Ash Center Devotes $150,000 in Grants Exploring Democracy’s Challenges

Contact: Kate Hoagland
Phone: 617-495-4347
Date: February 04, 2013

The Ash Center's Challenges to Democracy Grant program will award $150,000 in funding support for HKS faculty workshops and doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships. Kennedy School doctoral students and faculty as well as post-doctoral students from the wider academic community are encouraged to apply by April 1, 2013.

The Center will grant awards for HKS faculty-led seminars or workshops, up to $10,000 each for a total of $40,000; doctoral fellowships for HKS and other Harvard graduate students, up to $30,000 per year for up to two fellowships; and post-doctoral fellowships, up to $50,000 per year for one fellowship. Award decisions will be made by late April by a committee composed of the Ash Center director, the Democracy, Politics, and Institutions (DPI) Area chair, and senior DPI faculty. Awards will be given for work beginning in the summer of the current 2012-13 academic year or for the 2013-14 academic year. Funding preference is given to grant proposals that enhance one of the following key areas of Center research:

  • Democracy in Hard Places: In many regions of the world, democratic institutions and practices have not taken root. What causes democratic shifts and sustains them in countries that are new to democracy or have historical factors that pose challenges to democracy? What democratic practices and methods are most promising in these contexts?
  • Innovations in Democracy: Even in the oldest democracies, democratic practices fall far short of the ideals of political equality, inclusion, legitimacy, and popular sovereignty. What causes the institutions we have to fall short? What laws, politics, and practices can achieve democracy that is more true to its core ideals?
  • Public Sector Innovations: What are the most creative and promising local and regional innovations that solve urgent public problems such as unsustainable economic development, unfair distribution of resources, inadequate service delivery, poor quality of education, and weak physical and institutional infrastructure?

Started in the spring of 2012, the Challenges to Democracy Grant program is designed to foster research on the nature of democracy and bridge the gap between its ideals and often imperfect practice in the real world. Center funding supports studies in both mature and established democracies as well as those in the developing world. read more

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