Postgraduate Training Fellowships for Women Scientists from Sub-Saharan Africa and Least Developed Countries (LDC) at Centres of Excellence in the South. The Fellowship is offered to women scientists to pursue postgraduate research in a field of the natural sciences. Deadline for applications: 31 May 2015.
Programme DetailsThis fellowship programme is for female students from Sub-Saharan Africa or Least Developed Countries (LDCs) who wish to pursue postgraduate training leading to a doctorate degree at a centre of excellence in the South outside their own country.
- Please read the following information carefully before applying.
- Only women scientists from Sub-Saharan Africa and/or one of the Least Developed Countries can apply.
- Host institutions must be located in a developing country.
- Applications that are incomplete or illegible cannot be considered. Please make sure all the requested enclosures are submitted together with your application.
PurposeWith funds generously provided by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), OWSD has instituted a fellowship programme for female students from Sub-Saharan Africa and Least Developed Countries (LDCs), who wish to pursue postgraduate training leading to a PhD, at centres of excellence in the South (developing countries), outside their own country.
The general purpose of the scheme 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.
The specific aims of the scheme are:
- To improve access to educational and training opportunities in science and technology for young and talented women graduates from Sub-Saharan Africa and LDCs.
- To increase the scientific productivity and creativity of women scientists in Sub-Saharan Africa and LDCs.
- To empower a new generation of talented women to assume a leadership role in science and technology and their application to sustainable development.
ConditionsThe scheme provides fellowships to young female students from Sub-Saharan African countries and/or LDCs, to enable them to pursue postgraduate studies leading to PhD degrees at centres of excellence (renowned research institutions/universities). The institute must be in a developing country other than the applicant's home country.
The fellowship is offered to carry out postgraduate research in the natural, engineering and information technology sciences. Each fellowship will be offered for up to three years and will cover the following:
- Travel expenses to and from the host institute;
- A monthly allowance to cover accommodation and meals while in the host country, the amount of which will be determined in consultation with the host institution;
- Refund of visa costs;
- A contribution for medical insurance;
- Attending one international conference/training course during the period of the fellowship;
- On a competitive basis, attending of scientific communication and proposal writing workshop.
An applicant who has already registered or who wishes to register as a PhD student at her home institute can choose a sandwich option, whereby part of the research programme is undertaken at a host institute in another developing country. In this case the fellowship provides support (travel, accommodation and living expenses) only while at the host institution. The minimum period abroad is six months. The fellowship does not provide support while the applicant is at the home institute.
Alternatively, an applicant can enroll as a full-time research student at an institution outside her country, in this case the fellowship will provide support (travel, accommodation and living expenses) for 3 years.
The host institution will be expected to provide the necessary facilities such as tuition, training, supervision, laboratory supplies etc.
Accompanying persons are not eligible for support.
Host InstitutionThis is a South-South fellowship scheme, promoting scientific exchange among young researchers from developing countries. While applicants must come from a more restricted list of least developed countries (see list above), host institutes can be located in any developing country.
N.B. To be considered for selection, applicants must provide a preliminary acceptance letter from at least one host institute (see sample in the application form).
- Applicants should select up to three host institutes outside their home country that are centres of scientific excellence in the applicants' chosen field. The three host choices must be located in different countries (e.g. three host choices all located in South Africa would not be eligible).
- A list of recommended institutes by scientific field is available on or by email request to
- Institutes not on the OWSD list may also be considered if there are supporting letters and recommendations.
- To be eligible to apply, applicants must identify a prospective supervisor willing to work with them and apply for preliminary acceptance at the chosen host institute. See “guidelines for selecting a host institute” on page 9.
