Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies

The Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies’ mission is to improve well-being around the world by better understanding the interaction of demographic changes with social and economic development. Havard Center’s goal is to produce population-based evidence that will better inform policies needed to create healthy and vital societies.

The goal is to conduct research, dissemination and public engagement that will enable societies to be more responsive to demographic transitions in terms of policies and culture change. To that end, in broad strokes, Harvard Center’s areas of primary interest are: Social & Environmental Determinants of Population Health, Aging Societies, Population Mobility: Migration in a Global Economy, Lifecourse Perspective, and Women, Work & Health.

As a University-wide initiative, the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies brings together scientists from all corners of the Harvard campus – and beyond – to make exciting advances in population research. With seven billion people living on the planet and a projected nine billion by 2050, their focus is on examining the most nuanced trends and important challenges in this century.

Pathways into Program

The Center has been fortunate over the years to house exceptional postdoctoral fellows from a number of disciplines and countries. Their contributions to our intellectual capital continue to be priceless.

They currently offer two competitive postdoctoral training opportunities:

David E. Bell Fellowships

Applications for the fellowship for the 2016-2018 cohort will be accepted beginning on September 1, 2015. The program provides opportunities for research and leadership training in a flexible, 1 or 2 year non-degree program for researchers and practitioners in the field of population and development. Selected candidates possess a strong record of academic training, a commitment to population and development work, the demonstrated ability to work independently, and leadership potential.

Bell Fellows examine a broad range of critical issues in the field of population and development studies from multidisciplinary perspectives. Most will have interests that match the HCPDS’s focal areas: social and environmental determinants of population health; migration and immigration; causes and consequences of health transitions (aging societies); and health consequences of work place policies and work design. The wide range of perspectives will enhance the fellows’ experiences and broaden the community life at the Center.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Health & Society Scholars Program

This program is a unique interdisciplinary initiative that integrates activities from four schools, each with a national reputation for academic excellence:  The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Harvard Kennedy School, the Harvard Medical School, and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Based on a foundation of four core disciplines – social epidemiology, public policy, history of science, and neuroscience – our program brings together some of the world’s most renowned academics in those fields.

The two-year program is structured to provide each scholar with the following competencies:

  • Knowledge of theories, research and analytical tools that integrate environmental, behavioral and biological conditions to address the determinants of population health.
  • Collaborative competence, by which we mean the ability to utilize and apply shared language, methods and techniques to conduct transdisciplinary research. This competence is necessarily grounded in a historical perspective on how scientists and policymakers have conceptualized causation and determinants of health over time.
  • Ability to plan effective interventions to improve population health, ranging from public policy approaches to community-based interventions.
  • Understanding of life course approaches to population health research.

For more information on training opportunities at HCPDS, contact Laura Price at lprice@hsph.harvard.edu or Kayla Small at ksmall@hsph.harvard.edu.