Science and Innovation Fellowship — FAQs

Frequently asked questions about the Science and Innovation Fellowship application are provided below.

Science and Innovation Fellowship Logo

What is the deadline for submitting the application?
The Science and Innovation Fellowship at the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard will be on pause for the 2022–2023 academic year and will not be recruiting a cohort.

When can applicants expect to hear back?
The Center typically reaches a final decision by mid-April; all applicants will be notified soon after that.

What are the required components of the application?

Is the Science and Innovation Fellowship limited to doctoral students who have already passed their qualifying exams?
No, we do not limit the fellowship to students who have passed their exams, although the fellowship is more helpful to students who are ready to engage in the writing phase of their dissertations. Students who apply have already completed their course requirements and are focusing on their research.

Are fellows required to attend all fellowship activities throughout the year?
Yes. Because the fellowship experience is designed around a cohort model that prioritizes development of a learning community, fellows are expected to participate in person (or virtually via Zoom in 2022-2023) at all fellowship activities.


What should my Statement of Interest include?
The Statement of Interest consists of three required sections (with approx. 550 words per section): Personal Essay, Research Focus and Its Implications; and Leadership Capacity and Vision. It represents an opportunity to introduce yourself as well as your career aspirations. You should describe your research agenda, its connection to the Center’s mission, and the implications it may have for catalyzing innovative thinking or action in early childhood policy or practice. Include your leadership experiences as well as any additional relevant information about your background. Please be sure that when you describe your research topic and its connection to the Center, you include your research question along with the current status of your dissertation research. Provide a detailed description of the scope of the research you want to focus on in your fellowship year.

What is the word/page limit for the Statement of Interest? Does the word limit include references, or can I include those in the endnotes?
Each required section of the statement of interest is limited to 550 words or approximately 1 page per section. Be sure to use clear, succinct language. The word/page limit does not include endnotes.

Is there a preferred format of the Statement of Interest (e.g., Times, 12 point, double-spaced)?
There is no preferred format. Font and spacing options are your choice.

The members of my doctoral Advisory/Dissertation Committee have not been finalized. Is that OK?
Please complete as much information as you can, under the Names of Advisory/Dissertation Committee Members portion of the application form, and indicate if their status is pending or confirmed.


How do I obtain an official transcript?
Official transcripts must be requested from your school’s Registrars’ office or from the National Student Clearinghouse. NOTE: Requests may take 2-4 weeks to process, and this may be longer during holidays. The National Student Clearinghouse and the services that deliver printed transcripts (such as the US Postal Service and overnight services) are closed for major holidays. As a result, requests for printed and mailed transcripts will be delayed. It is the applicant’s responsibility to confirm that transcript will arrive by the application deadline. Harvard University offices will be closed from Friday, December 24, 2021, until Monday, January 3, 2022.

Some schools no longer process official transcripts and may direct all requests to be placed online through the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC). If you have questions, please contact NSC directly at or (703) 742-4200.

How do I submit my official transcript?
School Registrar or NSC should submit official transcripts to: OR mail hard copies of official transcripts to:
Science and Innovation Fellowship
c/o Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University
50 Church Street, 4th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138

Do I have to submit my master’s program and undergraduate transcripts, too?
It is not necessary to submit your master’s program and undergraduate transcripts, although if your master’s degree studies were completed at Harvard, they are most likely included in your official transcript.

If my transcript is delayed and arrives past the deadline, is that permissible?
Please indicate on the application that your transcript is on its way and when we can expect to receive it. Be sure to email this information to


What does the letter of recommendation from a Harvard faculty member need to include?
The letter of recommendation from the Harvard faculty member who has agreed to serve as your fellowship mentor should include:

  • Details on your capacity to draw on the program’s scaffold to advance your work;
  • The importance of your research to innovating in practice or policy contexts; and
  • Any additional relevant details on your background.

How should my letter of recommendation be submitted?
The Harvard faculty fellowship mentor should complete the letter on department letterhead, and email it as a PDF to: by the application deadline. The email subject line should be: SIF.Rec.Ltr.StudentLastName

One of my mentors is at another university. Would it be okay to get a letter from her, even though she is not a Harvard faculty member?
For the purpose of this fellowship, your primary mentor needs to be an on-site Harvard professor to maximize engagement and participation for the duration of the fellowship year.

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