Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy and Practice

The Commonwealth Fund’s Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy and Practice for 2022-23 provide a unique leadership development opportunity for mid-career research professionals who are committed to advancing healthcare policy and practice.

Co-funded in the UK by the NIHR and The Health Foundation, the Harkness Fellowships funds successful applicants to spend a year in the United States (US) conducting internationally comparative research with mentorship from leading US experts.

The Harkness Fellowships was first offered in 1925 and provides dedicated research funding to allow Fellows to:

  • gain an in-depth understanding of the US healthcare system and policy landscape
  • engage in a series of leadership development activities
  • build a robust network for cross-national exchange and collaboration

Successful applicants will also become a member of the NIHR Academy – a community that provides access to events, networking, leadership development and online training.


The fellowship provides dedicated research funding and a generous living stipend, including round-trip airfare, a fixed monthly stipend for living expenses, health insurance coverage, and payment of US federal and state withholding taxes. An additional family supplement is provided to fellows accompanied by a partner and/or children under the age of 18.

Fellows are encouraged to seek salary support from their home-country employer, particularly if coming from a for-profit organisation. In some cases, Fellows may opt to arrange paid leave from their home institution (in lieu of receiving the monthly living stipend) to maintain their current income. If partial salary support is provided by a Fellow’s home institution, it will be supplemented by the Commonwealth Fund to meet the amount of the monthly living stipend.

Eligibility criteria

All applicants must:

  • be mid-career professionals committed to advancing health policy and practice in the Commonwealth Fund’s principal areas of interest: improving health insurance coverage, access to care, the quality and efficiency of care delivery, and advancing health equity. Fellowships are not awarded to support study for academic degrees
  • be citizens of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and Norway. Applicants who are not citizens of the country from which they are applying must have permanent residency and have lived in that country for at least the past three years. All applicants also must be committed to pursuing careers in the country from which they are applying
  • show significant promise as a policy-oriented health care leader. Fellows come from a variety of backgrounds: government/policy, health services research, clinical practice, health care management, journalism, etc.
  • have demonstrated expertise in health policy issues and a track record of informing health policy through research, policy analysis, care delivery, or clinical leadership
  • propose a research project that is relevant to both the US and their home country and is focused on creating policy or system-level change
  • have the relevant education and work experience to carry out the proposed research and take full advantage of the fellowship experience

People from historically marginalised backgrounds and/or populations underrepresented in health policy and health care delivery are strongly encouraged to apply.

Nominate candidates

The Commonwealth Fund is also seeking the nomination of candidates for the Harkness Fellowships. Anyone who knows a suitable applicant should fill in the nomination form.

Please contact Gareth O’Brien for more information on academy@nihr.ac.uk

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