Perry World House Global Innovation Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

The Global Innovation Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perry World House invites applications for its postdoctoral fellowship program during the 2019-2020 academic year. The Global Innovation Program is the research arm of Perry World House, the University of Pennsylvania’s new university-wide hub for global engagement and interdisciplinary international policy research. Perry World House connects Penn to the international policy world through research, student engagement, and public programming, bringing the university’s intellectual resources to bear on the urgent global challenges of the 21st century.

We hope to bring several postdoctoral fellows to campus for the 2019-2020 academic year. We are seeking excellent scholars who study global affairs and have interest in interdisciplinary outreach and policy relevance. We are particularly interested in applicants in the following areas:

  • The Future of the Global Order: Power, Technology, and Governance
  • Global Shifts: Urbanization, Migration, and Demography
  • Borders and Boundaries in World Politics

The Future of the Global Order

From Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s construction of artificial islands in the South China Seas to the global economic and political effects of new technologies and questions of how international institutions will handle diverse questions such as ISIS-driven mass killings, the post-Cold War global order may be at a tipping point. In addition, systemic trends such as globalization and climate change mean that the challenges of today and tomorrow will be global – and require global responses. The role of automated trading algorithms in the 2010 “Flash Crash” in the United States, combined with the specter of drone warfare around the world due and the proliferation of military robotics, highlight how the intersection of technologies such as cyber and robotics presents enormous challenges for global business and diplomatic norms. In a time of change, academic research has the potential to shed significant light on these issues, and highlight new and important approaches for the global policy community.

In this theme area, Perry World House will focus primarily, but not exclusively, on four areas: the implications of emerging technologies for global politics, shifting global power balances and how they influence both state and non-state actors, the evolution of international legal regimes, and the ability of the international community to sustain effective governing institutions in times of change.

Global Shifts

Urbanization, migration, and demographic changes are transforming the human environment, creating both new challenges and opportunities. The UN High Commission for Refugees said in 2015 that the world faces the highest level of human displacement since its founding in 1950. New and changing migration patterns, whether driven by civil wars, instability due to environmental change, economic hardships, or potential opportunities elsewhere, have depth and nuance that have proven hard to predict – or track. At the same time, over 66% of the world’s population will live in urban spaces by 2050, raising critical questions about urban vitality and sustainability.

Yet, the diverse causes and consequences of urbanization, migration, and demographic change have not been fully understood, and are too often examined in isolation. The University of Pennsylvania is poised to contribute to pressing policy debates and to help develop new approaches to these global shifts given the University’s numerous strengths in urban studies, sociology, demography, law, and politics. The Global Innovation Program at Perry World House will bring together Penn’s strengths in these areas through an interconnected examination of urbanization, migration, and demography.

Borders and Boundaries in World Politics

The Project on Borders and Boundaries in World Politics has two openings for post-doctoral research fellows for one-year, renewable, full-time appointments. Fellows will split their time between their own research and work with a team led by Professor Beth Simmons, Andrea Mitchell University Professor in Law, Political Science, and Business Ethics. The Project is concerned with boundaries between organized human communities, broadly understood. International borders, border regions and border crossings have multiple significance as designations of state authority, security buffers, expressions of social meaning and opportunities for economic integration. Border regions and activities speak to national and local encounters with neighbors and the rest of the world.

This project is concerned with how humans demarcate the space between “us” and “them.” It contextualizes border architecture, infrastructure and institutions as expressions of various social, political and economic anxieties associated with globalization. This research team will concern itself with a broad range of questions relating to “bordering” in world politics. Applicants with an interest in territorial politics; migration and movement across borders; development in and across border regions; border crossing regimes, architectures and institutions; transnational migration; transnational crime, human trafficking and law enforcement across borders; and related issues are welcome to apply. Skills in empirical spatial analysis, GIS technologies, mapping technologies, experimental analyses, computerized textual and imaging analyses, and similar technologies are highly desirable, as are computer programming skills and experience using large computer databases and statistical software.

Requirements and Application Information

Postdoctoral fellows in Global Order and Global Shifts research areas will pursue their own research as well as participate in the intellectual life of the Global Innovation Program and Perry World House. Postdoctoral fellows will be expected to give a presentation during the academic year in the Perry World House Seminar Series, publish policy relevant scholarship related to Perry World House themes, and attend regularly scheduled seminars. They will also be expected to spend up to 10% of their time contributing to the intellectual environment at Perry World House, including working with Perry World House’s Undergraduate Student Fellows, as well as designing and planning engagement in relevant theme areas. Perry World House will also introduce each postdoctoral fellow to related faculty and leaders of centers and institutes at the University of Pennsylvania.

Applications are welcome from scholars who have received their Ph.D. or equivalent degrees (including a J.D. in the case of applicants focused on international legal regimes) in the last two years (not earlier than 2017), or who expect to complete their degree by June 2019. Applications will be reviewed starting Tuesday, January 8, 2019. To receive full consideration, applications and letters of recommendation should be received by that date.

Upon provision of and contingent upon proof of conferral of the PhD degree, all postdoctoral fellow positions pay a stipend of $53,000 plus relevant fees and health insurance. The position also provides $2,000 in research support.

To apply, please find link below. Applicants will be asked to complete a short form as well as upload a cover letter, CV/resume, one page research statement, writing sample, and unofficial PhD transcript (only required for current graduate students). We will also ask for the name and email address of two letter writers who can submit a letter of recommendation.

If you have questions, please email

Application date
1 academic year
America : United States (Mid-Atlantic)
Social sciences : Demography, Economics, Environmental Sciences, Gender Studies, Geography, International Relations, Law, Political science, Social Anthropology, Sociology
Required post-doc experience
Between 0 and 2 years
Award granted
US$ 53.000 + research funds + health insurance