the initiative

Fellowships and Job Opportunities




The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative offers a limited number of research fellowships in the field of leadership, management, and innovation in cities. The research fellow will work with the guidance of faculty on research and curriculum development projects that will address topics including cross-sector collaboration, teaming, public narrative, and leadership development. The work will involve a variety of research methods including case-studies, surveys, impact assessment, and possibly experimental research. Research fellows will be working both independently and collaboratively on teams. They will participate as full members of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative team and will join a robust, exciting, and multi-disciplinary environment that spans multiple departments and schools across Harvard University.


Research, Analysis, and Design

  • Identify, collect, synthesize, and analyze primary and secondary source data.

  • Establish interview protocols, plan research visits to cities, and conduct interviews.

  • Review and summarize literature.

  • Create, disseminate, and analyze surveys.

Writing and Editing

  • Draft articles, cases, teaching notes, and other artifacts for practitioner and academic audiences.

  • Present output in clear and compelling prose.

  • Edit and prepare content for publication.

Management, Coordination, and Presentation

  • Prepare for research visits with leaders in cities.

  • Project manage all aspects of research work, providing clear milestones and markers of progress.

  • Manage delivery and presentation of research output.

This position is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


  • Advanced degree in a relevant field of academic study.

  • The ability to communicate persuasively, concisely, and clearly in writing. Academic writing experience a plus.

  • Understanding of the leadership, managerial, and organizational challenges associated with governing cities.

  • Familiarity with the academic and professional literature on mayoral leadership, urban governance, public sector innovation, etc.

  • Demonstrated understanding of executive education.

  • Familiarity with methods of academic research including case-study design and its application.

  • A track record of delivering on commitments, and operating with speed, accuracy, and strong judgment.

  • The ability to work effectively both independently and collaboratively, and recognize which one is most appropriate at which time.

  • Intellectual curiosity and passion for public sector innovation.

  • A relentless work ethic—coupled with an enthusiasm for rolling up their sleeves to do whatever it takes to get work done—whether strategic and/or routine and mundane.

  • Excellent interpersonal skills; the ability to ask insightful and probing questions while keeping people at ease.


Each fellowship will run for a period of one year with the possibility of extension. Research fellows will receive a salary, health benefits, shared office space at the Ash Center, and access to Harvard’s libraries and online library services.


To apply, send an email to with the following:

  1. Cover letter (one page maximum)

  2. Resume/CV

  3. Writing sample

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and will not be considered complete until all elements are received. Applicants chosen to move forward in the hiring process will be required to participate in multiple interviews and to submit references.


Each year, the initiative supports 40 cities around the world, anchored by the participation of a mayor and two senior officials in each city crucial to effecting organizational change. Each cohort kicks off with an in-person program comprised of several days of classes and workshops facilitated by Harvard faculty. Beyond the core classes, over the course of the following year, participating cities are provided with deeper programming, services, support, and staff development to advance key practices in their city halls.

The program manager will serve an integral role in working with cities, faculty, and partners to build, manage, and improve this yearlong programming and support.


Service/Support Execution

  • Serve as a product manager for a subset of the services offered to participants.

  • Manage build, delivery and execution of programming intended to enable cities to improve a key practice over the course of the year – ensuring various interdependent components work effectively in concert.

  • Drive ongoing improvement in services and support provided.

Service/Support Design

  • Working with the initiative’s leadership and faculty, develop and pilot new services and partnerships that support participants in their development as leaders, in applying the learning from the initiative, and in improving the capacity to solve problems in their cities.

Nurture a Network of Support

  • Leverage, build, and maintain a network of partners, faculty, and practitioners that can share information and insight in support of the initiative’s participants.

  • Connect participants to relevant innovations, solutions, and approaches to common problems across cities.

Manage Engagements with Cities

  • Serve as primary liaison for a portfolio of participants in ten to twelve cities, maintaining in-depth understanding of organizational priorities, and the ways in which the initiative’s services and support can advance their progress. 

  • Provide first-rate follow-up and support to participants.

 Contribute to Overall Program Design

  • Share insights gathered from interaction with cities with relevant Bloomberg Harvard colleagues to inform and shape various facets of the design of the initiative: including programming, assessment of impact, and development of content.

Team Advancement

  • Foster and contribute to a culture of excellence grounded in learning, problem solving, and teamwork.

  • Collaborate with colleagues to identify recommendations for programmatic improvements.

Basic Qualifications

Bachelor's Degree and 7 years of progressively responsible experience inclusive of supporting cities, working for cities or other similarly complex organizations, or providing technical assistance to cities on innovation, strategy, operations, or service delivery.

Additional Qualifications

  • MBA or MPA preferred.

  • Understanding of the leadership, managerial, and organizational challenges associated with governing cities.

  • Demonstrated familiarity with methods, strategies, and approaches to leader development, innovation, managing change, and/or organizational development – especially within municipal government.

  • Strong customer service orientation and persistent follow-through in service of clients.

  • Strong team-builder with an ability to build productive relationships and lead work across all levels across a diverse organization.

  • Track record with mayors and executive leaders a plus.

  • Skill in managing multiple diverse activities simultaneously, delivering on commitments, and operating with speed, accuracy, and strong judgment.

  • An ability to drive to big picture goals while maintaining a strong attention to detail.

  • Proven organizational, creative problem-solving and analytical skills.

  • A relentless work ethic—coupled with an enthusiasm for rolling up their sleeves to do whatever it takes to get work done—whether strategic and/or routine and mundane.

  • Excellent interpersonal skills that resonate with audiences of different backgrounds.

  • The ability to communicate persuasively, concisely, and clearly in speech and writing.

  • Proficiency in Microsoft Excel, Visio, Project, and PowerPoint.

Additional Information

This position is a fully benefits-eligible term appointment ending September 30, 2020 with very strong possibility of renewal.  

The Ash Center is a vibrant and values-driven community. We are committed to diversity and welcome people of varied backgrounds, cultures, experiences, and disciplines. We actively seek applications from people of color, women, the LGBTQIA+ community, military veterans, persons with disabilities and underrepresented backgrounds. Harvard University requires pre-employment references and background checks. Harvard University is committed to supporting a healthy, sustainable learning and working environment.

EEO Statement

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.

To Apply

Please apply through the Harvard University job portal here.