USA: World Forestry Institute International Fellowships Program for Both US and Foreign Citizens

WFI International Fellowships Program

Course(s) Offered: Forestry, natural resources, or related
Course Level: Postgraduate (master, fellowship)
Provider: WFI
Country to Study in: USA

Scholarship Description
The WFI International Fellowships Program (for all nationalities) is a program of the World Forestry Center, which also operates a museum, event facilities, educational programs and demonstration tree farms. The World Forestry Center is an educational 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

The WFI Fellowship Program brings forestry and forest products professionals from around the world to work at the World Forest Institute for 6 to 12 months.

For consideration, Fellowship candidates should meet these minimum qualifications:
  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent in the field of forestry, natural resources, or other related degree. Alternatively, candidates with at least four years of forest-related work experience may apply.
  • Proficiency in English, both written and spoken.
  • At least 21 years of age.
  • Initial research proposal on a topic relevant to forestry in the home country. The project should take advantage of forestry in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Ability to be self-motivated, to work independently towards a clear research goal or output, and to work with colleagues from diverse backgrounds.
  • WFI accepts applications from US and foreign nationals. Anyone meeting our minimum qualifications can apply.
  • Obtain funding for the Fellowship. Download a cost description here.
Eligible groups
Open to applicants from any country (including the U.S.)

Participating Institutions
World Forest Institute, Washington Park, Portland, Oregon, USA

Fields of study
The Fellowship is a Blend of Research, Networking, and Cultural Exchange. There are currently three main components to the program:
  1. Conducting a Project
  2. Networking with public and private forestry organizations in the US, especially in the Pacific Northwest
  3. Educational Outreach
For detailed information on the Program Components, see link below

Number of awards
Over 80 Fellows from 25 countries have participated in the program.

Sponsorship duration
6 to 12 months

Scholarship benefits
Cost of the Fellowship:
Twelve-month Fellowships cost US $20,000. Shorter terms are prorated. Hence, a six-month Fellowship would cost US $10,000. Approximately 80% of the funds go directly to the Fellow's salary and program activities. Visa and travel fees are additional.

A Matching Grant Program is available:
In 1998, WFI received a matching grant from the Harry A. Merlo Foundation to provide partial scholarships to the Fellowship Program. The grant will pay 50% of the Fellowship cost if a matching 50% can be obtained either through sponsorship from another organization, or through self-funding from the Fellow . WFI only accepts Fellows who are fully funded, and applicants must be able to identify the source of their funding as either from a third party sponsor or from the Fellow. A detailed list of costs can be downloaded here.

Although we offer a matching grant to the WFI Fellowship, this Fellowship is not primarily a monetary award, but rather an actual program with group activities. Therefore you cannot be based outside of WFI, although short-term trips (<2 weeks) scattered throughout the program are allowed depending upon other scheduled events. Fellows must be based in Oregon at our offices and everyone is expected to participate fully in the program, including site visits, field trips, special excursions, meetings etc., on top of conducting their independent research project. The matching grant cannot be applied to scholarships to university programs or funding for work conducted in other countries or based outside of WFI.

Salary and Benefits:
Fellows receive a monthly salary of $1,000 USD after taxes, health insurance, and a public transportation pass. The salary is generally sufficient to cover apartment rent (shared), utilities, phone, and food on an average budget. Please note that individual lifestyle differences will result in higher or lower costs.

Method of Application
Please read all information below before contacting us. We do not provide grants, scholarships, or study abroad funding for persons wanting to study outside the US or anywhere other than WFI.

Step-by-Step Application Procedure:
1. Develop a project proposal that fits within the guidelines of the Fellowship program. Projects are a key element of the Fellowship Program. Download the project proposal guidelines here. Please note that proposals must be original in scope.

Projects submitted to WFI must meet the following requirements:
  • The project should take advantage of being located in the Pacific Northwest (PNW). Elements of the project must involve collaboration with PNW forest industry, local organizations, researchers, or communities.
  • The project should include elements from both the Fellow's home country and the US. For example, the project could make a comparison/contrast case study from examples in both countries.
  • The project must be able to be completed within the time frame that the Fellow will be here. WFI does not fund work that occurs in locations other than at our center.
  • WFI does not fund field trials as we do not have laboratory facilities available at our location. Most Fellows conduct projects that involve collecting qualitative data and involve surveys, interviews, literature review, shadowing, conferences, and networking.
  • The project must have a tangible outcome, such as a report, manual, poster session, or an event (such as a conference).
2. Complete the WFI application in full. All sections must be completed including the financial section. Please note that any incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Download an application here.

Only applicants with full sponsorship or those that can pay the 50% Fellowship fee will be considered. The WFI Fellowship Program provides only the matching grant from the Harry A. Merlo Foundation. We do not provide any other funding or offer other funding sources for the program. Furthermore, this program cannot entertain applicants that wish to be based outside of WFI in Portland, Oregon.

3. Email your complete application, proposal included, along with your CV to WFI Director Sara Wu, Please do not send CV or letter of interest without a completed application form. It is free to apply.

4. Once your application has been reviewed you will receive notice of whether or not you have been accepted into the program. If you are accepted, you will begin the process of applying for the J-1 visa if you are foreign citizen. This application process is lengthy and requires a different application form and additional documentation. There is a fee associated with applying for the visa. Please see the description of costs above.

Application Timeline:
Applications are taken year round. Download the application form here. If you are planning for a full year Fellowship, the start date is unimportant. If planning for a shorter Fellowship, we recommend that your stay encompass the summer months (June through October). During the summer months more site visits are scheduled due to drier weather. Applications are due at least two months prior to the start date.

Australian applicants should also contact the Gottstein Trust.

Joint World Forest Institute Fellowship and Master of Science/Master of Forestry Program.
If interested please contact WFI Director Sara Wu:

Application Deadline: Rolling (varies/ongoing))
Open to International students: Yes

More Scholarship Information and Application

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