The Population Reference Bureau (PRB) is now accepting applications for its 2015-2016 Policy Communication Fellows Program. The program is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). It is open to individuals from developing countries currently enrolled in academic institutions pursuing doctoral programs and who are between their 3rd and 5th year of studies. Developing-country applicants may be in any field of study but their research focus must be related to one or more of the following:

  • Family planning and/or reproductive health (FP/RH).
  • Maternal and child health (MCH), specifically family planning/MCH integration.
  • Contraceptive use/behavior.
  • Population growth.
  • Adolescent reproductive health.
  • Poverty, health equity, and connections with reproductive health.
  • Gender issues, specifically gender-based violence (GBV), early marriage, and male engagement in family planning.
  • Population, health, and environment interrelations.

The goals of the Policy Fellows Program are:

  • To understand the process by which research informs the policy environment.
  • To learn various ways to communicate findings to policy audiences.
  • To improve participants’ ability to communicate in written and oral formats.

The Policy Fellows Program, initiated in the 1980s, has close to 400 alumni. The program aims to bridge the gap between research findings and the policy development process. While research often has profound policy implications, it must be communicated effectively to a variety of nontechnical audiences in order to have an impact.

Program Information

The program has three parts:

Washington Workshop: Participants will attend a two-week workshop at PRB in Washington, D.C., scheduled for Aug. 3-14, 2015. During the workshop the participants interact with PRB staff and outside experts active in policy research and communications. This workshop focuses on the role of research in the policy process and on techniques for effective communication of research findings to decisionmakers. During the workshop, participants are asked to work with their own research data to identify the policy relevance of their findings; Fellows learn how to draw implications of those findings and how to communicate them effectively to policy audiences.

Practicum: During the 2015-2016 academic year, Fellows will apply the lessons learned at the Washington workshop to prepare two written assignments and an oral presentation for policy audiences, based on their dissertations or related research topics. During the year, Fellows receive feedback from PRB staff on their work. A written policy brief, usually based on the Fellows' own research, and a 12-minute policy presentation are discussed and presented at the PAA workshop.

PAA Workshop: The Fellows formally present their research findings at a workshop that will be held prior to the 2016 Population Association of America (PAA) Annual Meeting. During the workshop, Fellows make 12-minute policy presentations to the other Fellows and to PRB and guest discussants. The workshop offers an opportunity to use skills learned at the summer workshop, as well as to obtain feedback on the policy brief and presentation.

PRB covers travel, lodging, and per diem expenses for each Fellow to attend the Washington workshop and the PAA Annual Meeting. PRB pays for the PAA registration for each Fellow and awards stipends of $2,000 to cover Fellows' research expenses.

Who Should Apply

All participants must be citizens of developing countries that are supported by USAID population and health funding. View the list of eligible countries.

In addition, participants must be currently enrolled in doctoral programs at reputable academic institutions, and between their 3rd and 5th year of studies. PRB gives priority to applicants whose research is focused on the topic areas noted above and who are in an early stage of their research career. This program takes place in English, and applicants must demonstrate that they can effectively communicate their research in English through their application materials.

Application Information

The deadline for applications has been extended to Feb. 19 (previously Feb. 5). The Fellowship awards will be announced in March 2015.

Applicants must submit the following to PRB:

  • A cover letter stating why you wish to participate in this program.
  • An application form. (Please download the pdf and save it to your computer before you start filling out the form.)
  • An updated resume with a full list of educational and other professional activities.
  • A two- or three-page summary of the proposed dissertation research.
  • Two letters of reference sent directly from the person writing the reference (via e-mail).

Read answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the program.

Completed applications or questions about the program should be sent via e-mail to: policyfellows2015@prb.org.