Skip to main content

The Kempner Institute Graduate Fellowship

Benefits of the Kempner Institute Graduate Fellowship

  • Support

    Stipend, tuition, health insurance, and health fees up to and including 6th year of graduate school (i.e., six years of support for incoming first-years, five years for incoming second-years, and four years for incoming third-years)

    Ability to apply for professional development funds, including travel support, starting in year two

  • Access

    Access to educational activities including Kempner Institute courses, bootcamps, workshops, and events

    Access to one of the largest academic machine learning clusters in the world supported by an outstanding group of engineers

    Access to and participation in Kempner Institute events

    Access to shared office space, collaboration space, and use of facilities in the Kempner Institute facility in the Science and Engineering Complex

  • Collaboration

    Become part of a select cohort of exceptional students working in the same field 

    Connection to a Kempner Institute-affiliated mentor

    Work with a broad and diverse community of faculty, staff, and students including: undergraduate, post-bachelor and graduate students; Kempner fellows and visiting scientists; Institute faculty, associate faculty, and collaborators

Overview

Research

The Kempner Institute graduate fellows’ research will have a primary focus that is relevant to the Kempner mission. Nevertheless, the Kempner Institute graduate fellows will have flexibility in their research. Although they will join a research group and need to do dissertation work that has substance and continuity, they can be jointly advised, have freedom to work on their projects, and will not be tied to any advisor’s funding source.

Kempner Institute fellows will need to fulfill all requirements of their Ph.D. program, including participating in advisory committees and qualifying exams as specified by their Ph.D. program, and remain in good standing in their program.

Additionally, Kempner Institute fellows will present their research yearly at the Graduate Student Science Symposium.

Mentorship

In addition to their dissertation and Ph.D. program advisors, Kempner Institute fellows will have a Kempner Institute-affiliated mentor, with whom they will meet twice a year. This mentor will be a resource for the fellow to guide them on career development, participation in the Kempner community, course selections, research projects (at a broad level), and anything else of concern to the student.

Coursework

Kempner Institute graduate fellows are expected to embrace and train in the interdisciplinary nature of Kempner Institute-associated research, while fulfilling all the curricular requirements of their Ph.D. program. Kempner Institute fellows are encouraged to fulfill flexible electives in their Ph.D. program with courses that ensure they are exposed to all relevant disciplines, including machine learning, neuroscience, and cognitive science. Graduate fellows can (and are encouraged to) consult with the Assistant Director of Educational Programs, Ella Batty, on course selection.

Extracurricular requirements

Kempner Institute graduate fellows are expected to attend and participate in Kempner Institute fellow events as often as monthly. These events, which will take place at the Science and Engineer Complex, include workshops, social- and community-building events, journal clubs, and the Kempner Institute Graduate Student Science Symposium.

Community

Kempner Institute graduate fellows are strongly encouraged to engage in the Kempner Institute community and to take an active part in shaping its culture and offerings. This may include:

Participation in Kempner Institute events

  • Serving on committees to help plan events
  • Joining Kempner Institute events whenever possible, as a spectator or presenter
  • Supporting other students who are presenting work

Participation in Kempner Institute educational activities

  • Choosing to serve as a teaching fellow in Kempner Institute boot camps or cross-listed courses
  • Providing input for current, planned, or proposed educational coursework or offerings including seminars and reading groups
  • Serving as a peer mentor to undergraduate students or post-bachelors fellows

Participation in the Kempner Institute community

  • Engaging in efforts to welcome and include all members of the Kempner Institute community
  • Providing honest, constructive, and actionable feedback about the Kempner Institute community and efforts to enhance it
  • Starting, supporting, or leading committees or groups that engage deeply with other students across the Kempner Institute community

Additional requirements 

Aside from the above, Kempner Institute graduate fellowship recipients must complete the following to remain in good standing and continue to receive support:

  • Remain in good standing, academically or otherwise, as per the requirements of the degree program to which the student was admitted
  • Adhere to all requirements of the participation agreement
  • Submit an annual progress report of not more than two pages which includes:
    • Any presentations or meetings in which you presented work
    • Any manuscripts submitted or published
    • Any software or code developed
    • Any courses taken or workshops attended (for our own records)
    • A brief summary of your progress on research goals and objectives and goals for the coming academic year
    • Progress reports are due annually no later than October 1st

Application process 

Process: 

  • Ph.D. programs at Harvard will identify students in their applicant pool whose research interests are aligned with the Institute research mission and invite them to apply for a Kempner Institute graduate fellowship. Only those students who have been invited and have applied will be considered
  • Students already enrolled in Ph.D. programs at Harvard and in good standing will be able to apply for Kempner Institute graduate fellowships in the spring of their first and/or second years. They will be able to apply through CARAT during the application window

Materials: 

  • Signed Kempner Institute Participation & Expectations Agreement, including a commitment to open science and Kempner Institute values  
  • For incoming students:  
    • Invited applicants will receive a short application form (questions in Application-Incoming below)
  • For existing graduate students already enrolled in a Harvard Ph.D. program: 
    • Ph.D. program enrolled in or applied to  
    • Unofficial academic transcripts 
    • Letter of support from a mentor or faculty member that directly addresses: 
      • Likelihood for academic success   
      • Relevance of the proposed project to the Kempner Institute mission and vision 
      • Extent to which the applicant is likely to collaborate or conduct research across fields of study or contribute in other meaningful ways to the Kempner Institute Community  
    • Personal statement of not more than 500 words (see Application-Current below)  

Selection criteria 

The Kempner Institute will evaluate students using a holistic approach to application review. Students will be evaluated for the extent to which they demonstrate alignment with the Kempner Institute Mission, Vision, and Values, including on the basis of: 

  • Relevance of the proposed research to the Kempner Institute mission and vision 
  • Likelihood for academic success as determined by past achievement in light of the opportunities available to the student  
  • Persistence in education and research excellence 
  • Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion 
  • Extent to which the applicant is likely to collaborate or conduct research across fields of study and/or contribute in other meaningful ways to the Kempner Institute community  

Application — Incoming

Before filling out the application, please read the Kempner Institute Mission, Vision, and Values Statement.

  • Describe your experience or background in the fields of artificial intelligence, machine learning, computation neuroscience, cognitive science, or other areas relevant to the Kempner mission and vision
  • How will receiving a Kempner Institute Graduate Fellowship benefit your potential research area?
  • What abilities, talents, experiences, or other attributes will you bring to the Kempner Institute that will help further its mission?
  • Do you agree to participate in Kempner Institute activities (such as symposia, workshops, discussions, and other research activities) and to abide by the Open Science policy?

Application — Current

Before filling out the application, please read the Kempner Institute Mission, Vision, and Values Statement.

  • Describe your proposed area of research and the ways in which your research is relevant to the Kempner mission and vision.
  • Do you have experience in the fields of artificial
  • Describe your experience or background in the fields of artificial intelligence, machine learning, computation neuroscience, cognitive science, or other areas relevant to the Kempner mission and vision
  • How will receiving a Kempner Institute Graduate Fellowship benefit your research?
  • What abilities, talents, experiences, or other attributes will you bring to the Kempner Institute that will help further its mission?
  • Do you agree to participate in Kempner Institute activities (such as symposia, workshops, discussions, and other research activities) and to abide by the Open Science policy?