About Nuclear Scholars Initiative

The Nuclear Scholars Initiative aims to provide top graduate students and young professionals from around the country with a unique venue to interact and dialogue with senior experts on nuclear weapons issues.


Addressing an increasingly complex array of nuclear weapons challenges in the future will require talented young people with the necessary technical and policy expertise to contribute to sound decision making on nuclear issues over time. To that end, PONI runs a yearly Nuclear Scholars Initiative for a group of select graduate students and young professionals. Those accepted into the program are hosted once per month at CSIS in Washington, DC, where they participate in daylong workshops with senior government officials, policy experts, and technical experts. Over the course of the 6-month program, Scholars are required to prepare a research product and write a blog post. The research product options include a journal article, an op-ed, a presentation or a collaborative research product. Scholars will be given the opportunity to develop their research product in teams throughout the program, be matched with a senior expert to review their research, and later publish in a journal produced by CSIS, present at a PONI conference or publish externally. The program will run from January to June 2019.

How to Apply

The deadline for applications for the 2019 class is October 19, 2018. Please send the below materials to Sarah Minot at sminot@csis.org by the deadline.

Application Materials:

  1. Resume or CV listing complete educational and professional information and relevant extracurricular and research activities.
  2. Research Proposal Form outlining your proposed research and methodology, and description of why you are interested in participating in the program.
  3. Letter of Recommendation from your current employer or professor that references your writing ability, engagement, and interest in nuclear issues.

2019 Nuclear Scholars Research Proposal Form

PONI will support a collaborative research project for the 2019 class based on a Carnegie Corporation grant addressing emerging threats to nuclear stability. Research proposals focusing on this topics are strongly encouraged. While not an exhaustive list, other areas of interest for the class could include the future of arms control, crisis management and escalation, or deterrence.

2019 Nuclear Scholars Initiative Collaborative Research Topics