Tenure-Track Faculty Synergy Semesters and Faculty Research-Semester Leaves in International Affairs


  • All Faculty Associates of the Weatherhead Center may apply for semester-leave grants.
    • Assistant- and associate-level Faculty Associates of the Weatherhead Center may apply for synergy semester leave grants requiring course development.
    • Tenure-track and senior Faculty Associates may apply for research-semester leaves with no course-development requirement.
  • Within a seven-year time frame, Faculty Associates are eligible for one research-semester leave.

The Center believes that one of the most important forms of support for faculty members is the opportunity for a sustained period of research. Each year the Center considers proposals from Weatherhead Center Faculty Associates for awards that provide salary support for one-semester faculty leaves to conduct research relating to the core interests of the Center. This research focuses on international, transnational, global, and comparative national topics 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.

Tenure-Track Faculty Synergy Semester in International Affairs

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 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.

Faculty Research Semester Leaves

Faculty research leaves will be awarded mostly to complement “entitled” one-term sabbatical leaves for a second semester of research. These awards will be made on the merits of the proposed research and its connection to the Weatherhead Center’s research focus as well as to the faculty member’s prior service to the Center.

Who Is Eligible

All Faculty Associates of the Weatherhead Center are eligible for research-semester leave funding. Decisions to award tenure-track faculty requests for leave are based primarily on the faculty member’s research. The evaluation of senior-faculty leaves will be related both to the quality of the proposed research and to past community service to the Center.

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 research 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 proposed methodology, references to relevant literature, the proposed results (article, book, seminar, etc.), and how the research will be shared with the Weatherhead Center community.

Applicants for synergy grants 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.

All applicants must also submit a two-page curriculum vitae that includes significant publications.

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

Proposal Evaluation

Research-semester leave proposals may be evaluated by a review committee of scholars from outside Harvard that is asked to look for ground-breaking research projects.


The deadline every year for proposals for faculty research semester leaves is February 1.


Faculty chosen for research semester leaves are recognized as Weatherhead Center Distinguished Faculty Research Associates, and tenure-track faculty recipients shall be named C. Douglas Dillon Fellows in honor of the support provided to the Center by the Dillon family. Faculty who receive these grants 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 the Director’s Faculty Seminar designed to share new research at the Center with a broad faculty 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.

Funding Available

Funding is available for one-semester leaves and corresponds to the individual faculty member’s current salary and benefits, up to $120,000 for the semester. Employment benefits are covered and continue without interruption during the time of leave.

See also: Faculty Grants