Are you interested in researching public sector innovations in Latin American and African governments as a Governance Innovation Research Fellow?

MIT GOV/LAB’s Innovation Initiative is partnering with the Priscilla King Gray Public Service Center (PKG) and MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTIto launch our first cohort of summer Fellows in Mexico, Brasil, Tunisia, Kenya, and Cape Verde for MIT Masters and PhD students.

As a fellow, you will be embedded within a public sector innovation lab or agency to research and co-develop a case study that can be used by bureaucrats, civil society organizations, academics, and other innovation actors to strengthen democratic governance transparency, responsiveness and accountability in the Global South.

Apply by March 1, 2023 (Extended deadline: March 8th, noon. Early submissions are strongly encouraged). See more information and how to apply here


As a fellow, you will research and draft a case study that illuminates the challenges and pathways of governance innovations in Global South bureaucracies, focusing specifically on the role of mid-level bureaucrats in strengthening government transparency and accountability. The case study will be made accessible to MIT’s broader academic community, as well as bureaucrats, government agents, civil society actors, and other private and creative sector agents who hope to innovate processes and services within the Global South. You can read more about MIT GOV/LAB’s case study guide here. 

As a fellow, you may research questions such as

  • What needs or ideas originated the governance innovation project?
  • What were the key assumptions, methods, and stakeholder collaborations that influenced the design process and final outcomes?
  • To what degree is the innovation still in use? What are the factors that contributed to the project being sustainable or not sustainable? 
  • What were unexpected iterations or impacts of the innovation, including new cross-government partnerships that came out of the innovation? 
  • How did the government entity grow and become institutionalized as an innovation lab, and what are key lessons for other governments who hope to establish similar labs within their own governments?

What you will do

  • Research and co-write a case study that examines how a government lab developed, launched, and implemented a governance innovation
  • Facilitate learning and co-design sessions, every two weeks, with the government host agency or lab. 
  • Debrief the host lab or agency on results of the case study with MIT GOV/LAB.
  • Present the experience to MIT students and members of the community at 1-2 gatherings arranged by MIT GOV/LAB. 
  • Based on the government partners’ needs, participate as a team member in one of the government’s project streams (separate from the case study project) 

Compensation and support will include

  • Travel allowance, accommodations, international health insurance, stipend
  • Pre-departure training and onboarding from the MISTI and PKG team 
  • Research guidance and mentorship throughout your fellowship from MIT GOV/LAB team 
  • Bi-weekly cohort-based peer learning exchanges with two other MIT GOV/LAB fellows who will be producing case studies in other countries 



  • A current Masters or PhD student in a relevant field (integrated design management, political science, urban studies, etc) with strong research and academic performance
  • Lived or prior work experience in Latin America, and/or Africa
  • Experience conducting qualitative or ethnographic research, with strong analytical and critical thinking skills
  • Experience working on governance challenges and/or working with or in government agencies in low or low-middle income countries, with demonstrated ability to engage diverse stakeholders and navigate complex political and organizational environments in an ethical and culturally sensitive manner.   
  • Business-level working proficiency in Spanish, Portuguese, or French if applying to placements in Mexico, Brazil, Tunisia, respectively.


  • Familiarity with the historical and socio-political context of governance in Latin America, North Africa, or the case study country of their choice 
  • Experience writing case studies and/or have published case studies or other research for academic institutions
  • Currently conducting dissertation research that aligns with or is parallel to MIT GOV/LAB case study topic 
  • Familiarity with design thinking, urban design, and/or human-centered design


  • Feb – Mar 2023: Selection of student fellows and government partners 
  • Apr – May 2023: Onboarding for student fellows and government partners 
  • June – Aug 2023: In-Country research and case study development 


Country placements will be finalized in the spring. They include public sector innovation labs, reform agencies, and spaces between the entrepreneurial sector and the public sector in Mexico, Brazil, Kenya, Cape Verde, and Tunisia. 

Apply by March 1, 2023 (Extended deadline: March 8th, noon. Early submissions are strongly encouraged). See more information and how to apply here