancing health equity. 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 from which they are applying must have permanent residency and have lived in that country for at least the past three years. All applicants also must be committed to pursuing careers in the country from which they are applying. 

  • Show significant promise as a policy-oriented health care leader. Fellows come from a variety of backgrounds: government/policy, health services research, clinical practice, health care management, journalism, etc. 

  • Have a demonstrated expertise in health policy issues and a track record of informing health policy through research, policy analysis, care delivery, or clinical leadership. 

  • Propose a research project that is relevant to both the U.S. and their home country and is focused on creating policy or system-level change. 

  • Have the relevant education and work experience to carry out the proposed research and take full advantage of the fellowship experience. 

People from historically marginalized backgrounds and/or populations underrepresented in health policy and health care delivery are strongly encouraged to apply. 

All applications are reviewed by Fund staff and a panel of experts appointed in each of the participating countries. A limited number of applicants will be invited for interviews, which may be conducted virtually or in-person in Sydney (for Australian applicants), Toronto (for Canadian applicants), Paris (for French applicants), Berlin or the Hague (for German and Dutch applicants), Auckland (for New Zealand applicants), Oslo (for Norwegian applicants), and London (for U.K. applicants). Once confirmed, interview dates will be posted here and shared directly with applicants. 

Applicants are short-listed for interview based on their qualifications, leadership potential, and commitment to improving health care; the quality and policy relevance of the proposed research project; and the strength of the references letters submitted on their behalf. While the Fund does not provide critiques of applications that are declined, qualified applicants are encouraged to reapply in future years.

Application Process

All candidates must complete an online application, including:

  • Statement of professional objectives;

  • Curriculum vitae;

  • Preliminary proposal (up to five pages, exclusive of references) for a policy-oriented research project that fits within the Commonwealth Fund’s principal areas of interest;

  • One (1) letter of reference from the applicant’s department chair or institutional director (more than one applicant may apply from the same institution); 

  • Three (3) additional letters of reference from individuals who can comment on the applicant’s past work and the potential contribution of their proposed research project; 

  • Three (3) examples of work products, such as journal articles, reports, or other pieces of writing (if submitting unpublished products, please add a description of the piece/its purpose). 

In preparing an application, candidates should review the Funds recent work. The proposed research project must be relevant to both the U.S. and their home country and be focused on creating policy or system-level change. For quantitative research proposals, candidates must explore the availability and accessibility of data sets. For qualitative proposals, they must consider how they will collect data (document review, interviews, focus groups, etc.). 

2022–23 Harkness Fellowships Application

The Commonwealth Fund invites qualified individuals from France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and the United Kingdom* to apply to the 2022–23 Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy and Practice. People from historically marginalized backgrounds and/or populations underrepresented in health policy and health care delivery fields are strongly encouraged to apply.

The application will remain open from June 30, 2021, through November 1, 2021.

To access the Harkness Fellowship application, you must first register for a Fellowship Portal account here. Please note that even if you have previously applied for a Harkness Fellowship you will need to register for an account, as we have transitioned to a new application system.

Once registered, you can begin working on the application by logging in to the Fellowship Portal. Be sure to save your work frequently as you move through the application. You can logout at any time and return to the application when ready to continue working.

If you experience any technical difficulty, please contact Molly FitzGerald ([email protected]wf.org).

* Due to the pandemic, for 2022–23 we are not accepting applications from Australia or Canada. We encourage interested individuals from these countries to join our email list to receive updates on the 2023–24 application cycle.

Individuals to Contact for Further Information

Molly FitzGerald
Senior Program Associate
The Commonwealth Fund
Email: [email protected]

Louise Starr
Director, Bilateral and Regional Engagement
International Strategies Branch | Portfolio Strategies Division
Australian Government Department of Health
Email: [email protected]

Bill Callery
Senior Improvement Lead, Knowledge Translation
Healthcare Excellence Canada
Email: [email protected]

Natacha Lemaire
General Rapporteur
Ministère des solidarités et de la santé
Email: [email protected]

Sarah Turner
Deputy Director-General
Office of the Director-General
New Zealand Ministry of Health
Email: [email protected]

Signe Flottorp
Research Director
Division for Health Services
Norwegian Institute of Public Health
Email: [email protected]

Gareth O’Brien
Senior Programme Manager, Personal Awards
NIHR Academy
Email: [email protected]

Ruth Thorlby
Assistant Director of Policy
The Health Foundation
Email: [email protected]