Partnering in Education Research (PIER) Fellowship

Project Status: Current
Location: Cambridge, MA (and various summer residency sites to be determined)
Become a Fellow: (Applications are closed at this time.)
Hire a PIER Fellow: Job Market Candidates
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The Partnering in Education Research (PIER) Fellowship is designed to train Harvard University doctoral students on how to conduct quantitative education research in partnership with school districts and state education agencies.

PIER Fellows will learn how to:

  • identify questions that are compelling to state and local policymakers as well as to their fellow academics;
  • work with leaders not trained in research methods, but who have a deep appreciation of the implementation challenges created by “academic” research designs;
  • assemble and analyze administrative data—the vast bulk of which was not collected with research in mind; and
  • present to multiple audiences, including the district and state leaders who might act on the results and who control the data for future projects.

Harvard’s Partnering in Education Research Program Awarded Funding to Continue Training Future Education Scholars

August 5, 2020

Cambridge, MA (August 5, 2020) The Partnering in Education Research (PIER) Fellowship, an initiative of the Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR) at Harvard University, has received $4.5 million in funding from the federal Institute of Education Sciences to transform the way the next generation of education researchers are trained.

Launched in 2015 in collaboration with the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), the PIER Fellowship gives Harvard graduate students opportunities to work with...

Read more about Harvard’s Partnering in Education Research Program Awarded Funding to Continue Training Future Education Scholars

In addition to the benefit of working alongside Harvard faculty and partners, fellows will receive supplemental stipends for their participation in the program.

  • G-2 doctoral year: Up to $2,500 stipend in addition to the standard Harvard GSAS stipend.
  • G-3 & G-4 doctoral years: $28,000 stipend in return for 17.5 hours per week (50% time) spent on their research apprenticeship.
  • Summer: Fellows who participate in a non-local internship will receive $8,000 in addition to the standard summer stipend to pay for housing and transportation.
  • Professional support: $2,000 per year to support research, travel, and conference participation.

Application Requirements
• Research statement (1000-1200 words)
• Curriculum Vitae (2-page maximum)
• Unofficial copy of Harvard academic transcript
• Two faculty letters of recommendation, with a third optional non-faculty/professional letter

Ph.D. students in social science disciplines at HGSE, HKS, and FAS who are U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents are eligible to apply for fellowships that will start in their second or third year of study. Fellows will receive three years of support if starting the PIER program in their G-2 doctoral year, and two years of support if starting in their G-3 doctoral year. 

Selection Criteria
Applications will be evaluated on the basis of academic promise, the analytic promise of the applicant’s research interests, and the match between the applicant's interests and the strengths of our program and faculty.

The PIER program provides a two-year fellowship for students entering their second or third year of study (current G-1s and G-2s). If you are selected as a PIER Fellow, you will receive the following training and opportunities:

Proseminar Series
Leaders in the field will share how research projects evolved, the challenges they faced, and how they were resolved along the way. The mechanics of executing research projects will also be discussed, which includes topics such as IRB protocols, data transfer and security, and working with longitudinal administrative data.

Policy Internship
Fellows will develop more insight into the role research can and should play in management, as well as a deep knowledge of the agency’s data and the senior relationships necessary for ongoing research partnerships. This will include a 10-week residency on site at an education agency during the summer after the fellow's first year in the program. 

Coursework in Quantitative Methods and Education Policy
Harvard has constructed flexible requirements to ensure an understanding of both quantitative methods and education policy that can also be counted towards a fellow’s program requirements.
See list of potential courses

Research Apprenticeship
Fellows will receive a stipend to spend 17.5 hours per week conducting research on projects led by a faculty mentor during their G-3 year and G-4 doctoral years,. Fellows will learn data assembly and exploratory data analysis, as well as develop work suitable for publication in peer reviewed journals.

Independent Research
The additional funding will allow fellows to reduce their teaching load and focus on independent research. Fellows will be asked to present their work to both faculty and partner education agencies—providing them with experience communicating with different types of audiences.

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