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Djokovic Science and Innovation Fellowship

In 2016, the Novak Djokovic Foundation launched the Djokovic Science
and Innovation Fellowship at the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University.

The aim of the Djokovic Science and Innovation Fellowship is to develop the next generation of academic change agents who will both contribute to advances in science and leverage those advances to inform, inspire, and mobilize key actors in the field of early childhood towards new solutions that yield breakthrough outcomes for children facing adversity.

The program employs a cohort model designed to advance interdisciplinary thinking and
translational science capacity through high-touch mentoring and tailored content delivery.

A group of 4 advanced level doctoral fellows, each with a faculty sponsor, are selected annually and convened monthly at the Center through the course of one academic year. This deepens the fellow’s capacity to understand the impact and implications of their work on real world challenges faced in relevant communities and among populations who grapple with daily adversity. In the same manner, each fellow also participates in an immersion experience with the Center’s science-based innovation team so as to experience firsthand the complexities and possibilities associated with the systematic practice of using science as a source of inspiration for new ideas and ways of working in the field of early childhood.

In the latter half of the year, each fellow integrates their insights and lessons learned to convene and host an academic roundtable and present her or his

work to a small group of hand-picked faculty from across Harvard University.

The objective of this capstone experience is to engage in a supportive, constructive, and highly rigorous discussion about the scientific substance and potential applicability of the fellow’s research to enhance the development of children, with a particular focus on the needs of those facing significant adversity.

At its core, the Djokovic Science and Innovation Fellowship infuses translational science and knowledge development with peer-to-peer learning and high-touch mentoring in a vibrant and collaborative science driven community to intentionally scaffold the experiences of advanced doctoral students at a formative moment in their career development.

The Djokovic Science and Innovation Fellowship is open to Harvard University
students who are in the advanced stages of their doctoral studies.

Candidates must have excellent academic records along with well-defined
research interests related to early childhood development.

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Our co-founder, Novak Djokovic, and Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D., director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University expressed themselves very clearly in their support of this initiative:

“I am delighted we are investing in the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University and incredibly excited to launch the Djokvoic Science and Innovation Fellowship under the guidance of Jack Shonkoff -- a leading authority on early childhood development. We look forward to meeting the inaugural cohort of Djokovic Fellows in 2017 and, through their research, to furthering the body of knowledge in this field. We believe in facilitating the very best in early childhood development and education, always striving to provide a strong foundation for every child. Our project work on the frontlines is informed by the latest academic thinking and now we will also be in a position to contribute to that body of knowledge for the benefit of practitioners and academics alike, in Serbia and globally.”

Novak Djokovic

Co-founder of the Novak Djokovic Foundation
“The Novak Djokovic Foundation understands that healthy development in the early years builds a strong foundation for thriving societies. They also know that the world needs a pipeline of new, innovative leaders with deep knowledge about how adversity disrupts child development and what can be done to prevent that disruption. By launching the Djokovic Science and Innovation Fellowship at the Center on the Developing Child, the Foundation is investing in a new generation of champions for young children who will lead the way in driving science-based strategies to produce breakthrough impacts on the lives of those who are facing the enormous stresses of poverty, violence, and social exclusion.”

Jack P. Shonkoff, MD

Director of Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University

Why the Djokovic Science and Innovation
Fellowship matters to all of us

At the Novak Djokovic Foundation we are fiercely devoted to furthering the field of study surrounding Early Childhood Development and Education because knowledge really is power, and if we can acquire as much scientific knowledge as possible about the ways children grow, about the fundamental importance of their early years, about the best, most compelling strategies to guide and nurture them, then we are given the very real and very essential power to change lives in mighty ways. We want to contribute to the body of research that has proven, undisputedly, to be so critical to improving children’s lives, particularly those lives that come from marginalized backgrounds. It’s an area that is gaining momentum and traction in academic circles but still very much requires pioneers in the field to further explore and illuminate existing research as well as forge new branches of study. It’s exciting and relevant and we’re getting on board. And we’re doing it in a big way.

Schools, teachers, children, parents, families: it’s who and what we’re passionate about here at the Novak Djokovic Foundation, and we endeavour to support these networks, and the people that

navigate their lives within them, in real and tangible ways.

School builds and classroom refurbishments, community outreach initiatives, teacher-training seminars- these programs are powerful and important and all share a common theme that thrums throughout each of them, informing and improving them: the relevance and necessity of the study of Early Childhood Development, and, by extension, the implementation of practices developed from that study.

A school cannot be as instrumental in nurturing young minds and characters, a guardian cannot parent as effectively, and a teacher cannot teach with the same depth of understanding for the pupil unless we fully comprehend the nuances of the architecture of a child’s brain, the incredible neurological and psychological infrastructure of their persons. That awareness is all the more relevant and necessary when working with and engaging children from disadvantaged backgrounds, who for reasons of poverty, violence or socio-economic status often lead vulnerable lives.

This is why the Djokovic Science and Innovation Fellowship at Harvard
University’s Center on the Developing Child matters to us.

To support this initiative philanthropically, please contact Maja Jovanovic Contact Maja

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Find out more about the Center on the
Developing Child at Harvard University

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