Tenure-Track Faculty Synergy Semester in International Affairs


  • Assistant- and associate-level Faculty Associates of the Weatherhead Center may apply for synergy semester leave grants.
  • An external review committee evaluates proposals for synergy semester leaves.
  • Within the same seven-year time frame, professors are eligible for one grant for a synergy semester leave.

To encourage the professional development of assistant and associate faculty towards excellence in teaching and creative and cutting-edge research, this competitive program awards up to three grants of $60,000 for a full semester's leave. The Center's support enables faculty to pursue research projects that, in turn, become the area of focus for an undergraduate research seminar or tutorial. In this way these grants are designed to support research for the benefit of teaching and to provide follow-up funds for the mentoring of well qualified undergraduate researchers.

The Center encourages new courses that integrate faculty research into seminar discussions and exercises. New courses proposed for the synergy semester should require students to write major independent research papers related in some way to the course and the faculty member's own research.

The synergy semester seeks to encourage faculty to train Harvard College undergraduates to engage in high quality social science research in international affairs and to prepare these undergraduates to partner actively with faculty on joint research. To this end, the grant also provides up to $2,000 to support undergraduate research assistance from a student who has excelled in the recipient professor's newly designed seminar. From such opportunities, superb senior theses and important faculty-research assistant relationships are expected to develop.

All faculty leaves supported by the Center must focus on international, transnational, global, and comparative national issues and may address contemporary or historical topics, including rigorous policy analysis, as well as the study of specific countries and regions outside the United States.

Who Is Eligible

All assistant- and associate-level Faculty Associates of the Weatherhead Center who teach undergraduates are eligible for synergy semester leave funding. Leave times must comply with the scheduling requirements of the applicant's school or faculty.

How to Apply

Any Faculty Associate interested in applying for a synergy semester leave should submit a brief but detailed narrative (six to seven pages, double-spaced) describing the research topic and its significance, the purpose and goals of that research, a brief description of the methodology to be employed, references to relevant literature, the proposed results (article, book, seminar, etc.), and how the research will be subsequently shared with the Weatherhead Center community.

Applicants must also provide a one-paragraph course proposal and a letter of support from their department chair indicating that the applicant may take a semester's leave and will be allowed to teach the proposed course at least twice. Applicants must also submit a two-page curriculum vitae that includes significant publications.

Faculty may apply either for the forthcoming academic year or for the academic year following that one.

Please direct all requests for substantive advice and all proposals to Steven B. Bloomfield.

Proposal Evaluation

Synergy semester leave proposals may be evaluated by a review committee of scholars from outside Harvard.


The deadline for proposals for synergy semester leaves is February 2, 2015.


Faculty chosen for synergy semester leaves must have an ongoing appointment at Harvard, and they will be expected to contribute to the collective intellectual life of the Center upon their return to the University. Examples of this collaboration include leading a Weatherhead Center seminar series, giving presentations on the research accomplished, or organizing a relevant workshop or conference. The faculty may also be invited to participate in a Director's Faculty Seminar designed to share new research at the Center with a broad scholarly audience. Faculty who receive support from the Center should acknowledge it in future publications of their research. All grant recipients must submit a one- to two-page memo at the end of the academic year reporting on the use of Weatherhead Center grant funds. This report should focus on the intellectual and scholarly results of the time spent on leave. Reporting memos are due June 30, 2015.

Funding Available

Funding is available for one-semester leaves and corresponds to the individual faculty member's current salary and benefits, up to $60,000 for the semester. Employment benefits are covered and continue without interruption during the time of leave. Additional funds of $2,000 are available to hire one or more undergraduate research assistants who have completed and excelled in the newly designed research seminar.

See also: Faculty Grants