Support for Unexpected Emergencies

Summer Research Grants

Summer Research Assistant with Faculty

Summer Start for TA’s

External Internships and Job Opportunities

Irving Innovation Fellows

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Support for Unexpected Emergencies

Since the creation of the Student Emergency Fund (SEF), the GSD Development team has received donations from donors, alumni, staff and community members.  In addition to contributing to the summer research grants above, the fund is intended to provide financial relief for students facing hardship due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  As always, please reach out to Keith Gnoza, Director of Financial Assistance, if you are seeking support resulting from an unexpected emergency causing financial hardship.

Summer Research Grants

For Summer 2020, returning and graduating students could apply for an advanced research grant of up to $5,000 to conduct independent research or research alongside a faculty member. Priority was given to those showing financial need, those without other GSD summer positions or grants, and those proposing research tied to design’s relationship to the pandemic and other critical issues, including climate change. Requests for independent research grants first had to be be approved by academic advisors. Requests for faculty advised research grants had to be approved by the faculty advisor.

Application procedures and deadlines for future initiatives will be detailed as they are announced.

Summer Research Assistant with Faculty

Returning and graduating students may be hired as hourly research assistants with faculty over the summer. Faculty will advertise open positions through Career Services.  As always, if you identify a faculty member whose research aligns with your own interest, please feel free to reach out to them as well.

Note:  Graduating international students must have valid OPT to be eligible for hourly summer research assistant positions. Students must ensure that hours available for the position meet the minimum hourly work requirements for OPT.

Summer Start for TA’s

All fall 2020 courses have received additional funding intended to support approximately 40 hours of work over the summer related to course preparation. This is in addition to the normal work done during the semester. This work will be completed between 6/1/20 – 9/1/20.  Students who are returning in the fall and can continue TA’ing for the course are eligible for these funds. Faculty will advertise TA positions with Career Services as they become available, but as always, please feel free to proactively reach out to faculty regarding their fall 2020 courses if you are interested in serving as a TA.

External Internships and Job Opportunities

Career Services and the GSD Development team are reaching out to our alumni and others to find further support for GSD returning and graduating students through internships and other possible job opportunities.  External internships and job opportunities will be posted in CREATE as they become available.

Irving Innovation Fellows

Irving Fellows will support the GSD and its pedagogical mission during their time as a fellow. They will help both strategize and implement big ideas in rethinking design pedagogy across virtual platforms. Ideal candidates will have had some experience in the teaching environment and be open to thinking broadly about the implementation of various technologies in pedagogical practices. Fellows will need to be creative and self-motivated, as well as ready to work collaboratively with the Innovation Task Force whose research and work in the coming year will exemplify the spirit of the Irving Innovation Fund. Some of the criteria that will be used in the selection of the fellows would include: Research and synthesizing information regarding modes of teaching and their technologies that are needed, as well as strong representational skills (including, among others, video editing and/or web design), writing skills, and the ability to communicate.

Interested graduating students should send their CV to and a one-page letter of interest by May 27, 2020. Please include specific skills or experience that could contribute to the area of innovation in virtual design pedagogy. Students returning in the fall will also be hired to support the work of the Task Force and should contact to express their interest in this work for consideration by the Task Force.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Who is eligible for these summer funding opportunities?
A: Summer funding opportunities are available to returning and graduating students. Priority for summer research grants will be given to those showing financial need, those without other GSD summer positions or grants, and those proposing research tied to design’s relationship to the pandemic and other critical issues, including climate change. Graduating international students must have valid OPT to be eligible for any employment opportunities.

Q: When will fall 2020 course offerings be available?
A: Fall 2020 course offerings will begin to appear online beginning the week of May 18, and will be updated continuously as courses and instructors are confirmed.

Q: How can I find out more about faculty research activities taking place at the GSD?
A: Information about Design Labs (D-Labs) and links to other GSD projects, initiatives, and centers can be found online, here.

Q:Where can I find information regarding available summer Research Assistant (RA) positions?
A: Faculty will post available RA positions using CREATE, which is managed in Career Services.

Q: What is the difference between an Independent Research Grant and a Faculty Advised Research Grant?
A: With an Independent Research Grant you are proposing your own research topic versus a Faculty Advised Research Grant where you are working collaboratively with a faculty member. In both cases grants are awarded with the expectation that you are conducting research approved by a member of the faculty.

