Do you have a game-changing idea?

The President’s Administrative Innovation Fund 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.

The team seeks proposals around the ideas of:

  • Academic Administration
  • Talent Development
  • Service Delivery
  • Given the vast changes going on in the world–including our work world–there is no better time to focus on this year's theme - "The Future of Work"!

    The deadline has been extended to May 4th by 11:59PM.

  • Application Submission
    May 4

This year's prompt is
The Future of Work

Some areas of focus in this theme include

  • Closing the skills gap
  • The impact of the care economy
  • The influence of the multi-generational workforce
  • Managing flexible work
  • Change management and adaptability


Apply Now

Applications are now close, please stay tuned for next year.

Sign up for more info

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

Application Process

  • 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

There are four different ‘types’ of innovations the PAIF is designed to fund.  Innovations related to Inclusion and Belonging will be especially valued this year.

  1. 1
    Experiment (Minimum Viable Product, MVP)

    A very limited test of an idea that is expected to generate learning; and MVP uses the smallest set of features/activities possible to test a hypothesis.
  2. 2

    You have an idea for an innovation and hope to implement it at a small scale (e.g., in one School/Unit, or a select handful of Schools/Units).
  3. 3
    Collective Action
    You have had some successful experiments and would now like to bring your innovative solutions to a shared administrative challenge to a cross-school or cross-unit group.
  4. 4
    You already have a successful local implementation of an innovation and seek to broaden its reach and impact by supporting its application in new settings.

Most projects can request up to $15,000 in funding for up to one year. MVP’s can receive up to $5,000 for up to six months. One or two exceptional projects may receive up to $25,000 in funding for up to 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.
  • The proposal is expected to have measurable impact once implemented.
  • The proposal highlights a persistent administrative problem worth solving.
  • The intended outcome reflects the proposed type of innovation (MVP, Pilot, Collective Action, Scale).
  • The initial plan outlines action items the team can execute within a year (or 6 months for MVPs).
  • Ideas with cross-School and cross-functional collaboration, and ideas that enable us to realize the University’s full potential as a diverse and inclusive workplace 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 member may apply.  Faculty, post-doctoral fellows, temporary employees, students, and co-ops are not eligible.
  2. You have spoken to your manager about this idea and he/she is 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).