Opportunities for Students

Radcliffe Research Partnerships

Does an engineered material that actually becomes part of the body to replace the use of metal in treating bone defects sound futuristic? It’s not. The biomedical engineer Hala Zreiqat RI ’17 spent her Radcliffe fellowship working on just that, with help from the Harvard College student and Radcliffe Research Partner Linh Nam ’20, a potential beneficiary of this revolutionary technology. Photo by Eric Kulin

The Radcliffe Research Partnership (RRP) program matches Harvard College students with Radcliffe fellows in a research and mentorship program.

Fellows act as mentors, while students provide research assistance, acquire valuable research skills, and participate in the Institute's rich intellectual life. As a Radcliffe research partner, Harvard students work side by side with a Radcliffe Institute fellow. The partnerships mirror the multidisciplinary nature of the Institute with project topics in:

  • the arts; 
  • gender studies;
  • the humanities;
  • public policy; and
  • science.

How to Apply

The official deadline for 2023–2024 applications has passed.

We will post research partnership opportunities for the 2024–2025 academic year in June.

Program Details

If you are self-motivated and interested in the subject matter of a particular RRP project, you are most likely a good candidate for this program. Radcliffe fellows will expect you to contribute your ideas, show up for pre-arranged meetings, and finish any assigned work in a timely manner. Additionally, a good candidate for this program will be able to work for a certain number of hours per week, to be discussed with the fellow (see below).

Depending on the needs of the project, research partners have helped to edit books, perform archival research, and translate articles. While literature review is a common assignment, some fellows have students writing computer code, editing films, creating art objects, organizing events, performing data collection and database management, and so on. Required special skills will be noted in the individual project descriptions. In contrast to many research assistantships, the work should not be primarily clerical.

No. The Radcliffe Research Partners program is an in-person opportunity. To be eligible to participate, Harvard College students must be registered and enrolled in courses and have legal authorization to work in the United States. To engage in the full array of research, mentorship and intellectual opportunities of the Radcliffe Research Partnership program, students will be required to visit Harvard Radcliffe Institute campus often. If your status as a registered and enrolled student changes, you must inform the RRP program administrators and your fellow as soon as possible. Only registered and enrolled Harvard College students can participate in RRP.

There are many benefits to participating in the RRP. Students have said that the mentorship and partnership gave them a sense of community and support, as fellows became their academic role models. Many students will have the opportunity to improve their knowledge and can learn new skills while working with a fellow. As Radcliffe fellows are usually on sabbatical or not teaching during their fellowship year, they may have more time to talk with you about your professional choices, graduate school, and so on.

This program allows you to work in a small group or as an individual with someone who is advanced in their field. You will be able to see how it is to have a life as a scholar, researcher, or professional artist. Because there is no pre-set curriculum, you can work with the fellow to suggest assignments for yourself that use your current skills or stretch and advance your capabilities.

Some students have made significant contributions to a project and are later listed as co-authors on articles or are thanked in book prefaces. This is not a given but is dependent on the level of contributions to the work.

As a Radcliffe research partner, you will be paid $18 per hour and work an average of 8 to 12 hours a week under the supervision of a Radcliffe fellow.

The number of hours that you work on a weekly basis depends on a discussion that you and your Radcliffe fellow have. Additionally, we encourage you to make sure you keep your fellow informed of the times you may be less available, for example, during mid-terms, finals, or spring break. If you cannot commit to the minimum weekly number of hours that the supervising fellow states during the interview, then perhaps this program is not for you. You will have the opportunity during the application process and after hiring to discuss and agree on work assignments, number of hours, your availability during the term, and how best to contact one another. The maximum number of hours you can work is 20 hours per week across all Harvard University offices.

Yes. Every year some first-year students apply and are hired. Seniors who are writing a thesis and wish to participate in this program should give the Radcliffe fellow a realistic forecast of their availability leading up to their thesis submission deadline.

This program is for Harvard College students only. Graduate students and students at the Division of Continuing Education are not eligible.

Yes—students can apply to up to two projects at a time. You must submit an application for each of the two projects that you’re interested in.

Unfortunately, no. If more than one fellow wishes to hire you, you will have to choose one to work with.

Yes—we do require a reference as part of our application. You must include your reference’s contact information. Incoming first-year students may list a non-Harvard faculty or staff reference. The person you list as a reference does not have to write a letter of recommendation, and may or may not be contacted by the Radcliffe fellow as part of the selection process.

Yes—after the deadline, we accept applications on a rolling basis until the fellows decide to close their projects. We do still advise you to apply as soon as possible.

Visit this page for a list of open opportunities. 

Visit this page for a list of open opportunities. We also update Harvard University’s Student Employment Office (SEO) with open projects on a regular basis. Please email us if you have any trouble finding positions on SEO.

Students who have participated say that communication with their fellow is key. A research partnership is not a course—it’s a working arrangement that calls for you to be proactive and reliable. If you can’t be at a meeting, it is your responsibility to communicate that to your fellow. If you want more work, let the fellow know. Most fellows are willing to arrange the partnership so that your experience can be rewarding and worthwhile.

If you have any questions, please email us at rrp@radcliffe.harvard.edu.