Djokovic Science and Innovation Fellowship

Podcast logo: Alberto Lidji and Jack P. Shonkoff share their vision for the Djokovic FellowshipIn 2016, the Center and the Novak Djokovic Foundation launched the Djokovic Science and Innovation Fellowship in an effort to contribute new, science-based innovations in early childhood development. This partnership aims to create a new generation of leaders who will leverage science for innovation in early childhood practice and policy settings. The program will foster interdisciplinary collaboration and build each fellow’s capacity to design, conduct, and translate research to benefit children who face daily adversity.

Djokovic Science and Innovation Fellowship logo

About the Fellowship & Application Requirements

The Center on the Developing Child’s Djokovic Science and Innovation Fellowship is a one-year fellowship that supports the dissertation research of Harvard University doctoral students whose independent research aligns with the mission of the Center, which is to drive science-based innovation that achieves breakthrough outcomes for children facing adversity. It provides a stipend and a series of thematic and skill-building workshops to help students grow both intellectually and professionally, with the goal of preparing the next generation of leaders to catalyze innovation that impacts the early childhood field. Award decisions are made in the Spring, and the fellowship begins the following Fall. All Harvard University doctoral students from the biological and social sciences as well as the professional schools are eligible to apply.

During the fellowship, students create a work plan for the year; attend workshops, seminars, and Center-sponsored events; explore community perspectives, policy strategies, and leadership practices; and deliver a capstone presentation. Fellows receive training in the Center’s science-based innovation approach and on strategies for effectively communicating their research. Because the fellowship experience is designed around a cohort model that prioritizes development of a learning community, fellows are expected to participate in person at all fellowship activities.

Each Djokovic Fellow is asked to identify a Harvard faculty mentor whose responsibilities include providing input on the fellowship year work plan and helping to identify an interdisciplinary group of university faculty to provide feedback at the fellow’s capstone academic roundtable presentation. There is an expectation that significant progress will be made on the fellow’s research during the year; specific benchmarks will be determined individually with input from the faculty mentor. The mentor will need to be an on-site Harvard professor to maximize engagement and participation for the duration of the fellowship year.

Candidates should have excellent academic records and defined research interests related to early childhood health, learning, and behavior. Priority will be given to candidates whose work aligns with the Center’s mission, crosses disciplinary boundaries, and offers promising new thinking in support of the healthy development of children and their families.

“This collaboration between the Novak Djokovic Foundation and the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University … will strengthen the body of research in early childhood development and education and ensure we nurture the next generation of leaders in this field.”

–Alberto Lidji, Global CEO, Novak Djokovic Foundation

 How to Apply

The application for the 2018-19 academic year is now closed. For additional questions, please see our Application FAQs.

About the Novak Djokovic Foundation

Novak Djokovic Foundation logo



Founded in 2007, the Novak Djokovic Foundation is a global organization that champions and invests in early childhood education with a focus on Serbia, a country where only one in two children has access to preschool education. It was founded on the belief that early education can transform the lives of children as well as entire communities. For more information about the Foundation, please visit:

Julius B. Richmond Fellows

Collage of headshots of previous Richmond fellowsFrom 2007-2016, the Center awarded Julius B. Richmond Fellowships to 38 doctoral students in support of their science, education, and policy research and scholarly development. Richmond Fellows will become a part of a larger network of the alumni of both fellowships. Dr. Richmond will continue to be honored at the Center through an annual “Julius B. Richmond Emerging Leaders Profile.”

Learn about the research interests of the Richmond Fellows.

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