At core of the many “bridging the gap” efforts over the past several years is the conviction that foreign policymaking in the United States and elsewhere is seriously compromised by the disconnect between the academy and the world of practice. Many students enter doctoral programs with a strong interest in policy and a significant number look to have a policy dimension to their subsequent careers. However, few schools are able to give those students the coursework and mentoring they need to perform at a high-level in senior policy roles, or to address their research to the real-world problems policymakers confront.
With support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the International Policy Scholars Consortium and Network (IPSCON) is predicated on the belief that quality statecraft matters, that quality performance matters, and therefore that the quality of professional preparation for policymaking matters. By focusing on the human capital dimension, IPSCON aims to create a cohort of scholar-practitioners who understand the problems and perspectives of each world and can successfully pursue careers in both. Now in its fourth year, the network includes more than 60 graduate students at seven top universities for the study of international affairs: Duke, Johns Hopkins SAIS, Syracuse, MIT, Stanford, the University of Indiana, and the University of Virginia. In parallel, IPSCON supports innovative research and curriculum development to help reshape the way we teach and learn about international affairs.
Building a Network of Scholar-Practitioners
IPSCON connects graduate students interested in conducting scholarly research on key policy questions, working directly in policymaking roles, or both. These aims are rarely celebrated in traditional programs, which tend to bifurcate into two distinct tracks – a professional masters degree program and an academic PhD program. IPSCON junior scholars are typically PhD students nominated by one of the consortium institutions. By linking junior scholars to senior faculty from across the network, IPSCON’s unique consortium model draws on the diverse strengths of its constituent institutions, while cultivating a robust network of scholars with a shared interest in international affairs and policy.
Key activities for junior scholars include:
Research and Curriculum Development
IPSCON also supports research and curriculum development focused on historically-informed statecraft and policy design. This includes two lines of work:
In the initial grant, IPSCON focused on generating content, increasing exposure, and building networks – both vertical (mentors with students) and horizontal (among young scholars and practitioners), to provide support and synergy in navigating this challenging career track.
With the second grant, IPSCON aims to broaden and deepen the reach of this work by generating innovative curricula and content that can be emulated by other programs in international affairs and by bringing more young scholars into the network. Despite its growth, the focus of IPSCON remains the cultivation of a strong and enduring network of scholar-practitioners. Its success can be measured by the success of its alumni, who have secured prestigious positions in the academic and policy worlds, collaborated on publications, and utilized the network to develop joint research projects or confer on pressing policy challenges. Ultimately, the project aims to produce students who will become leaders both in and outside the academy, able to improve the quality of statecraft and better equipped to face the international challenges that lie ahead.
Consortium Senior Scholars
Interested graduate students at consortium universities should contact one of the senior scholars listed above for further information on how to apply to participate in the program.
For the 2018-2019 academic year, IPSCON will also select three at-large junior scholars who are not affiliated with a consortium member. Preference will be given to current PhD students in political science, history, or a related discipline with a demonstrated interest in policy-relevant research on a key topic in international affairs. Minorities and individuals from underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply. Please send a copy of your CV, along with a 500-word essay explaining your interest in IPSCON and your career objectives, to IPSCON_SAIS@jhu.edu no later than March 1, 2018. Successful candidates will be notified by May 1, 2018.
For more information on IPSCON, please send an email to IPSCON_SAIS@jhu.edu.