- To request preliminary acceptance at the chosen host institute(s), applicants should contact the chosen host institute(s) or prospective host supervisor with the following documents:
- Updated CV;
- Short research proposal (2-3 pages);
- Sample preliminary acceptance letter (see sample o n page 10), requesting admission at the host institute under the OWSD fellowship;
- For sandwich option only: No Objection certificate from the Head/Director of their home institute (see sample on page 11).
a) The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), China. For a full list of CAS institutes see ;
b) The Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (GSCAAS), China, ;
c) Xidian University, China
d) Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Malaysia, . Departments/schools of natural sciences are eligible;
e) Rhodes University, South Africa, . Departments/schools of natural sciences are eligible;
f) University of Cape Town, . Departments/schools of natural sciences are eligible;
g) Other institutes that will be added to the OWSD website when agreements are finalised.
Please note: applications cannot be accepted without the preliminary acceptance letter from a host institute.
- Open to qualified women science graduates from countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and Least Developed Countries (see list below).
- If applicants are over 40 years of age, they should include a brief explanation of why their research career has been delayed.
- The minimum qualification is an MSc degree (or equivalent), or an outstanding BSc honours degree in the natural sciences, engineering or information technology disciplines (see list below).
- Host institutions must be located in a developing country. This must be a different country from the applicant's home country.
- Applicants must provide a preliminary acceptance letter from at least one host institute. The letter must be prepared based on the sample on page 10 and be signed by the head of department, potential host supervisor or postgraduate studies coordinator.
- Students from eligible countries already enrolled on a PhD programme in their home country can apply for the sandwich option. This gives them access to expertise and resources that might not be available at the home institute.
- Applicants already on site in the host country will not be considered eligible since this implies that they have already secured sufficient funding for their studies.
- The applicant must be willing to return to her own country after completion of the fellowship.
- Accompanying persons are not eligible for support.
Agricultural Sciences; Structural, Cell and Molecular Biology; Biological Systems and Organisms; Medical and Health Sciences; Neurosciences; Chemical Sciences; Engineering Sciences; Information Technology; Astronomy, Space and Earth Sciences; Mathematical Sciences; Physics.
Please note that applications from students in the Basic (or 'pure') Sciences, such as Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry are encouraged.
Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros Islands, Congo Dem. Rep., Congo Rep., Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kenya, Kiribati, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Niger, Réunion, Rwanda, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tuvalu, Uganda, Western Sahara, Vanuatu, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
* The list is in alphabetical order and includes all Least Developed Countries (LDC) and ALL sub-Saharan African countries. The LDC countries are defined by The United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and the Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS).
SelectionThe fellowships are highly competitive, and the selection will be based on scientific competence and merit.
The applications will be reviewed by a panel of eminent scientists, appointed by the Executive Board of OWSD.
- Applicants should complete all parts of the attached application form and enclose the mandatory preliminary acceptance letter from a host institute, and copies of all university degree certificates and university-issued transcripts, which should include grades and courses taken..
- If the applicant is registered for a doctorate degree at an institution in her home country and wishes to pursue part of her research at another institution under a “sandwich programme”, a letter of recommendation from the home institute supervisor must be enclosed.
- Applicants must also submit a research outline for their proposed PhD programme (see sample on page 8). In the case of sandwich option applicants, the outline must make it clear which parts of the work will be carried out at the host institute.
- Two SIGNED reference letters from senior scientists familiar with the applicant’s studies must be provided. Reference letters must be on letter-headed paper, SIGNED and sent as attachments via email by the applicant directly with the rest of the application or by the referee. In this case, the subject line of the email must contain: OWSD/PG/candidate’s surname. Only signed reference letters can be accepted.
- For sandwich applicants: the two referees must be different from the PhD home supervisor.
- Incomplete, illegible or untidy applications will be evaluated poorly, therefore applicants are requested to make sure the application documents are well prepared and to include ALL the required enclosures (please see checklist on the last page of the application form).
- Applications must be clearly typewritten in English, and completed in all parts; regrettably the OWSD office cannot process incomplete and/or illegible applications. Applications will only be acknowledged once processed.