Postdoctoral Fellowship – Project on Democracy and the Internet

About the fellowship

Applications for the 2019-20 cohort of postdoctoral fellows at the Projet on Democracy and the Internet will be accepted from October 3, 2018 through January 11, 2019.

The Project on Democracy and the Internet brings promising new scholars to Stanford University for 1-2 year appointments as postdoctoral fellows.  

Each fellow will be affiliated with the Project on Democracy and the Internet and potentially also with a department or school at Stanford University.  

The annual fellowship stipend is $65,000, plus the standard benefits that postdoctoral fellows at Stanford University receive, including health insurance and travel funds. The fellowship program falls under U.S. Immigration J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa activities. 

The start date of the fellowship will be September 2019, unless otherwise agreed. To assume a postdoctoral fellowship, scholars must have a PhD in hand by July 1, 2019. We cannot consider applications from scholars who earned a PhD earlier than May 1, 2017.  

We encourage applications from candidates representing a broad range of disciplines including the social sciences, humanities, law, computer science and engineering.  

About the Project on Democracy and the Internet

The Project on Democracy and the Internet (PDI) envisions digital technologies supporting rather than subverting democracy by maximizing the benefits and minimizing the threats through changes in policy, technology, and social and ethical technological norms.  

Digital technologies are having a profound impact on democracy in the United States and around the world. New communication platforms that give voice to the previously voiceless also empower nefarious actors who seek to undermine democracy, silence journalists and minority groups, manipulate search engines, sow distrust, and more. Concerns about virality, deception, anonymity, echo chambers, and platform information monopolies pose new challenges for democracy in the digital age. Current research to understand these challenges and, on the basis of theory and evidence, craft solutions, remains nascent, fragmented, and incomplete. A strong knowledge base is critical for policy makers, corporate leaders, and technologists to make decisions that protect and promote democracy in the digital age. 

The Project on Democracy and the Internet is investigating key research themes which include: 

  • Reform options for platforms to combat hate speech, bots, and disinformation.  
  • Algorithmic bias  
  • Deteriorating health of digital information ecosystems and its effect on democracy and civil rights  
  • Changes in the media landscape due to shifts caused by digital innovation. 
  • Impact of the internet on election campaigns and voting.  

 The Project on Democracy and the Internet’s work draws from the social sciences, humanities, engineering, computer science, and the law to understand the challenges digital technologies pose to liberal democracies around the world.  

The project is led by Principal Investigators Nathaniel Persily, James B. McClatchy Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, and Frank Fukuyama, Director of CDDRL and Senior Fellow at FSI, along with the support of PACS Faculty Co-Director and Professor of Political Science, Rob Reich.  

PDI is a joint initiative of the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (Stanford PACS) and the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL). 

 For a sense of the scholarship that PDI supports, see:

 Questions about the Project on Democracy and the Internet should be directed to Eloise Duvillier at

How to apply

To be considered for a postdoctoral fellowship with the Project on Democracy and the Internet, submit an application via the online application portal. 

 Applicants will be asked to include the following: 

  • Cover letter detailing the reasons for the applicant’s interest in the fellowship; 
  • Curriculum Vitae; 
  • Fellowship proposal detailing the research that the applicant would undertake while at Stanford, and how it fits within the research agenda of the specific initiative to which the applicant is applying. In this section, please disclose if you have additional funding arrangements. 
  • Writing sample consisting of either a dissertation chapter or a recent published paper. There are no specific page length or formatting requirements for this sample; 
  • Graduate transcript with proof that the applicant has completed all the requirements for the PhD, or a letter from their PhD advisor stating when they will do so; 
  • Two (or more) Letters of Recommendation. These should be submitted via the application portal.  

Stanford University is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer, committed to increasing the diversity of its workforce. It welcomes applications from women, members of minority groups, veterans, persons with disabilities, and others who would bring additional dimensions to the university’s research and teaching mission