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Harvard University Inequality in America Initiative 2024-25 Postdoctoral Fellowship in Cambridge, Massachusetts


Title Inequality in America Initiative 2024-25 Postdoctoral Fellowship

School Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Department/Area Division of Social Science

Position Description

Social and economic inequality are urgent problems for our society, with implications for a range of outcomes from economic growth and political stability to crime, public health, family wellbeing, and social trust. The Inequality in America Initiative seeks applications from recent doctoral (or equivalent) degree recipients interested in joining an interdisciplinary network of Harvard researchers who are working to address the multiple challenges of inequality in the United States. This postdoctoral training program is intended to seed new research directions; facilitate collaboration across disciplines; and develop new leaders in the study of inequality who can publish at the highest level, reach the widest audience, and impact policy.

We expect to appoint up to four fellows in the fall of 2024, with two positions dedicated to scholars whose research focuses specifically on issues of racial and ethnic inequality and at least one whose research focuses on work, family, and opportunity.

Expectations and Conditions

  • Each fellow is expected to pursue original research and, in particular, to make substantial progress on new work that is significantly distinct from the dissertation. Fellows are expected to complete a working paper that represents a new line of research by the end of the second year. Each fellow will have an opportunity during the fellowship period to convene a manuscript workshop inviting 2-4 outside scholars to review and comment on their research in progress.

  • Fellows are expected to be in residence at Harvard for the duration of the fellowship, with the exception of the summer months. Fellows who need to be off-site for longer than two weeks during regular term time must seek approval from the program director.

  • The fellows will co-organize a research workshop that will convene IAI affiliates on a monthly basis for the purpose of presenting and discussing work in progress. Each fellow will present in the workshop at least once per year.

  • Fellows are expected to participate in the activities of the Inequality in America Initiative, including but not limited to the research workshop.

  • The program director will connect fellows with Harvard faculty mentors, and fellows will have ample opportunity and encouragement to make connections with faculty and students from across the University.

  • Fellows may be able to extend the postdoctoral fellowship to a non-stipendiary third year, subject to approval of the program director and conditional on the fellow securing their own funding, potentially through teaching at Harvard.

    The Award

The fellowship is a two-year postdoctoral training program, with an annual salary of $76,500/year and fringe benefits, including health insurance eligibility.

The award will also include office space and up to $17,500 for research expenses across the two years, including computer equipment and travel. We will provide $3000 toward relocation expenses for anyone moving from out of state (total includes withheld taxes, per US law; net will be included with second paycheck) and up to $3000 toward a manuscript workshop in the second year.

See more at

Basic Qualifications

Applicants to the fall 2024 program must have received a doctorate or terminal degree no earlier than April 2021; those applicants without a doctorate or terminal degree must demonstrate that they will receive such a degree no later than August 2024.

If you have not completed your graduate program, please still make sure to include your doctorate and anticipated degree date in the Educational Background section.

Additional Qualifications

Internal (Harvard-affiliated) candidates please note: Those who received terminal degrees from Harvard, and postdocs currently on a one-year term at Harvard, are eligible for the fellowship but must propose new projects that are significantly distinct from their current research and that are intended to forge new connections within the University. Harvard candidates should not propose to continue to work with the same advisors or research groups with whom they are currently associated. No candidate should propose to work extensively with his or her thesis advisor.

Special Instructions


Applications, excluding letters of recommendation, must be submitted by 11:59 PM EST ( UTC -5), Thursday, November 16, 2023.

The application must include the following in order to be reviewed:

  • A short (1 page) cover letter explaining your interest in the IAI specifically, including a succinct statement of your goals during the period of the fellowship. In addition, if there are specific Harvard faculty (whether or not currently affiliated with the IAI ) whose research interests you, please feel free to list up to five names. (Applicants are not expected to have already formed a relationship with any Harvard faculty, and, in fact, should not contact faculty directly during the application process.)

  • A CV.

  • A 2- to 4-page (<2000 words) research statement that includes a brief description of your dissertation or other recent research and a more detailed proposal for the project(s) you will pursue during the fellowship, including an explanation of the broader impacts of your research. Keep in mind that applications are reviewed by faculty from a wide variety of disciplines and subfields, so it’s important that the goals and impacts of your research (and your methods, to the extent possible) are explained in such a way that non-specialists can easily understand their significance.

  • One chapter- or article-length writing sample, no more than 25 pages. The writing sample may be an excerpt from a longer work, and may be published or unpublished, but should relate to your proposed topic and be clearly identified (i.e., if it’s an excerpt, please note the source and list any co-authors).

  • The names and email addresses of 3 referees, who will be asked via a system-generated email to upload their letters of recommendation once the application has been submitted. Three letters of recommendation are required, and incomplete applications will not be reviewed.


Letters of recommendation must be received no later than 11:59 PM Eastern, Wednesday, November 29, 2023.

Please make sure you have supplied current and accurate email addresses for your referees, and please monitor your application ( to make sure the letters have been submitted. Due to the volume of applications we receive, we simply do not have time to track down missing letters.

You may use Interfolio. Interfolio provides you with a unique email address for each letter of recommendation. You need to obtain that address from Interfolio and enter it in the section of your application that requests your reference provider’s email address. (Once again, please double-check this email address for accuracy.) Complete instructions are available at the Interfolio Help Center ( .

Contact Information

Jennifer Shephard

FAS Social Science Division

University Hall 3 South

Harvard University

Cambridge MA 02138

Contact Email

Equal Opportunity Employer

Harvard is an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, age, protected veteran status, disability, genetic information, military service, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or other protected status. We are strongly committed to creating and supporting a diverse workforce. Minorities and women are especially encouraged to apply.

Minimum Number of References Required 3

Maximum Number of References Allowed 3


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