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Apply for a Harkness Fellowship

Fellows stand in front of Whitman-Walker health building

2022–23 Harkness Fellows during a site visit to Whitman-Walker Health in Washington, D.C.

2022–23 Harkness Fellows during a site visit to Whitman-Walker Health in Washington, D.C.

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.   

All applicants must:  

  • Be established residents of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, or the United Kingdom and eligible to receive a J1 Research Scholar Visa. In addition, applicants must be committed to continuing their career 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, and journalism, among others. If you have specific questions about whether your career path fits with the Harkness Fellowship program, please contact us.  

  • 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.  

Please note that Harkness Fellowship awards cannot be used to support study for academic degrees. In addition, the fellowship cannot be undertaken in conjunction with other programs.  

All submitted applications are reviewed by Commonwealth Fund staff and a panel of experts appointed in each of the participating countries. Following the review period, a limited number of applicants will be invited for interviews, which may be conducted either virtually or in person. If held in person, interviews will take place 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), Singapore (for Singaporean applicants), and London (for U.K. applicants). Once confirmed, interview dates will be shared directly with applicants via email.  

Applicants are short-listed for an 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 reference 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. 

2025–26 Harkness Fellowships Application

The 2025–26 Harkness Fellowship application is open for submissions from June 1, 2024 to November 1, 2024.

To access the application you will first need to register for a Harkness portal account. 


Click "Log In" and select "New User?" then fill in all the required fields. Be sure to choose "Harkness Fellowship Applicant" as pictured below:

screenshot harkness fellowship portal

If you already have a portal account click the link about and enter your credentials.

Application Process

All candidates must complete an application via the Harkness Fellowship portal, including the following:

  • Statement of professional objectives; 
  • Curriculum vitae; 
  • Preliminary project proposal (up to five pages, exclusive of references) for a policy-oriented project that fits within the Commonwealth Fund’s principal areas of interest;
  • A total of three letters of reference: one (1) Institutional / Organizational Reference from someone in a senior leadership or supervisory role within your current organization and two (2)Professional References from anyone in your network who can comment on your qualifications, accomplishments, and potential to influence health care policy and/or practice.* 
  • 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). 

*Please note that all letters of reference must be requested via the application system. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that all letters have been submitted by November 1, 2024. We recommend requesting all letters of reference as early in the application process as possible. 

In preparing an application, candidates are encouraged to review the Fund’s recent work. The proposed research project must be relevant to both the U.S. and the applicant’s 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.). 

All applicants will be notified as to whether they have been short-listed for an interview by late December 2024, and interviews will be scheduled throughout January and February 2025 (exact dates to be determined). Successful applicants should plan to arrive in the U.S. in mid to late August or early September 2025 to begin the fellowship.   

Individuals to Contact for Further Information

Molly FitzGerald
Program Manager, International Leadership Programs
The Commonwealth Fund
Email: [email protected]

Adriana Gonzalez 
Program Lead / Responsable de programme 
Healthcare Excellence Canada / Excellence en santé Canada 
Email: [email protected]/u>

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

Dean Rutherford
Deputy Director General
Evidence, Research and Innovation | Te Pou Whakamārama
Ministry of Health New Zealan
Email: [email protected]

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

Ryan Wolstenholme
Programme Manager, Personal Awards
NIHR Academy
Email: [email protected]

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