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The Clara Marina O’Donnell Fellowship

The Clara Marina O’Donnell fellowship has been established in memory of Clara, who died of cancer at the age of 30 in January 2014. She worked as a researcher at the Centre for European Reform, mainly covering foreign and defence policy, for seven years. For some of that period she was based at the Brookings Institution, in Washington DC.  She graduated in European Studies from King’s College London, before taking a Masters in International Relations at the University of Cambridge.

This fellowship programme is therefore managed by Brookings (the Centre for the United States and Europe), Cambridge (the Department of Politics and International Studies), Kings (the Department of European & International Studies) and the CER.

Information on how to apply for 2020-21 will become available in the spring of 2020. 

Comments from our four previous fellows: 

Yehuda Ben-Hur Levy, 2014-15

My time at the CER as the first Clara Marina O’Donnell Fellow was one of the most stimulating and challenging experiences of my career. The CER has a unique nature, which stems from the intellectual freedom it provides to its researchers, together with the high standards of research and fact checking CER colleagues demand from each other. Thanks to this formula and the guidance from brilliant colleagues, I was able to learn in less than six months how to write for a think-tank and present a persuasive argument to policy makers. These are precious tools that will be of use for the rest of my professional career. 

Sophia Besch, 2015-16

The fellowship for me was a great opportunity to learn about the work of think-tanks through events, travel and most importantly the day-to-day work of researching and writing. The CER is also uniquely placed to work on the UK- EU relationship, and every fellow will get the chance to be a part of the debate currently ongoing about the future of the EU.

Luigi Scazzieri, 2016-17

The fellowship is an immensely enjoyable and enriching opportunity to gain first-hand experience in a leading European think-tank. I was able to carry out my own research and also had the opportunity to give talks, publish in newspapers and appear on radio and TV. Being able to spend time in Brussels and DC was also eye opening, and allowed me to gain an insight into policy-making on both sides of the Atlantic. Above all perhaps, it was fascinating to immerse myself in a whole range of policy debates on Europe’s future.

Noah Gordon, 2017-18

The Clara Marina O’Donnell Fellowship is a great opportunity for a young person interested in policy. While it was wonderful to attend the CER’s high-level conferences and have my work published by international media outlets, the most important thing for me was how the CER approaches writing. There is a uniquely collegial atmosphere at the think-tank: a fellow will not only read and edit the work of all their senior colleagues, but also go through an exacting editing process that brings their own work up to CER standards. It can be tough, but it’s an invaluable experience, wherever you go in your later career.