Q: Can you explain the difference between an academic advisor and a faculty advisor?
A: Your academic advisor is the faculty member listed on my.harvard and is the person who must approve your request for an Independent Research Grant. The faculty advisor is the faculty member you are working alongside while conducting research.  The signature of the academic advisor or faculty advisor is not a commitment to supervise the research you do over the summer.

Q: When will the Irving Innovation Fellows be selected, and what criteria will be considered in the selection process?
A: Graduating students interested in the Irving Innovation Fellowships must submit their CV and a one-page letter of interest by May 27 (2020), and the committee will make a decision as quickly as possible after this date. The Innovations in Virtual Teaching Task Force review materials from interested students and curate a team of fellows they feel can adequately carry forward the work of the Task Force. Interested graduates should feel free to offer as much information about any experiences, skills, and interests that might align with virtual teaching and learning so that a balanced team of Fellows can be appointed to carry forward the work of the Task Force.

Returning students are not eligible for the fellowship, but may be considered for a TA role supporting the work of the Task Force and Fellows. At this time there is no deadline by which students may express interest in being hired to help support the work of the Task Force, and students may be hired at various points throughout the summer depending on availability and the needs of the Task Force.

Q: Are students able to apply for a grant as a group?
A: Grants are limited and based on an individual's financial need.  Group proposals cannot be considered.

Q: For advanced research grants, are there any specific deliverables or reviews required at the end of the summer?
A: At the end of the summer, grant recipients are required to submit a paper (10 pages minimum, including visuals) to create a “Summer 2020 Archive” that will help document this moment.

Q: Can students who are taking a Leave of Absence apply for a grant or be hired as an hourly Research Assistant over the summer?
A: Research grants will be awarded to graduating students and students returning in the fall.  Students who are taking a Leave of Absence may apply for an hourly Research Assistant position, but preference will be given to returning students.

Q: I am a Ph.D. candidate, am I eligible to apply for this funding as a PhD candidate? I am not currently employed by the GSD but will continue as a TF from the Fall semester.
A: GSAS has set up its own set of emergency student funding sources.  They have now identified several different types of emergency funding opportunities for students,

Q: If I am selected to do independent research/faculty advised research, can I conduct the research outside of the U.S.?
A: Yes, you can conduct the research from anywhere, but the grant isn’t meant to cover travel costs or prompt international travel. In other words if you are already going to be somewhere outside of the US, this is fine. Please refer to the following announcement for additional information regarding summer international travel,

Q: As a graduating international student, is a work visa (OPT) required for summer grants?
A: These grant cannot be used to meet OPT employment requirements, therefore OPT is not required.  However, the amount awarded could be taxed depending on individual circumstances. If you are employed for an hourly paid position, OPT is required.

Q: What are the tax implications of receiving a summer research grant?
A: Each student’s individual tax situation is unique and depends on a number of factors. US students should visit for tax information. Non-US students can contact Harvard’s International Office for tax information and can find Tax Treaty information online, here.

Q: Will graduates have access to library resources during the summer?
A: The following resources will be available to graduates once they become alumni:

  • Electronic Resources: Those who have graduated from the GSD will have alumni access to a limited number of the library’s online resources, available from the Alumni Resources webpage. Links from HOLLIS, search engines, and elsewhere will not work for alumni. Because the Harvard Library continuously works to increase the number of resources available to alumni, be sure to check back for updates.
  • Using Physical Collections:  Alumni are always welcome to visit the library and use material onsite, once the library reopens. Alumni who live in the area may borrow books from the Frances Loeb Library at no cost.  For information about additional Harvard Library borrowing options for alumni, contact the Harvard Library Privileges Office at
  • Zotero: This free, open-source citation tool continues to be available to students after graduation. All content added to Zotero will remain in your account. Any new content will be subject to a 300MB limit after your GSD email becomes inactive unless you pay for more storage. Be sure to add a personal email address to your Zotero account before your student email account expires. (Log in to the Zotero website, go into settings and then account. Scroll down to Add Email and add in a personal account and click Update Emails to save.
  • Grammarly:  GSD-funded accounts will expire on July 31. Individual plans are available at a 40% discount (12 months for $84.00) at

Q. Where can I submit questions?
: Please email questions related to summer work and grant opportunities to