Dissertation Awards

Asya at APPAM Mock Poster Session

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 2015-2016 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. ($29,775)
  • 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. ($79,230)
  • 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 Pardee RAND 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. ($12,500)
  • The John M. Cazier Dissertation Awards in Sustainability 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. ($41,000)
  • The Doris Dong Dissertation Award is designed to support students who are tackling an important policy problem in a creative and original way. ($14,535)

Additional Dissertation Awards

  • The JL Foundation Award (via Jim Lovelace) is designed to support work on children and families. ($75,000)
  • The Dana G. Mead Award is designed to support students who demonstrate innovation by tackling an important policy problem in a creative and original way. ($26,000)
  • The Pardee Award is designed to support the goals of the Pardee Initiative for Global Human Progress. ($38,500)
  • The Eugene and Maxine Rosenfeld Award is designed to support research related to economic, social and/or political development in the Asia-Pacific region. ($20,000)
  • The David I. J. 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. ($27,500)
  • 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.

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.