The Summer 2020 Call for Applications is now open

Application Deadline: December 9, 2019

Program Dates: Wednesday, July 1 – Friday, August 28, 2020

The Summer Fellowship program provides a rare opportunity for hands-on research experience at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and at its affiliated hospitals for outstanding Italian students in their fourth or fifth year of study for a science or medical degree in Italy.  In addition to two months research experience in a Harvard lab, the program promotes student mobility and provides young scientists with a chance to explore different scientific environments.

The fellows are guided in applying to a particular lab, given an Italian postdoc mentor while at HMS, and provided €2,700 towards living, travel and visa expenses.  The mentoring component is another important benefit inherent in the program; fellows establish relationships with colleagues that often last beyond the summer they are in the lab.

In addition to research activity, the fellows are expected to attend weekly Career Development Seminars, where they will meet with Italian scientists and faculty in Boston to discuss education and career choices.  Information on the visa application process and accommodation in Boston will be provided after acceptance into the program.

Other partners in the program, which is under the Patronage of the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research, are:  Charles River LabsCollegio Ghislieri, Collegio Nuovo, Friends of the Italian Cultural Center of Boston (FICCB)Fondazione CEUR, Fondazione Invernizzi, University of Catania, University of PaviaItalian National Research Council (CNR), Humanitas University, San Raffaele and CIBIO/University of Trento.

Summer Fellowships: how to apply

The Giovanni Armenise Harvard Foundation and its partners provide funding to Summer Fellows to receive training and conduct basic biomedical research in a laboratory at Harvard Medical School (HMS) or an affiliated hospital, from July 1 – August 28, 2020. The program is aimed at Italian university students, enrolled in Italian universities, who wish to explore the American research system and who will return to their home institution to complete their degree. Note: clinical research or clinical activities are not supported by this program.

The Foundation receives on average 100 applications and awards 10-15 fellowships per year. The mean Grade Point Average of students awarded last year was 29 (calculated with “30 e lode” valued at 30).

This program is under the Patronage of the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research.



Italian students enrolled in an Italian public or private university in a “Laurea Specialistica” (4th and 5th year) with a focus on biomedical research (e.g. Biology, Biotechnology, Neuroscience, etc.) or in the 4th, 5th, or 6th year of Medicine. Students expecting to graduate before August 29, 2020 are not eligible. Previous research experience is strongly recommended.

The Armenise Harvard Summer Fellowship is NOT compatible with having any other summer fellowship or position that requires research activity at the same time. The Summer Fellowship program demands a full-time commitment on your part.


Successful applicants will be awarded a fellowship payment of 2,700 Euros intended to help cover costs associated with travel to Boston, housing during the fellowship, health insurance, visa application fees, and incidentals. Such fellowship payment will occur as reimbursement at the end of the program.


Fellowships in the past have been sponsored by the Giovanni Armenise Harvard Foundation, Charles River Laboratories, Collegio Ghislieri, Collegio Nuovo, Friends of the Italian Cultural Center of Boston (FICCB), Fondazione CEUR, Fondazione Invernizzi, University of Catania, University of Pavia, Italian National Research Council (CNR), Humanitas University, San Raffaele University, and CIBIO/University of Trento.


The Summer 2020 Call for Applications is now open. The deadline for submitting applications and letters of reference is December 9, 2019. Applications and letters of reference submitted after 5:00 PM CET on December 9, 2019 will NOT be accepted. Applications must be in English. The application process includes completing an electronic application and submitting attachments in the following order:

Application Form

Student Curriculum Vitae summarizing both academic and extra-curricular achievements. Tips to compose CV: focus on education, basic research laboratory experience, and other interests/skills. Do not include your photo. (File name: LastNameFirstInitialCV, e.g. MillerLCV.pdf)

For guidance on how to write a CV and resume, refer to the information in this link:

University Transcript in English (official statement of exam results) with translation, if necessary. (File name: LastNameFirst InitialTranscript, e.g. MillerLTranscript.pdf)

