Postgraduate Training Fellowships for Women Scientists and Engineers from Africa and Developing Countries

Postgraduate Training Fellowships

Course(s) Offered: Sciences, Engineering, IT
Course Level: Graduate (phd, research)
Provider: Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
Country to Study in: Any country (other than applicant's own)

Scholarship Description
This scholarship has been revised and renamed.
Now 'PhD Training Fellowships for Women Scientists from Science and Technology Lagging Countries'. Click to see the most recent publication of this fellowship.

The Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) instituted a fellowship programme, the Postgraduate Training Fellowships for Women Scientists from Sub-Saharan Africa and Least Developed Countries, for female students from Sub-Saharan Africa and Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

The OWSD Fellowship programme is targeted at those women who wish to pursue postgraduate training leading to a Ph.D., at centres of excellence in the South (i.e. developing countries) outside their own country. Funds for this programme have been generously provided by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

Following recent discussions with donors, earlier restrictions that limited eligible research projects to those in the basic sciences have been dropped. Therefore, applications are now accepted from female scientists in all branches of the sciences, engineering and information technology sciences.

The fellowships are open to qualified women science graduates (generally below 40 years of age) from countries in Sub-Saharan Africa or LDCs. 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.

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 (see official website for this) 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.

Selection criteria:
The 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

Eligible groups
Citizens of ALL Least Developed Countries (LDC) and ALL sub-Saharan African countries

Participating Institutions
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. Note: To be considered for selection, applicants must provide a preliminary acceptance letter from at least one host institute.

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

Fields of study
The fellowship is offered to carry out postgraduate research in the natural, engineering and information technology sciences.

Eligible scientific fields are:
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.

Number of awards
Not specified

Sponsorship duration
Each fellowship will be offered for up to three years

Scholarship benefits
Each fellowship will cover the following:
  • Travel to and from the host institute;
  • A monthly allowance to cover accommodation and meals while in the host country;
  • Study fees (including tuition and registration fees);
  • Visa expenses;
  • A yearly medical insurance contribution;
  • A lump sum allowance to attend international conferences during the period of the fellowship;
  • On a competitive basis, attending of scientific communication and proposal writing workshop; and
  • On a competitive basis, attending the Fifth OWSD General Assembly and International Conference scheduled for 2016.
Method of Application
Applicants should complete all parts of the Fellowship Application Form (found on the official website) and enclose the preliminary acceptance letter from a host institute preferably supported by the letter of commitment from the chosen host supervisor, and copies of all university degree certificates and university-issued transcripts, which should include grades and courses taken.

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. Applications should be submitted by email only to and should reach the OWSD Secretariat by the deadline below.

It is important to visit the official website (link to it is below) for complete information on how to apply to this scholarship

Applications should reach the Secretariat by the deadline of 31 May 2016 at the latest.

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.

Accompanying persons are not eligible for support.

Application Deadline: 31 May 2016
Open to International Applicants: Yes

More Scholarship Information and Application

Related: International Scholarships and Fellowships for Women

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