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 partially or fully 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. 

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 2023 Wolfensohn Scholarships will commence from July, with selection of recipients scheduled for mid-August 2023.

The application process comprises the following steps:

Nominations Due by Monday, 24 July 2023 

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, department and agency heads directly inviting nominations.

Nomination Form 

Applications Due by Monday, 31 July 2023 

Nominees will be required to submit their applications for the Wolfensohn Scholarship by Monday, 31 July 2023. This will also require a nomination by their respective department, agency or entity head.

Application Form 

Shortlisting in Mid-August 2023 

Nominated applications will be assessed in early August 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 August.

Interviews in late August 2023

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed to make the final selection.  It is currently anticipated that interviews will take place on or about 24th August 2023 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 2023 recipients is intended to assist applicants who wish to attend HKS courses from October 2023.  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.

Scholarship recipients

Successful candidates are responsible for formally lodging their applications with the HKS.  The HCA will pay a proportion of all of your 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 through media comment as appropriate.


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

Mat Franklin, Convenor, Sir James Wolfensohn Scholarship, Harvard Club of Australia, email: