Radcliffe is Harvard’s Institute for Advanced Study. It is a cross-disciplinary laboratory of ideas that brings together students, scholars, and practitioners to engage with issues that can only be fully understood by drawing on research from across the humanities, sciences, social sciences, arts, and professions.

Radcliffe is unique among Harvard schools: Although we do not award degrees, we offer unparalleled opportunities for undergraduates and graduate students. Radcliffe provides learning and research experiences that are difficult to find in a traditional classroom setting. Radcliffe students work directly with our fellows and faculty, providing unique opportunities for mentorship, and they work across departmental boundaries, connecting with peers across the University. The Institute enriches the Harvard student experience by fostering interdisciplinary, engaged scholarship focused on the most pressing issues of our time.

Radcliffe Research Teams

We invite Harvard undergraduate students to apply to join a faculty-led Radcliffe Research Team this summer. The program provides students with meaningful research experiences and mentorship, along with pay for their contributions to the faculty member’s cutting-edge research. The program will be conducted entirely online this year. Undergraduate students hired as members of a research team will be paid a rate of $15/hour for their work. 

How to Apply

Summer 2020 Radcliffe Research Team Opportunities

Grant Programs

We invite Harvard undergraduate and graduate students to apply for summer stipends of $1,500 to support their research, service, and creative projects related to the topic of Harvard and the legacy of slavery or to the Radcliffe Engaged focus areas of 1) law, education, and justice and 2) youth leadership. Grant recipients will join virtual cohorts and receive mentoring and support from staff and faculty members and from each other. All summer grant applications are due by noon ET on Monday, June 8.   

Radcliffe Engaged Focus Areas

The 2020 Radcliffe Engaged Summer Grant Program provides $1,500 summer stipends per project to support the research, creative, and service work of Harvard undergraduate and graduate students on topics related to the Radcliffe Engaged focus areas:  

  • law, education, and justice (exploring how historically high rates of incarceration in the United States constitute a crisis with broad social, educational, and family impacts); and  
  • youth leadership (supporting the cultivation of civic engagement, problem solving, and leadership among young people as a critical component of a healthy democratic society).  

Proposed projects can explore academic research, creative pursuits (such as those using art, writing, or multimedia), or the design of an original service project. Students may submit applications as individuals or groups; however, we can accept only one application per project. All work must be completed by the end of August 2020. 

Grant recipients will join a virtual summer student cohort and receive mentoring and support from Radcliffe staff and faculty members and from each other. 

Proposals must include a concept note of no more than 750 words outlining:  

  • the project’s title and purpose;  
  • the work it entails and the anticipated outcome; and  
  • how it relates to one of the Radcliffe Engaged focus areas. 

Applications are due by noon ET on Monday, June 8, 2020Apply here. We will convey funding decisions by June 19, 2020.   

Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery

The 2020 Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery Summer Grant Program provides $1,500 summer stipends per project to support the research and creative work of Harvard undergraduate and graduate students on the topic of Harvard and the legacy of slavery, broadly defined. 

Projects may (but need not) be connected to courses, and we welcome a wide range of submissions including works of art, multimedia projects, and other creative endeavors as well as traditional research undertakings. Topics of focus may include, but are not limited to:  

  • Harvard, legacies of slavery, and the Boston-Cambridge community; 
  • legacies of slavery and the sciences at Harvard;  
  • legacies of slavery in Harvard museums and archives;  
  • Harvard and legacies of slavery in the context of Caribbean nations;  
  • and slavery, adversity, and contemporary campus life.  

Students may submit applications as individuals or groups; however, we can only accept one application per project. All work should be completed by the end of August 2020.  

Grant recipients will join a virtual summer student cohort and receive mentoring and support from Radcliffe staff and faculty members and from each other. 

Proposals must include a concept note of no more than 750 words outlining the project’s title and purpose, the work it entails and anticipated outcome(s), and the value it would add to understanding and reckoning with the legacy of slavery at Harvard. 

Applications are due by noon ET on Monday, June 8, 2020. Apply here. We will convey funding decisions by June 19, 2020. 

Summer Grants FAQs

Who is eligible to apply for summer 2020 student grants? 

Any current undergraduate or graduate student at Harvard is eligible to apply.  

How can I decide which program is best for my project or research? 

Projects for the Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery grant program must explicitly connect to Harvard, whether directly (e.g., the legacy of slavery and contemporary Harvard campus life) or indirectly (e.g., the influence of Harvard policies, practices, and affiliated individuals on other institutions and communities). Projects for the Radcliffe Engaged Focus Area grant program do not need to connect to Harvard.  

