Disruption and the public sector – your chance to play a role

We live in an age of accelerating complexity. The world is much less predictable than it used to be. We need leaders who understand the nature of the disruptive economic, technological, social and environmental forces that are reshaping our world.

harkness logoPublic sector leaders who can help governments grapple with the implications and develop responses for those disruptions across the spectrum of public policy and administration are more important than ever.

That’s why the New Zealand Harkness Fellowships Trust is this year looking for applications from emerging New Zealand leaders who are keen to explore how public sector organisations can respond to and harness disruptive forces.

The Fellowship is available to mid-career professionals in any field of study or vocation (excluding health care policy and practice) to study or research in the United States for between eight and twelve weeks. One New Zealand Harkness Fellowship worth NZ$30,000 will be offered in 2018 (for travel in 2019), to a person who is currently employed in a public sector organisation* in New Zealand.

Download the 2018 Harkness Fellowship application form – Applications close October 14, 2018

A focus on disruption

You could be looking at how the rise of cryptocurrencies will impact tax policies or the use of artificial intelligence to deliver better government services. The common theme to the work of our past Harkness Fellows is that they have returned from the US with ideas, knowledge and contacts to apply here to make sure we have a world-class public sector capable of responding to emerging challenges and opportunities.

* This includes the State Services, tertiary education institutions, State-Owned Enterprises and Crown companies, agencies that operate as part of the Legislative Branch of Government, and local Government.

Closing date: 14 October 2018

The New Zealand Harkness Fellowships were established in 2009 by the New Zealand Harkness Fellowships Trust Board to reinforce links between New Zealand and the US and to enable emerging leaders in the public and private sectors to benefit from study and travel in the US.

Their purpose is to enable appointed Fellows to gain first-hand knowledge and build contacts in their chosen field of endeavour that will be highly relevant to the NZ context and future NZ/US links. The Trust Board is working in partnership with the Leadership Development Centre, which is acting on behalf of the NZ Government.

The programme has four goals:

– Support emerging leaders seeking to better understand emerging disruptive change so they can help build a better public sector.

– Reinforce New Zealand-United States links by enabling actual or potential leaders and opinion formers in New Zealand to benefit from new ideas, practices and new contacts in the US;

– Help improve the cross-fertilisation of ideas and experience between New Zealand and the United States; and

– Build a leadership network on both sides of the Pacific, encourage ongoing exchange between New Zealand and the United States and establish enduring relationships offering reciprocal benefits to both countries.


To be eligible, you must:

– be a New Zealand citizen who is currently residing in New Zealand;

– be an early to mid-career professional active in any part of the public sector;

– be a potential leader and opinion-former in your chosen field;

– have an interest in learning from your experience in the US and be capable of putting to effect in NZ, relevant lessons learned.

The Fellowship is not intended for post-graduate or academic research. It provides an opportunity for emerging leaders in New Zealand to develop their ideas, practices and contacts in the US.


A fellowship valued at up to NZ$30,000 is offered in 2018 (for an award start date in 2019). New Zealand Harkness Fellowships are intended to contribute towards travel costs (international and domestic), accommodation and per diem expenses. The funds are not intended for the purchase of equipment or any other research costs. Additional costs, in excess of NZ$30,000, must be met by the Fellow and/or their New Zealand employer.

A basic health benefit plan covering a maximum of US$50,000 per sickness or injury.

Award conditions

The period of your award is a minimum of eight weeks and a maximum of twelve weeks with a 2019 award start date as negotiated with the Harkness Fellowship Trust NZ;
You must travel on a NZ passport, and US immigration documentation must be completed from within New Zealand;

You will be expected to take the opportunity to deliver seminars or speak with various groups as opportunities arise;

You may be required to fulfil some Harkness media requirements before your departure for the US, during your exchange and/or on return to the NZ;

You must provide Harkness (via Fulbright New Zealand) with copies of any articles or research papers resulting from your Fellowship. A final report must also be completed before you depart from the US.

Application process and FAQS

When should I apply?

The deadline for applications is 14 October annually*.
Interviews will be held in Wellington on Thursday 8 November 2018. Fulbright New Zealand will pay the costs of travel to Wellington only for applicants residing in New Zealand. Applicants outside New Zealand who are unable to attend an interview in person may be disadvantaged.

We will advise you of the outcome of your application shortly after the interviews in November.

* Note that if the application deadline falls on a weekend or public holiday, the deadline is extended to 5:00pm on the next business day.

How do I apply?

You must complete and submit the application form below by the application deadline. You must also submit all required support documents to us by the application deadline. These include:

A CV of no more than four pages;
A scan of the photo page of your passport;
A letter of invitation from a potential host organisation in the US;
A short statement about any previous experience in the US;
A statement from your employer about your leadership experience and potential;
A letter from your employer confirming their support for your participation in the programme;
A one-page project statement; and
References from three referees (the letter from your employer can count).

What are the selection criteria?

Applicants will need to:

Be able to demonstrate that they have the capacity to develop as exceptional leaders of intelligence, empathy and resilience who can play a significant leadership role in New Zealand.

Have a proposed programme which meets the vision of the Fellowship: with clearly defined learning objectives and a plan to transfer and embed learning on return.
Be capable of putting whatever lessons they have learned into effective use back in New Zealand;
Have a commitment to increasing international understanding; and have the ability to be a cultural ambassador for New Zealand.

Can I take my family?

Yes, although there is no additional funding available and the Fellow is solely responsible for any visa and insurance processes.

Where can I go?

Fellows are expected to be based at a university, research institute or ‘think tank’ for a significant part of their stay in the US. This requirement can also include a corporate (private sector) research institution, or a federal or state government department. Applicants are asked to provide a letter of invitation from a potential host organisation at the time of their application. It is also anticipated that during their time in the US, Fellows will travel outside of their ‘home base’ to other parts of the USA.

How long can I stay?

New Zealand Harkness Fellowships are for study or research in the US for a minimum of eight weeks and a maximum of twelve weeks.

If you have any questions concerning eligibility or the application process, please contact:

Kyla Orr, Programme Manager
Telephone: +64 4 494 1501 Email:

Download the 2018 Harkness Application Form



One Comment on “APPLICATIONS

  1. Pingback: Harkness Fellowships – applications now open | HARKNESS

Contact Us

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s