The Lowenstein Project co-directors typically begin project development over the summer before each academic year begins. We work with staff members of human rights or public interest NGOs to develop projects that address existing research needs within the organizations and that are also tailored to the capabilities and skills of YLS students. Students can be recruited to conduct research on domestic or foreign laws, policies, or advocacy strategies, depending on what information would be of most use to the organization's ongoing work. We are happy to provide you with some examples of previous research projects if this would assist you in formulating a project proposal.
Once a research proposal has been generated, a group of 2–6 students is assigned to work on the research or advocacy project. The students begin working on the project in late September or early October and finish the project by mid-to-late December. Depending on how many students express interest in a project, between 20–120 hours can be devoted to the research. All research and writing is completed at Yale using university resources, so students do not incur any expenses.
Organizations typically begin communicating with their assigned students by either having an on-site meeting or through scheduling a conference call. As part of this initial contact, organizations are expected to provide students with a description of the project they are to complete, additional background information, and where possible, a sense of where to locate the resources needed to complete the project. A staff member of the organization works as the students’ supervisor and is expected to maintain regular contact with the group throughout the semester to provide feedback and guidance on the research being generated.
At the end of the semester, students submit their work product to the organization, which can take the form of a memorandum, sections of a brief, a set of recommendations, or simply a summary of the research they have conducted.