If I have several projects, may I submit more than one proposal at a time? 

Yes. Proposals for different projects may be submitted at one time. However, there can only be one application per project (e.g., two students cannot submit two different applications for the same project).  

What do reviewers seek in applications? 

Reviewers look for innovative, interdisciplinary projects that demonstrate clarity of purpose, a good thematic fit with the relevant initiative, and clear intended outcome(s).  

Note: Service projects submitted under the Radcliffe Engaged Focus Area grant program must be grounded in research on relevant topic(s).   

When does my project need to be completed? 

All summer projects must be completed by the end of August 2020.  

Note: For Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery projects, recipients may request an extension if the necessary resources (e.g., archival documents) are unavailable due to closures. 

Are there any requirements upon completion of the project? 

Grant recipients will be required to submit a brief final report on their project by the end of August. They will also be asked whether they would be willing to present their project (at a public event, to the selection committee, or in another setting, as appropriate). 

Are there restrictions on how to spend the stipend? 

Funds cannot be used for travel or travel-related expenses, in accordance with University guidelines. 

If there are two applicants on a project, does each get $1,500? 

No. The stipend amount is per project, not per individual. 

More questions? 

Please contact Kristen Kravet, student engagement lead, at kristen_osborne@radcliffe.harvard.edu.  

Virtual Student Events 

Virtual student events create opportunities for students to gain priority access to our speakers, connect and share projects with one another, and encourage students to reflect upon pressing social issues. Radcliffe will hold a series of these free virtual programs over the summer, and we welcome student participation. To receive invitations to these student-only events, sign up here

Emerging Leaders Program

Harvard undergraduates are invited to apply to be mentors to local high school students as part of the Emerging Leaders Program. Beginning in fall 2020, the program will unite Harvard students and high school–aged youth in a leadership development and mentoring program for the exploration and deeper understanding of social change movements, challenging them to create team-based projects to address issues of community concern. 

Mindful of uncertainties around the fall 2020 semester, please fill out this brief interest form if you would like to be notified when the mentor application goes live later this summer. We also encourage you to nominate someone you think would be a good fit.

Program Overview

What is the Emerging Leaders Program?

The Emerging Leaders Program is a new mentorship initiative at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study designed to bring together Harvard students motivated about social change and leadership with high school students from the surrounding Cambridge area. Drawing upon Radcliffe’s unique history, the holdings of the Schlesinger Library, and partnerships with local schools, the curriculum will focus on leadership development, the history of social movements, and practical civic engagement skill development. The program’s goal is to spark dialogue that leads to real-world impact, empowering those who might not traditionally view themselves as leaders.

Why join the Emerging Leaders Program?

If you are interested in connecting with, inspiring, and mentoring high school students on topics of leadership, social activism, and civic engagement, this program is perfect for you. Mentors will enhance their own perspectives on leadership and learn hands-on knowledge and skills while guiding their mentees through the program. Your cohort of mentors will also engage in training and reflection sessions together, providing opportunities to meet classmates outside your own program or extracurricular network. Rising sophomores and juniors are invited to apply. 

What is the program structure and expected time commitment?

The Emerging Leaders Program runs for the full academic year. Mentors will participate in a series of two-hour sessions with mentees in addition to the mentor trainings and reflection sessions. The curriculum has four main parts: a social movements module, a leadership development module, a civic engagement practicum, and a community capstone.

How do I join the Emerging Leaders Program?

If you are a rising sophomore or junior at Harvard College, please fill out our quick mentor interest form here! Mindful of current uncertainties about the nature of the fall semester, the full mentor application will be released in late summer/early fall. We are actively exploring how the program may be adapted depending on different scenarios for the fall.

What if I am not a rising sophomore or junior?

If you know of any rising sophomores or juniors who you think would be great mentors, we would love for you to nominate them here!

I have more questions about the Emerging Leaders Program. Who should I contact?

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Kristen Kravet (kristen_osborne@radcliffe.harvard.edu) or Abbie Cohen (abbie_cohen@radcliffe.harvard.edu) with any questions.

Priority Registration

Harvard students receive priority registration for a variety of public events. Recent examples include “Vision & Justice (which featured a performance by Wynton Marsalis and a panel discussion with Yara Shahidi, among other dynamic speakers) and “Radical Commitments: The Life and Legacy of Angela Davis,” which culminated in a keynote conversation with Angela Davis herself.