View the press release for the 2020 John Heinz Dissertation Award.


  • A multidisciplinary award committee will assess each nominated dissertation according to the following criteria:
    • Contribution to the body of knowledge on social insurance,
    • Policy relevance of the findings,
    • Quality of the analysis, and
    • Clarity of the exposition.
  • In case of jointly authored components, the committee expects that the related contribution of the coauthors will be explained fully.


  • Any dissertation addressing topics relevant to the planning and implementation of social insurance policy is eligible for nomination. Sample topics: income inequality, workforce issues, healthcare, long-term care financing, labor market effects of Social Security, family social insurance protections, disability, or cross-national comparisons. Nominations are encouraged from many disciplines and professions, including, but not limited to, actuarial science, disability policy, economics, public policy, social policy, health policy, history, philosophy, political science, social work and sociology. All dissertations completed between January 1, 2019 and October 18, 2019 were considered.


  • Nominations for the award can be made by a member of the student’s dissertation committee or by an active member of the National Academy of Social Insurance.
    • Complete applications must include:

      1. Nominator Form
      2. Nominator Letter
      3. Applicant Form
      4. A copy of the paper emailed to: Devin Cowens,