About the RSM Assembly Fellowship
Building on the Berkman Klein Center’s successful Assembly Fellowship, the RSM Assembly Fellowship aims to produce prototypes, frameworks, and other projects in the public interest, including in engineering, law, design, institutional innovation, and policy. Alongside this project work, the Fellowship aims to develop the professional community focused on (re)building social media in service of democracy and the public interest. Examples of impactful outputs from past programs at the Berkman Klein Center include Disinfodex, Data Nutrition Project, Clean Insights, as well as transformative institutions such as Creative Commons. Learn more about the past five years of Assembly here.
If you have a powerful idea, project, or plan — or parts of one — for an intervention in this space, or if you’re looking to make a more direct impact in the public interest, the RSM Assembly Fellowship might be for you.
Want more information?
Check out our informational webinar, originally hosted on Tuesday, April 19th:
Only professional-level applicants are eligible. Full-time undergraduate, Masters, and PhD students are not eligible.
International applicants: We work with the Harvard International Office (HIO) to support visa paperwork for eligible international RSM Assembly Fellows. An outline of the visa application process and requirements may be found on the HIO website at https://www.hio.harvard.edu/j-scholar-visa.
International applicants already in the US on a visa: Given the restrictive nature of the H1B sponsorship, we regretfully cannot accept H1B holders into the program. Participants on other visa types may or may not be eligible depending on the stipulations of their visa status and their host institution.
All participants must be eligible to receive a stipend; further details below.
6 months, part-time, with a combination of virtual & in-person convenings.
In-person attendance required for a one-week kickoff in mid-October 2022, a one week midpoint gathering in January 2023, and a final week at the beginning of April 2023.
This fellowship will be hybrid. In-person attendance in Cambridge is required for the first week, a midpoint, and the final week of the program. For the remaining weeks, while residency in Cambridge is not required, being co-located with the Harvard Berkman Klein Center and the Institute Visiting Scholars can be beneficial to RSM Assembly Fellows’ work.
An $18,000 stipend will be paid to all RSM Assembly Fellows. Additional travel assistance may be available on an as-needed basis.
Some important formalities: Please note that the RSM Assembly Fellowship is not considered employment, and RSM Assembly Fellows will not be entitled to severance pay or layoff benefits upon culmination of the fellowship.
If one is based in the United States but is not a United States citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (“green card” holder), one’s immigration status must allow for the receipt of an RSM Assembly Fellowship stipend.
RSM Assembly Fellows are responsible for tax reporting on their stipends. More information about fellowship stipends issued through Harvard University may be found here.
For their time spent in Cambridge, RSM Assembly Fellows will be invited to work from the Berkman Klein office space. We endeavor to provide comfortable and productive spaces for coworking and flexible use. Fellows are supported in their efforts to host small meetings and gatherings at the Berkman Klein Center (BKC) and in space on the Harvard campus. BKC’s office is wheelchair accessible, and our bathrooms are gender-neutral.
*Library Access: All RSM Assembly Fellows will be provided with access to Harvard’s extensive libraries and research facilities.
*Courses: RSM Assembly Fellows may seek opportunities to audit classes across Harvard University; however, they must individually ask for permission directly from the professor of the desired class.
*Campus Resources: RSM Assembly Fellows are welcome and encouraged to connect with Harvard University’s countless research centers, initiatives, resource groups, associations, organizations, and specialized offices.
Harvard Health Insurance and Harvard Housing:
Fellows selected through the open call are not eligible to purchase health insurance through Harvard University. They are eligible to use Harvard University housing services.
Community Principles, Policies, and Resources:
The Berkman Klein Center community, and how we interact with one another, is governed by norms and policies developed and maintained by Harvard University and Harvard Law School. The Harvard Law School Community Principles, found in the Handbook of Academic Policies, read:
The Law School’s commitments to fairness, respect for the rule of law, and free inquiry require an environment of trust and mutual respect, free expression and inquiry, and a commitment to truth, excellence, and lifelong learning. Students, program participants, faculty, staff, and alumni accept these principles when they join the Harvard Law School community and thereby agree to respect the rights, dignity, and differences of others, pursue honesty and integrity in dealing with all members of the community in person and online, and accept personal responsibility in these efforts.
Note that the Handbook has other sections applicable to BKC activities, notably the policies on Academic Honesty and Protest and Dissent.
The Berkman Klein Center maintains a page to highlight these policies, as well as other applicable policies and resources for accessing additional University support.
Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging
The work and well-being of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society are profoundly strengthened by our differences in background, culture, experience, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, age, ability, and more. We actively seek and welcome applications from people of diverse backgrounds, including Black, Indigenous, Asian, Hispanic, and Latino/Latina/Latinx people; LGBTQIA+ people; non-binary people; women; people with disabilities; people at intersections of these identities; and people from and working across the spectrum of disciplines.
About the Institute for Rebooting Social Media
To accelerate progress addressing social media’s most urgent problems, Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center (BKC) for Internet & Society is launching a three-year research initiative, the Institute for Rebooting Social Media. Conceived of by two BKC faculty directors: Professor Jonathan Zittrain, George Bemis Professor of International Law and Professor of Computer Science, and James Mickens, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science, the Institute will convene world-class practitioners, policymakers, scholars, and students to improve the future of social media and online communication. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Reid Hoffman, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, and Archewell Foundation have committed generous donations to support the new initiative.
By bringing participants together across academia, civil society, government, and industry in focused, time-bound collaboration the Institute will build a portfolio of programming, research, and educational opportunities to accelerate progress in improving the state of the digital social space. Participants will be encouraged to address a wide range of some of today’s thorniest challenges related to social media, such as mis- and disinformation, privacy, harassment, and content governance, as well as positive manifestations of what a healthy information ecosystem could look like.
The deadline for this application has passed.
Applications will be submitted online through the Berkman Klein Application Tracker.
Instructions for creating an account and submitting an application through BKC’s Application Tracker may be found here.
The application has four parts: 1) About me, 2) Project idea, 3) References (Names, titles, & contact info for two references. We will contact references only for finalists. These are not recommendation letters, just the contact info of references that can speak to your professional abilities, work style, and personal attributes.) and 4) Voluntary demographic questions. You will also be asked to upload your Resume/CV and a project sample (could be previous work or a sample of your proposed project; eg. a policy draft / technical documentation / a project overview deck / etc.).
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1) I have an idea for a project related to social media but I’m unsure if it is the right fit for the RSM Assembly Fellowship. Should I still apply?
Yes! We encourage submissions from a wide-range of interests, topics, and ideas, as long as they are related to social media.
2) Will each fellow work on an individual project or can fellows collaborate?
While we ask each applicant to submit a project idea in your proposal, and this is designed to be a fellowship where you pursue the projects you apply with, we are open to merging or collaboration between participants based on complementary skill sets and shared interests, if the opportunity arises organically.
3) How far along should my project be? Should it be just an idea or something that is already underway or even near completion?
We are looking to support impactful projects that will maximally benefit from a 6-month hybrid Fellowship. If you have a great idea and can map out accomplishing something significant in 6 months, you should apply with that. If you have a project already underway (in any stage) and that will benefit from the support this Fellowship offers, you should apply with that. Applicants will be evaluated by their idea and their ability to execute on it — in other words, the project should be well scoped!
4) I would like to submit a project that I have been working on with a collaborator or group. Should we submit a joint application or each apply separately?
For this fellowship, we are only accepting individual applications. We recommend that the project team choose one person to apply to represent the project, indicating collaborator(s) in the application. Only those that go through the application process and are selected would become “RSM Assembly Fellows” and participate in the full program, but depending on how many Fellows do have collaborators, we will design some virtual programming to incorporate or include them.
5) Does RSM expect to have any license or rights over the projects developed during the fellowship?
RSM expects that projects developed during the Fellowship will be made available under open-source licenses to ensure broad distribution and dissemination.
6) I am a professional but am also a part time student. Can I still apply?
Yes, you are eligible! However, we urge you to consider the time commitment that this program requires to ensure you can fulfill your project goals within the timeframe of the fellowship.
7) Is it possible to participate without accepting the stipend?
Yes! While the stipend is available to all fellows, fellows are not required to accept it.
8) Are the in-person weeks mandatory?
Yes, in-person time is critical for building community and will be a mandatory requirement of accepting the fellowship. Our hope is that with sufficient advance notice and the support of the stipend, Fellows can make arrangements with their employers to decrease their workloads during the fellowship so that they can get the most out of the time. .
9) Are you offering any feedback on submissions, proposals, or applications?
Due to the large number of applications that we receive, we will not offer individual feedback.
10) What precautions are you taking against COVID-19?
We follow guidance set by Harvard University. Currently we are planning to have three in-person weeks during the Fellowship. However, should COVID-19 prevent us from doing so, we will adapt the Fellowship accordingly. Please learn more about Harvard COVID-19 protocols here.
Additional questions, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.