Eligibility, Review, and Selection Criteria

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).

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 will be conducted in Sydney (for Australian applicants), Auckland (for New Zealand applicants), London (for U.K. applicants), Paris (for French applicants), Berlin or the Hague (for German and Dutch applicants), Oslo (for Norwegian applicants), and Toronto (for Canadian applicants). Interview dates will be confirmed upon submission of the Harkness Fellowship application. 

The Fund does not provide critiques of applications that are declined. Candidates are selected based on their qualifications and leadership potential; their commitment to improving health care through research and practice; the quality of their research proposal; the relevance of their proposed research to the Fund's areas of interest and to policy development in their home country; and the strength of their supporting letters.


Application Process and Suggested Themes

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. 
  • 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. 
  • Three published articles or reports.
  • *Please note that there is an additional requirement for Harkness Fellowship applicants from Australia. See below for more information. 

Candidates are encouraged to structure projects around topics presented in the Fund's List of Suggested Project Themes for Harkness Fellows in Health Care Policy and Practice, or to propose original ideas on other topics relevant to the Fund's work. All applicants are also 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.


How to Apply for the Harkness Fellowship in Health Care Policy and Practice

A PDF with detailed instructions for the online application is available here.

STEP 1 – REGISTRATION Prior to accessing the Harkness Online Application, the system will prompt you to register. Select "New User?" and enter the required information to create your account. 

STEP 2 – VERIFICATION OF REGISTRATION You will receive a verification email with the subject line "Thank you for registering! Please verify your Email." Use the link in the email to verify your account. 

STEP 3 – RETRIEVING THE ONLINE APPLICATION After you have verified your account you will receive a second email with the subject line "Welcome to the Commonwealth Community Portal for Grantees." Use the link in this email to access the login page  and begin your application. 

If you have any questions or difficulties using our online system please contact [email protected]  

Harkness Application

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we have made the difficult decision not to put out a standard call for applications for the 2021-22 Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy and Practice.

Individuals who were selected for a 2020-21 Harkness Fellowship have been given the option to defer their start date until August/September 2021. As a result, the Fund will not be accepting applications from across the eight participating countries. Should this change, any new information will be shared here as soon as these decisions are finalized.

The next standard call for applications, for the 2022-23 Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy and Practice, will be announced in spring 2021. 

Individuals to Contact for Further Information

Molly FitzGerald (all countries)
Senior Program Associate 
Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy and Practice
The Commonwealth Fund
One East 75th Street
New York, NY 10021-2692
United States
Email: [email protected]

Paolo Kraushaar
Director, Bilateral and Regional Engagement
Portfolio Strategies Division | Health Systems Policy and Primary Care Group
International and Commonwealth/State Relations Branch
Australian Government Department of Health
Email: [email protected]

Bill Callery
Senior Improvement Lead / Responsable principal de l’amélioration
Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement
Fondation canadienne pour l’amélioration des services de santé
Email: [email protected]

Isabelle Durand-Zaleski
Professor of Medicine
Researcher in Clinical Public Health
Hôpital Henri Mondor
Email: [email protected] 

Denis Raynaud
IRDES - Institut de Recherche et Documentation en Economie de la Santé
Email: [email protected]

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

Magne Nylenna
Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services
Email: [email protected]