An Invitation to the College and University Fund for the Social Sciences

The Charles E. Lindblom Memorial Fellowship is an annual award supporting an interdisciplinary social science project by an advanced graduate student at one of the member institutions of the College and University Fund for the Social Sciences. One fellowship of $7,500 will be offered annually to a doctoral candidate pursuing original and interdisciplinary research in economics, political science, sociology, anthropology, and/or history.

Charles E. Lindblom (1917-2018), author of many influential works, including Politics and Markets, was Sterling Professor of Political Science and Economics at Yale University. He taught at Yale from 1949 to 1987, helping to found the Institution for Social and Policy Studies and serving as its director from 1974 to 1980. The Lindblom Memorial Fellowship is offered to honor his name and legacy and to recognize the deep and lasting impact he had on the scholars with whom he worked. The fellowship is made possible by a generous donation from Dr. T.Y. Shen, a former SSRC fellow.

2021 Competition Theme: Anticipatory Social Research

For the 2021 competition, applications to the Lindblom Memorial Fellowship must engage with anticipatory social research, an approach that directs research toward identifying, contextualizing, and framing emergent social phenomena (e.g., Guston, Parsi, and Tosi 2007Nelson and Banks 2018). The last two decades have borne witness to world-changing dynamics that challenge baseline assumptions in many important areas, including geopolitics, public health, social solidarity, climate change, inequality and racial justice, and the resiliency of institutions. Technology is especially central in reconfiguring these perennial research topics and their impact on policy, including the regulation of artificial intelligence and data privacy.

Researchers have responded to these challenges through a focus on collaboration and on thematic areas that cut across methods and disciplines. Studies of risk, disaster, disinformation, and digital sociality are just a few examples of the social sciences taking a topics-centered approach, often by mobilizing interdisciplinary research teams. While robust scholarship has resulted from this reorientation – for example, we are learning more about the mechanisms and impacts of political polarization on social media – social scientists increasingly find themselves playing catch-up as complex issues in the world outpace our ability to develop sound theories or coherent datasets.

Anticipatory social research seeks to use theory and the deep well of prior social knowledge both as a scaffold and as an orienting tool for directing research and interpreting results. This approach is intended to be agile, nimble, and capable of tuning (Pickering 1995) social theory and social science research to complex social realities as they unfold.

The Lindblom Memorial Fellowship application will include a five-page, double-spaced proposal, a letter of reference from the applicant’s advisor, and a letter of confirmation from a department chair or director of graduate studies certifying that the applicant is within one year of completion of the PhD. Applicants should (1) show how their research has the potential to contribute to the developing field of anticipatory social research and (2) include plans for disseminating their work through the publication of an article or a presentation to a relevant scholarly community within one year of the award.


The Charles E. Lindblom Memorial Fellowship is open exclusively to PhD candidates affiliated with the member institutions of the College and University Fund for the Social Sciences. Applicants must be within one year of completion of the PhD.

How to Apply

The deadline for applications is Tuesday, January 5, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. Please visit apply.ssrc.org to access the application portal.


Please review the FAQ page for more details. For further questions, contact us at cuf@ssrc.org.