PhD Fellowships for Women Scientists from Science and Technology Lagging Countries 2021

The Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) invites applications for PhD Fellowships in the 2021/22 academic session.

The Fellowship is offered to women scientists from Science and Technology Lagging Countries (STLCs) to undertake PhD research in the Natural, Engineering and Information Technology sciences at a host institute in the South.

The general purpose of the fellowship programme is to contribute to the emergence of a new generation of women leaders in science and technology and to promote their effective participation in the scientific and technological development of their countries.

Candidates can choose between two study schemes:

  • full-time fellowship (maximum 4 years funding), where the research is undertaken entirely at a host institute in another developing country in the South.
  • sandwich fellowship, where the candidate must be a registered PhD student in her home country and undertakes part of her studies at a host institute in another developing country.
    The sandwich fellowship is awarded for a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 3 research visits at the host institute. The minimum duration of the first visit is 6 months. The total number of months spent at the host institute cannot exceed 20 months. The funding period cannot exceed 4 years.
    OWSD particularly encourages candidates to consider the sandwich option, which allows them to earn the PhD in their home country while accessing specialist researchers and equipment abroad, at the host institute.

Worth of Award

The OWSD fellowship covers:

  • A monthly allowance to cover basic living expenses such as accommodation and meals while in the host country
  • A special allowance to attend international conferences during the period of the fellowship
  • A return ticket from the home country to the host institute for the agreed research period
  • Visa expenses
  • Annual medical insurance contribution
  • The opportunity to attend regional science communications workshops, on a competitive basis
  • Study fees (including tuition and registration fees) in agreement with the chosen host institute which is also expected to contribute
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  • Candidates must confirm that they intend to return to their home country as soon as possible after completion of the fellowship.
  • Please note that following the counsel of Sida, and owing to scientific and economic changes in a number of developing nations, OWSD and TWAS have intensified the focus of their programmes on the countries where science and technology are significantly lagging.
  • The immediate effect is that OWSD Fellowships will now be open to applicants from 48 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) identified by the United Nations, plus 18 countries selected because of their low-income levels and specific needs for support in building research capacity.
  • Formerly, OWSD had a list of eligible countries which included all LDCs and any additional countries in sub-Saharan Africa. With this new list, effective for any fellowship from 2017 onward, some countries in Africa (including Nigeria) are no longer considered low income and are therefore no longer eligible for fellowships support. Some new countries outside Africa have been added.
  • They will do their best to work with those countries that are no longer on the list to see if they can provide partnership funding for fellowships in the future.

Eligible scientific fields

  • Agricultural Sciences
  • Astronomy, Space and Earth Sciences
  • Biological Systems and Organisms
  • Chemical Sciences
  • Computing and Information Technology
  • Engineering Sciences
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Medical and Health Sciences
  • Neurosciences
  • Physics
  • Structural, Cell and Molecular Biology
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Eligible academic qualification

The minimum qualification is an MSc degree in one of the above-listed study fields.

Eligible host institutes

  • Host institutes must be located in a developing country in the South (not the candidate’s home country).
  • Candidates should identify a host institute outside their home country. They can identify a further two host institutes if desired.
  • Candidates who are already on site in the host country will not usually be considered eligible.

How to Apply

  • The online application system will only accept applications complete in all parts, including the required documents. All documents must be uploaded through the online application system. Do not email any document to OWSD unless requested.
  • The OWSD Secretariat reserves the right to judge an application ineligible if the answers and/or documentation do not correspond to the specific question asked (e.g. blank documents, false certificates, outdated reference letters).
  • Only selected applicants will be notified.

Deadline: Applications close April 15, 2021.


Click here for more details and to apply