Sir James Wolfensohn Public Service Scholarship

In 2012 the Harvard Club of Australia established the Sir James Wolfensohn Public Service Scholarship to enable senior Australian public servants to undertake an executive education program at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), the world’s leading school of Government.  The Scholarship is intended to support the design and delivery of good public policy in Australia.

It is expected that a minimum of two Scholarships will be awarded each year.

The Wolfensohn Scholarship will fund attendance at an HKS executive education program, including return economy air travel to Boston.

Harvard Kennedy School executive programs range from public sector management (such as the flagship ‘Senior Managers in Government’ program which runs for three weeks), through to thematic courses around policy areas such as defence, development, financial management and education.

Details of executive education programs at the Harvard Kennedy School can be found here. 

Wolfensohn Scholarship recipients will have 12 calendar months to complete their studies from the date the Scholarship is awarded. Details of past recipients of the Wolfensohn Scholarship can be found in the links below:

Who is eligible to apply?

The Wolfensohn Scholarship is open to employees of Commonwealth, State or Territory Governments. It is intended for senior public servants who are expected to play a significant role in the design and implementation of public policy in Australia in the near future, possibly as a Department, agency or entity head.

The Scholarship experience is intended to reward outstanding individuals for their achievements in Government to date, and motivate them to further commitment to public service.

Nomination and Application Process

The selection process for the 2018 Wolfensohn Scholarships will commence from April, with selection of recipients scheduled for early July 2018.

The application process comprises the following steps:

Nominations Due by Thursday, 31 May 2018

Department, agency or entity heads are invited to nominate one individual from their own organisation and/or one individual from another Department, agency or entity.  The HCA will write to public service commission and selected department and agencies directly inviting nominations.

2.    Applications Due by Thursday 31 May 2018

Nominees will be required to submit their applications for the Wolfensohn Scholarship by the same time as Nominations.  Only applicants who have been nominated by Thursday, 31 May 2018 will be considered.

3.     Shortlisting in June 2018

Nominated applications will be assessed in early June, and a short list of applicants will be selected for interviews.  All applicants will be advised whether they have been shortlisted or not in early June.

4.     Interviews in late June/early July 2018

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed to make the final selection.  It is currently anticipated that interviews will take place on or about Friday, 29 June 2018 or the following week.  The HCA will contact the HKS to obtain pre-approval of short-listed candidate applications.

All short listed candidates will be advised whether they have been successful or not shortly after the interview.

The timing of the selection of the 2018 recipients is intended to assist applicants who wish to attend HKS courses from August 2018.  If you are in this position, you will need to ensure you have pre-approved travel plans.  All short-listed candidates will be pre-approved for their chosen course.

5.     Scholarship recipients

Successful candidates are responsible for formally lodging their applications with the HKS.  The HCA will pay course fees (which includes board while attending the course) directly to the HKS and scholarship recipients can claim reimbursement of airfares up to a pre-approved amount (to the value of a return economy fare from Australia to Boston) from the HCA.

Scholarship recipients are expected to provide a brief report back to the HCA on their time at HKS.

Scholarship recipients are also expected to support the scholarship through allowing publication of their award and may also assist through media comment.


If you have any questions about the Wolfensohn Scholarship including the nomination or application process, please contact:

Luke Woodward, Convenor, Sir James Wolfensohn Scholarship, Harvard Club of Australia, email: