Lightning Scholars

Inspired by Penn founder Benjamin Franklin's groundbreaking research in electricity, the Lightning Scholar program brings untenured, but tenure-track, faculty at either the assistant or associate level from around the world to Philadelphia for a semester or year of writing, fellowship, and bridging the gap between academia and the policy world.

Since launching in 2016, Perry World House has catalyzed interdisciplinary and policy-relevant research by scholars at Penn and around the globe, and convened conversations in Philadelphia on the most pressing global challenges. With fellowship and scholars programs, Perry World House has connected Penn’s students and faculty with the world’s leading academics and policy makers, infusing our research, teaching, and engagement with the ideas, wisdom, and experience of those shaping world events.

This fellowship program allows untenured faculty members at leading research universities around the world to join Perry World House and the Penn community for a semester or full academic year in residence in Philadelphia to produce a major research project or book. While the fellowship program is for faculty working on global affairs topics, preference is given to faculty working on subjects broadly related to our two research themes, The Future of the Global Order: Technology, Power and Governance and Global Shifts: Urbanization, Migration, and Demography.

Melissa Lee, an Assistant Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University’s Department of Politics and the Woodrow Wilson School, has been announced as the 2020-21 Lightning Scholar.