The President’s Administrative Innovation Fund (PAIF) was created to catalyze administrative innovation and collaboration across Harvard by investing in staff-generated, creative solutions that support our faculty, students and staff colleagues. Since 2016, the PAIF has invested $500,000 in 41 projects involving over 200 administrative innovators across the University.

Click here to learn more about this year’s funded projects and to see their video pitches. 


This year’s theme is The Future of Work.



Each year, the PAIF supports ideas that exemplify administrative innovation:


  • Administrative Excellence
  • Talent Development
  • Service Delivery
  • PAIF Info Session
    March 18
  • Application Submission
    April 12

Many of our FY22 projects align with this year's theme of 
The Future of Work

Past themes included Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging and Cost Savings.

Who is eligible to Apply

All benefits-eligible Harvard administrative/professional, support or service and trades staff member may apply. Faculty, post-doctoral fellows, temporary employees, students, and co-ops are not eligible.

If you have a question about eligibility, please inquire via the link below


Application Process

Please check back in February 2022 for updates on the next PAIF application cycle

  • 1

    Application Submission

  • 2

    1st Round Judging (Finalists Selected)

  • 3

    Finalists Submit Project and Budget Plan

  • 4

    Finalists Prepare for a Pitch Presentation

  • 5

    Final Round Judging

  • 6

    Selection of Awardees

Innovation Stages

The PAIF is designed to fund three stages of innovations, as described below: Seed, Sustain, and Scale. We welcome administraive innovations that feature cross-unit, cross-school, and cross-functional collaboration and we encourage projects that have the potential for positive impact throughout the University.

  1. 1

    Our project is a new idea that we are seeking to launch with support from the President’s Administrative Innovation Fund
  2. 2

    Our innovation has been implemented and we are seeking support from the President’s Administrative Innovation Fund to continue development and use
  3. 3
    Our innovation has had initial success and we look forward to expanding it to other schools/units at the University

Most projects request $5,000 to $15,000 in funding. One or two exceptional projects may receive up to $25,000 in funding. Projects must be completed within one year.




In this application we’re only asking you for an estimate of how much funding you’re requesting.

Finalists will be asked to develop a more detailed budget. Note funds may be used for non-exempt overtime (as applicable), software/technology, temporary help (staff or students), back-filling for staff working on the project, and other project-related costs. 

Funds may not be used for payment to staff salaries nor to fund an individual’s proprietary product (any products resulting from PAIF funded projects are Harvard University intellectual property).

Judging Criteria

Projects will be judged according to the following criteria:

  • The proposal represents an innovative approach to an administrative challenge and is expected to have measurable impact once implemented.
  • The plan outlines a scope of work that can be accomplished within a year.
  • The proposed budget is informed, practical, and reasonable in alignment with the scope of work and the goals of the project.
  • Ideas with cross-school/unit and cross-functional collaborations, and ideas that enable us to realize the University’s full potential as a diverse and inclusive community will be especially valued.

By submitting your innovation, you are acknowledging a few things:

  1. You and your co-applicants are benefits-eligible Harvard administrative/professional, support or service and trades staff members. may apply.  (Faculty, post-doctoral fellows, temporary employees, students, and co-ops are not eligible.)
  2. You have spoken to your manager(s) about this idea and they are supportive of you spending time to lead its implementation.
  3. Your idea will be shared among judges and other administrators across the University (and will be attributed to you.)