Dissertation Awards

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The Pardee RAND Graduate School promotes the research and writing of innovative and exceptional dissertations through its annual Dissertation Award Competition.

Thanks to the support of many generous donors, each year the School is able to provide students on dissertation status with funding ranging from $5,000 to $50,000. These awards support dissertations on a wide range of topics.

All Pardee RAND dissertation awards are designed to catalyze superb policy research on some of the most challenging issues, and are awarded through a competitive process. In 2019-2020, $350,000 in dissertation funding was awarded.

Awards Available from Pardee RAND

John M. Cazier Dissertation Award in Sustainability

Total available: up to $50,635

These awards are designed to initiate critical research in environmental sustainability policy and launch the careers of students motivated to pursue research and innovation in this field. The awards will be given to students who identify a compelling policy problem in the area of sustainability and propose research that could lead to innovative and creative solutions to this problem. Students are encouraged to think seriously about current threats to our environment and standard of living, broadly defined, and the use of science, technology and policy to address them. While many of the problems may require a deep knowledge of science and technology, proposals for research that focuses on less technical solutions will also be considered. Sustainability is defined as the existence of conditions and processes necessary and sufficient to enable future humans to sustain cultural levels not less advanced than our own.

The Doris Dong Dissertation Award

Total available: up to $14,800

This award is designed to support students who are tackling an important policy problem in a creative and original way.

The JL Foundation Dissertation Award (via Jim Lovelace)

Total available: up to $75,000

These awards of up to $47,500 are made through the JL Foundation to support dissertations on issues related to children and families.

The Pardee Dissertation Award for Global Human Progress

Total available: up to $50,000

This award is designed to support original and highly creative approaches to solving a policy challenge that affects the developing world especially in Asia or Africa. The dissertation should be in the current area of focus of the Pardee Initiative for Global Human Progress and lead to developing implementable solutions to global or multinational challenges in Asia or Africa.

The Eugene Rosenfeld Dissertation Award

Total available: up to $20,000

This award is designed to support a dissertation that explores an issue related to the economic, social and/or political development of a country or set of countries in Asia. Exploration of the impact of policies adopted and developments outside of Asia that are likely to have a significant effect on Asia will also be considered. Topics of interest include (but are not limited to) policies to aid growth in the region, poverty reduction and pro-poor growth policies, social impact of rapid growth, health policies, demographic changes and their impact, interaction between individual country development and regional development, and policies to promote entrepreneurship. The approach is expected to be analytical enough to further knowledge on relevant methodologies to explore the region and explore issues that have hitherto received limited attention, but applied enough to be of interest to groups other than researchers – policymakers in governments, businesses, and the informed public.

The Anne and James Rothenberg Dissertation Award

Total available: up to $78,945

These awards are designed to support dissertations that investigate how government, business, and civil society might work more effectively together to help resolve a policy problem. The particular application can be in health, national security, criminal justice, science policy, education, or another area. It is hoped that the dissertations will explore techniques or processes of policy analysis that can help government, business, and civil society work better together.

Susan Way-Smith Memorial Award

Total available: up to $14,915

The Susan Way-Smith Memorial Award is given in memory of Susan Way-Smith, a Pardee RAND alumna who demonstrated a passion for improving public education throughout her career. The funds support dissertations on education policy.

The James Q. Wilson Dissertation Fellowship

Total available: up to $41,572

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.

The Charles Wolf Jr. Dissertation Fellowship

Total available: up to $10,640

Established in honor of the founding dean of the Pardee RAND Graduate School and renowned economist, researcher, educator, and advisor to governments and business, this award is designed to support students whose work goes beyond the conventional wisdom of the moment. Given the focus of Dr. Wolf’s research, special consideration will be given to dissertations dealing with international or transnational economic or security issues.

Additional Dissertation Awards

Students may also receive dissertation support from outside organizations, such as the National Institutes of Health or the Environmental Protection Agency. Pardee RAND maintains a list of outside dissertation funding opportunities for which students can apply.