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Call for Applications - Postgraduate Training Fellowships for Women Scientists from Sub-Saharan Africa and Least Developed Countries

May 9, 2013

The Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) is inviting applications for Postgraduate Training Fellowships for Women Scientists from Sub-Saharan Africa and Least Developed Countries (LDC) at Centres of Excellence in the South, with a submission deadline of 31st July 2013.. The Fellowships are being offered to women scientists to pursue postgraduate research in a field of the natural sciences.


Supported by funds from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the fellowship programme targets female students (generally below 40 years of age) 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, outside their own country.

The minimum qualification for applicants is an MSc degree (or equivalent), or an outstanding BSc honours degree, in the natural sciences, engineering or information technology disciplines. The host institute where the applicant wishes to pursue her doctorate degree must be in a developing country other than her own. Applicants already on site in the host country will not be considered eligible. The applicant must be willing to return to her own country after completion of the fellowship.

Applicants from the Least Developed Countries are particularly encouraged to apply. These countries are Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros Islands, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kiribati, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sudan, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tuvalu, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu, Yemen and Zambia. Even Sub-Saharan African countries that are not in this list are eligible under the programme. 

Scope of Support

Each fellowship is up to three years and covers visa costs; 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; and medical insurance. The fellowship will also support attendance at one international conference during the period of the fellowship; and on a competitive basis, attendance at a scientific communication and proposal writing workshop and the Fifth OWSD General Assembly and International Conference scheduled for 2014. The host institution will be expected to provide the necessary facilities such as tuition, training, supervision and laboratory supplies. Accompanying persons are not eligible for support.

Applicants who have already registered or wish to register as a PhD student at their 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, with a minimum period abroad of six months. The fellowship does not provide support while the applicant is at the home institute.

 Host Institutions

Applicants are expected to pursue their studies at renowned institutes in developing countries outside their own country, and are encouraged to apply for postgraduate admission in advance. When submitting their application, it is not obligatory that the applicant has either applied for and/or obtained admission at the host institute – but they are strongly advised that prior to applying, they should identify one or more host institutes suitable to their research interests and seek to identify a prospective supervisor willing to work with them. They should contact the preferred host institute(s) with their updated CV and a short research proposal, mentioning that they are intending to apply for an OWSD fellowship. OWSD can provide a list of centres of excellence in the South, compiled by TWAS.

The following institutes have collaboration agreements with OWSD, which could facilitate acceptance of candsidates seeking OWSD support:


Applications must be on the official Application Form , typewritten in English and completed in all parts. Applicants must enclose copies of all university degree certificates and academic transcripts. If the applicant has already gained admission at an eligible centre of excellence in the South, a copy of the letter of acceptance must be enclosed. 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 also be enclosed.

Applicants must also submit a research outline  for their proposed PhD programme. In the case of the sandwich option, the outline must make it clear which parts of the work will be carried out at the host institution. Two reference letters from senior scientists familiar with the applicant's studies must be enclosed with the application in sealed envelopes or directly emailed to with the subject line: OWSD/PG/Candidate’s Surname. Only duly signed reference letters will be accepted.

Applications may be submitted by email or post, and to be considered must reach the OWSD secretariat by 31st July 2013 at the following address:

The Secretariat,
The Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD)
c/o The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS)
ICTP Campus – Strada Costiera 11
34151- Trieste – Italy
Tel: +39 040 2240 321
Fax: +39 040 2240 689

OWSD will inform the applicants as soon as their applications are processed. 

The OWSD Postgraduate Training Fellowships for Women Scientists from Sub-Saharan Africa and Least Developed Countries has supported one hundred and seven Graduates since 1998.

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