As part of its global mission to improve the quality of public policymaking through research, teaching, and policy engagement, the Sanford School of Public Policy and DCID host both short- and long-term visiting scholars on a highly selective basis. Preference is given to requests from universities and other research and public policy-oriented organizations with which the School has collaborative institutional relationships.

Most visiting scholars have a PhD and come to DCID to perform independent research related to their field under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Applicants should indicate their research interests and identify faculty in DCID with whom they would like to work during their time at Duke. Applicants should also include a recent curriculum vitae and their research proposal, and confirm that their funding will be sufficient to cover monthly subsistence costs, health insurance, and the School’s administrative fee (based on the length of the scholar’s visit).

Visiting scholars may visit DCID for up to one year, during which time they can audit classes offered by MIDP and have full access to the Duke University Libraries and computing resources in the Sanford and Rubenstein Hall Buildings. The administrative fee for visiting scholars is $6,000 per semester; the minimum monthly living expenses required by Duke University for visa issuance purposes for an individual is $2,361.45 per month.


  • The candidate must have a research proposal of interest to one of the DCID faculty, and this faculty must be available to advise the scholar
  • The candidate must have a strong command of the English language
  • The candidate must be highly recommended by professional colleagues
  • The candidate must have appropriate institutional sponsorship/financial support from his/her sponsoring organization
  • Preferably, an institutional relationship exists between the candidate’s employer/university and the Sanford School of Public Policy/DCID

How to Apply

Interested candidates should contact Dr. Francis Lethem, Professor of the Practice Emeritus, at

Domestic visiting scholar applicants and applicants to the Magdalena Yesil Visiting Professorship (Armenia) program, please contact Linda Lytvinenko, Assistant Dean for Academic Programs at the Sanford School.

In your inquiry, please include:

  • Letter/email indicating the reasons for your interest in DCID and general agreement with the principles outlined above
  • Research proposal
  • CV or resume, including your picture
  • Letter of support regarding your scholarship/policy work from two professional supervisors or colleagues
  • A copy of your top two publications
  • Proposed dates of visit
  • Funding source meeting above requirements
  • Optional: Your TOEFL or IELTS score if coming from a non-English speaking country 

Current Visiting Scholar

Supported by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey, Dr. Mehmet Uzunkaya (MIDP ’06) joined Duke Center for International Development (DCID) on August 5th, 2019 as a visiting scholar for a nine month period. Before joining DCID, Uzunkaya served for 21 years as a public sector official in Turkey. His work has included public investment management, sectoral development policy formulation and infrastructure finance. He has been involved in appraisal, financing and evaluation of more than 450 public investment projects from a variety of sectors, including general administration, transportation and logistics. Uzunkaya has also taken part in formulating short, medium and long-term national development strategies in areas such as transportation, construction, technical advisory, management consulting and public-private partnerships (PPPs). He is particularly specialized in alternative financing methods for public infrastructure investments, especially PPPs.

He has (co)-authored scholarly and working papers on subjects combining finance and international development, including appraisal and evaluation of PPPs, economic opportunity cost of capital, relationships between country risk ratings and stock markets, and economic performance in market-based and bank-based financial systems. His Ph.D. thesis on international cost of equity won him an incentive award from the Central Bank of Turkey.

Since 2013, he has led the Thematic Working Sub-Group on Evaluation of PPPs (TWsG-PPP) on a voluntary basis within the European Evaluation Society. The group consists of experts worldwide who specialize in evaluation and PPPs. He is also a board member of the Turkish Monitoring and Evaluation Society.

At Duke’s DCID, Uzunkaya will focus on developing a novel approach in Value for Money (VfM) analysis of PPPs in infrastructure. Classical VfM approaches that are being used throughout the world to test whether PPPs create value for money as compared to traditional public financing utilize a financial viewpoint; Uzunkaya aims at developing a novel VfM model with a more holistic approach that takes greater account of socio-economic factors.

Uzunkaya holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering (high honor) from Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey, a master’s degree in international development policy from Duke University and a Ph.D. in finance from Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey. Along with his career in the public sector, he has taught part-time graduate and undergraduate courses at Middle East Technical University’s Institute of Applied Mathematics and Department of Business Administration. He has taught courses in Financial Management and Principles of Finance and Project Finance.   

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