Request for Expressions of Interest: Scholars in Service

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A busy crosswalk with dozens of people, from overhead

We are pleased to announce that we are now accepting expressions of interest in Scholars in Service, a program of Stanford Impact Labs and the Haas Center for Public Service. 

Scholars in Service supports Stanford faculty to take a period of leave and immerse themselves in an organization outside of the university. Placements are designed to support in-depth, hands-on learning about a social problem and existing approaches to address it, with the potential to help generate new research insights and/or research applications. This program is intended to complement and extend existing leave and sabbatical opportunities at Stanford with a primary focus on the exchange of learning and expertise around an identified social problem. 

Financial and staff resources are provided to support placements for one to two quarters in public sector agencies and nonprofit organizations. 

The ideal placement will enable the exchange of complementary skills and expertise, and should both add value to the hosting organization and help to advance the faculty member’s  own research. Scholars can identify and organize their own partnerships, or work with Stanford Impact Labs and the Haas Center team to identify an appropriate placement. 

An expression of interest is truly that: an opportunity to express an interest in the program, regardless of whether this interest is accompanied by an already-planned vision. We welcome expressions of interest in the program from scholars at any point in the planning process, including those who have yet to determine a specific quarter of leave or partner organization. Program staff will engage all scholars who submit expressions of interest to determine next steps. Scholars with well-formed plans will be invited to complete an additional application, while scholars at an earlier stage will remain in conversation with our staff to prepare for a later round of applications—please see below for a detailed description of the application process.

Note: We have recently updated our application process because we recognize that academic careers often entail longer-term planning. In light of that, we encourage expressions of interest from faculty who want to incorporate this opportunity at a later point in their trajectory, as well as from those who envision a nearer-term leave.

Program Details

Financial Resources

The program provides funding for one to two quarters of leave for salary replacement and benefits, as needed. The program may also cover, with pre-approval, associated direct costs, such as travel, temporary housing, and/or office and field resources.

Staff Resources

Our team can help to identify credible and realistic partner organizations for placements when the scholar does not already have a specific placement in mind. We collaborate with all participants to review the potential host organization and ensure they are a good fit for both the program’s goals and the faculty member’s interests.

In addition, we provide ongoing support in preparation for the leave, during the leave, and following the leave, to promote positive outcomes.

Eligibility and Criteria


PI-eligible Stanford scholars may apply. Leave eligibility will vary across schools and departments and depend on the status of the individual. 

In all circumstances, scholars will need to explore the feasibility and logistics of taking leave within their respective schools/departments, and placements will only be confirmed with the consent of the respective department Chair and school Dean. Interested scholars are encouraged to review the Faculty Handbook section on Sabbaticals and Other Leaves of Absence.


We expect that interested scholars will have varying levels of experience with problem-focused research and engagement with external partners and potential host organizations. For those newer to this type of engagement, the placement may serve primarily as a learning exchange, helping to better understand the social problem and different approaches to its resolution, with the host organization benefiting from the faculty member’s scholarly expertise. For those with prior experience, the exchange may serve to advance existing partnerships, with a focus on driving evidence-driven programs or policies. What is most important is that there is a compelling case that the placement is generative, with clear learning opportunities for both the scholar and host organization, and the potential to contribute towards progress on a social problem.

Scholars well-suited for the program will:

  • Demonstrate a commitment to both scholarly research and public service;
  • Exhibit curiosity, humility, and a learning mindset; and
  • Recognize and appreciate the complementary expertise of hosting institutions.

Process and Timeline for Interested Participants

  • A short expression of interest is due January 23, 2023. 
  • Program staff will meet with all those who have submitted expressions of interest to learn more about their interest and vision.
    • Scholars with a clear vision of their leave, placement, and timing will be invited to complete an additional application, for panel review in late February 2023.
    • For scholars at an earlier point in the planning process, program staff will collaboratively brainstorm what a potential placement could look like, with the goal of working toward an application at a future date aligned with the scholar’s plans and circumstances.
  • Awards will be communicated following a panel evaluation of applications as well as confirmation of support and logistical details from the scholar’s department/school and host organization.

Questions? Contact