The Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study launches new distinguished graduate fellowship program

Author: Kristian Olsen and Brandi Klingerman

The Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study (NDIAS) has launched a pilot program to support up to six University of Notre Dame doctoral students with exceptional academic records whose research and career interests centrally involve interdisciplinary engagement with major ethical questions. The new NDIAS Distinguished Graduate Fellowship Program, funded with support from Michael Wilsey ’65, provides graduate fellows from the College of Arts and Letters with premium stipends, robust research programming, and professional development during the 2021-2022 academic year.

"We are grateful to the Wilsey family for helping us build this pilot fellowship opportunity and expand the role for Ph.D. students in our institute,” said Meghan Sullivan, Director of the NDIAS and the Wilsey Family College Professor of Philosophy. “Arts and Letters departments are training the next generation of researchers in the humanities, social sciences, and the arts. This new fellowship program will equip these promising early researchers with critical skills in collaboration and communication and give them a chance to apply their expertise to problems that expand beyond a single discipline.”

Two of the graduate fellowships are co-sponsored by the Notre Dame Technology Ethics Center (ND-TEC). Co-sponsored fellows have the same benefits and obligations as the other fellows in the program, but they will also participate in programs sponsored by ND-TEC and the Notre Dame-IBM Technology Ethics Lab and be eligible for technology-related externship opportunities.

“We are excited to expand our relationship with the NDIAS and to help provide opportunities for Notre Dame graduate students to develop the skills and expertise necessary to play a meaningful role in the developing technology ethics conversation,” said Mark McKenna, Director of the Technology Ethics Center. “Now more than ever, we need researchers who can reach across disciplines and engage the big questions of our time, and that’s precisely the goal of these fellowships.”

Graduate fellows receive $30,000 stipends along with $1,000 of research support. They will work alongside the NDIAS’s residential faculty fellows selected for its 2021-2022 Resilience Project and participate in the institute’s yearly academic programming, including its annual presentation and writing retreats, weekly research seminars, conferences, and public outreach events. Graduate fellows also have the opportunity to engage in research and career mentorships with institute faculty, staff, and project partners.

"This new fellowship will be an outstanding opportunity for some of our best Ph.D. students to interact with a diverse cohort of leading scholars within and beyond Notre Dame and to better understand how their own research fits into bigger ideas and questions across disciplines,” said Sarah A. Mustillo, I.A. O’Shaughnessy Dean of the College of Arts and Letters. “It also helps advance our College goals of strengthening our graduate programs and fostering opportunities for interdisciplinary scholarship that addresses meaningful themes and complex challenges facing society today.”

To be eligible for the program, graduate students should be entering the 4th or 5th year of a Notre Dame Ph.D. program in the College of Arts and Letters, have a strong interest in interdisciplinary research, have an exemplary record of performance in their graduate program, and have research interests that align with the research theme and mission of the NDIAS.

Applications require a cover letter, dissertation description and table of contents, CV, graduate transcript, contact information for two references, and a completed application form.

Applications are due by March 12, 2021 and should be submitted to the application portal at the NDIAS. More information about the program can be found at

Interested students can also find out about the program at upcoming informational sessions on February 26 and March 1. Please see for more information.

The NDIAS convenes an interdisciplinary group of faculty fellows, top doctoral candidates, and undergraduate scholars to study questions that require a joint focus, benefit from sustained research and discussion, and advance our understanding of core issues that affect our ability to lead valuable, meaningful lives. To learn more, please visit


Maria Di Pasquale / Associate Director

Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study / University of Notre Dame / 574.631.3770 / @NotreDameIAS

About Notre Dame Research:

The University of Notre Dame is a private research and teaching university inspired by its Catholic mission. Located in South Bend, Indiana, its researchers are advancing human understanding through research, scholarship, education, and creative endeavor in order to be a repository for knowledge and a powerful means for doing good in the world. For more information, please visit or @UNDResearch.

Originally published by Kristian Olsen and Brandi Klingerman at on February 17, 2021.