John K. F. Irving AB ’83, MBA ’89 and Anne Irving Oxley established the John E. Irving Dean’s Innovation Fund in 2013 to honor the legacy of their father, John E. (Jack) Irving, and support the tradition of outstanding teaching and innovation at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

The Irving Innovation Fellowship offers graduating GSD students an opportunity to extend their research and discovery in the fields of design, architecture, urban design, and landscape architecture beyond their time as students and continue contributing to the school’s pedagogy and dialogue.


Current & Past Irving Innovation Fellows

Current: Alia Bader, Alex Yueyan Li, Sheng Zhao

AY2021: Sarah Fayad, Isabella Frontado, Gia Jung, Ian Miley

AY2020: Inés Benítez Gómez, Mark Heller, Evan Shieh, John Wagner

AY2019: Ernest Haines, Hyojin Kwon, Enrique Aureng Silva, Youngjin Song (extended from AY2018)

AY2018: Xun Liu, Zahra Safaverdi, Caroline Smith, Youngjin Song

AY2017: Iman Fayyad and Alex Timmer


Fellowship Details

Over the course of the coming academic year, fellows will forward their own innovative research inquiries and experimental projects that fuel design innovation, as well as research and provide support for department faculty in the implementation and further development of hybrid courses. Some degree of flexibility will be necessary for the fellowship.

Fellows will be distributed across the three departments and the Master in Design Studies program. Their specific focus will be determined in consultation with their advisor, designated department chair/director, and the dean. Over the course of their appointment, fellows will be mentored by the chair/director and/or advisor.

Once selected, finalists will be required to submit a formal proposal developed with the chair/director or advisor. Duties are candidate-specific and must be clearly articulated in aforementioned proposal and should include expected deliverables (reports, lectures, exhibitions, publications, research, etc.).

Fellowship appointments will be for the full academic year. Fellows will receive a mid-year evaluation from chair/director or advisor. Appointments may be extended if approved by advisor, department chair/director, and the dean.

Fellows who are on-campus will have an assigned desk space or a shared office while in residency.

They are committed to working 30 hours/week, for which they will receive $3000/month plus benefits.



Graduating GSD master's degree students are invited to apply. Applicants must submit a letter of interest, CV, and portfolio of design work and/or research work, see details below.



After reviewing all applications with department chairs and program director, four finalists will be appointed by the dean.

We are not currently accepting Irving Innovation Fellowship applications.



Submit the following application materials as attachments to in the form of a single PDF labeled “DegreeProgram_Lastname_Firstname.pdf”:

  • Letter of interest (include name, degree program, GSD and permanent email addresses) with a brief overview of your background and explanation of why you would be a good fit for next year’s fellowship (up to 2 pages)
  • Current curriculum vitae
  • Digital portfolio of design work (up to 15 pages)

For more information, please email