1 page (approx. 500 word) Personal Essay describing your career path and research experience, if any, and how you will benefit from this program. The essay must speak to who you are, your research experience, your scientific interests, and where you see yourself in the future. Be specific and personal. While it is acceptable to use an English speaker to edit the language in the essay, students who use an essay written by someone else will be disqualified. Tips to write the Personal Essay: 1. Personality – Describe your strengths and your areas that need development. 2. Drivers – What are the reasons you want this fellowship? What would you like to achieve? How do you expect this experience to impact your career/academic development? 3. Science – Why did you choose science? What kind of scientific experience do you have? If you have worked in a lab, what did you learn? What did you like or not like about it? (File name: LastNameFirstInitialPersonalEssay, e.g. MillerLPersonalEssay.pdf)

For guidance on how to write a cover letter, refer to the information in this link:

Proof of English Language Proficiency (optional): Applicants must be fluent in English and should submit TOEFL or Cambridge Proficiency scores. Students with no TOEFL or CP test scores should submit a statement certifying competency in English. (File name: LastNameFirstInitialEnglish, e.g. MillerLEnglish.pdf)

½ page (approx. 250 word) Lab Essay indicating three laboratories at HMS or affiliated hospitals you are most interested in, and why, listed in order of preference. For each laboratory, specify the full name of the Principal Investigator, the department, and institute. Refer to the list below for lab possibilities. Tips to write Lab Essay: 1. Read! – You cannot change your choice of labs after you have submitted your application; therefore, read all the information you can find about the labs you’ve chosen. 2. Information – Clearly state the full name of the Principal Investigator, the department, and institute for each of your lab choices. 3. Science – Describe each lab’s research activity and explain the scientific reasons why you want to join that lab. What kind of project would you like to be involved in? Why do you think it would benefit your academic/professional development? (File name: LastNameFirstInitialLabs, e.g. MillerLLabs.pdf)

For guidance on how to write a cover letter, refer to the information in this link:

Two Letters of Recommendation from professors or other educators who know you well, addressing your independence, aptitude and academic performance. Letters should be on institute letterhead, signed, scanned, and emailed directly from the referee to in a pdf file.  (File name: LastNameFirstInitialofStudentfromReferee, e.g. MillerLfromCorsi.pdf)


Applicants will be notified of the results of the initial selection process by January 22, 2019. Finalists will be invited for a Skype interview with the selection committee on Saturday, January 25, 2020. Decision notification will be sent to all finalists by mid-February.


For laboratory opportunities on the Harvard Medical School campus (the first seven links) and laboratories at Harvard-affiliated hospitals, refer to the list below:


Visa Application Process: Information on the visa application process will be provided after acceptance into the program. Applications from students enrolled in an Italian university who are permanent residents of Italy (non-Italian citizens who do not hold Italian passports, but have “permesso di soggiorno” status) will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  Exchange students are not eligible. 

As part of the visa application process, fellows will require evidence of personal financial resources to support their time at Harvard, i.e. a bank statement demonstrating that the fellow and/or their parents have funds of at least USD 2,000.


Cost of Living: Boston is an expensive city. Consequently, the fellowship payment of 2,700 Euros will not cover 100% of the fellows’ expenses incurred during their stay in Boston.

Housing: Information on accommodation in Boston will be provided after acceptance into the program. Housing costs in Boston have increased greatly over the past several years.

Lab Placement: Fellows will receive guidance in applying for an internship to the labs.

Career Development Seminars: Fellows are expected to attend weekly Career Development seminars and workshops where they will meet Italian scientists and faculty in Boston to discuss education and career choices.

Research: The fellowship experience will culminate in Research Day, an event that provides fellows with the opportunity to share their summers’ lab work with their PIs, lab members, and the entire summer fellows community.

Final Report: At the conclusion of the fellowship, fellows will be required to submit a final report reflecting on their overall fellowship experience and scientific achievements gained during the summer.

For inquiries related to the Summer Fellows program or application process, please contact: