Dissertation Awards at Pardee RAND

The dissertation is the culmination of a doctoral student's education and research. Pardee RAND prides itself on producing students who are interested in the world's most complex challenges and trained to tackle them using innovative methods and approaches. Because lack of funding can be a barrier to the pursuit of cutting-edge dissertation research, Pardee RAND has made it a priority to raise funds for dissertation support. Thanks to the philanthropy of our supporters, the school offers competitive dissertation awards to support work across a wide-range of policy issue areas.

All Pardee RAND dissertation fellowship awards are designed to catalyze superb policy research on some of the most challenging issues, and are awarded through a competitive process. In 2013-2014 over $360,000 of dissertation funding was awarded.

Endowed dissertation awards:

  • The James Q. Wilson Dissertation Fellowship is designed to help students explore uncharted ground and develop “the next big idea” in areas where Wilson's own scholarship revolutionized the policy debate: poverty, education, crime and criminal justice, public services, health care, immigration, race, fiscal policy and taxation, and the role of government institutions. The focus should be on improving American social, political and governing systems, with an emphasis on creative problem-solving that may or may not involve government intervention. ($33,750)
  • The Anne and James Rothenberg Dissertation Award is designed to support a dissertation that investigates how government, business, and civil society might work more effectively together to help resolve a policy problem. The particular application can be in health or national security or criminal justice or science policy or education or another area. It is hoped that the dissertation will explore techniques or processes of policy analysis which can help government, business, and civil society work better together. ($71,500)
  • The Susan Way-Smith Memorial Award was given in memory of Susan Way-Smith (Pardee RAND Graduate School Ph.D., 1992) by her friends and family. In recognition of her lifelong commitment to improving the quality of public education, this endowed fund is used to support an annual dissertation award at PRGS in the field of education. Susan was unable to do her dissertation on education because she lacked funding to do so. Her hope was that this award would enable others who came after her to follow their dream. ($9,785)

Additional dissertation awards:

  • The Cazier Award is designed to catalyze superb policy research in the field of sustainability by individuals who have academic training in the natural sciences and plan careers in sustainability policy work. ($63,750)
  • Doris Dong Seed Money Award is designed to help grow thoughtful dissertation topics. ($6,365)
  • The JL Foundation Award (via Jim Lovelace) is designed to support work on children and families. ($71,250)
  • The Mead Award is designed to support students who demonstrate innovation by tackling an important policy problem in a creative and original way. ($23,750)
  • The Pardee Award is designed to support the goals of the Pardee Initiative for Global Human Progress. ($30,000)
  • The Rosenfeld Award is designed to support research related to economic, social and/or political development in the Asia-Pacific region. ($20,000)
  • The Wang Award is designed to support thought-provoking and essential policy research on an issue related to diversity, equity and access, poverty, agricultural labor, or social welfare. ($30,000)
  • Wasserman Prize supports students beginning the doctoral dissertation process who have demonstrated an interest in undertaking policy-related research and analysis that could contribute to reducing social and economic disparities. ($5,000)


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