Apply for the 2023 OWSD Early Career Fellowship

Source: Your Opportunities in Africa

The Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) Early Career Fellowship is inviting women who have completed their  PhDs in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects and are employed at an academic or scientific research institute in one of the listed Science and Technology Lagging Countries (STLCs) to apply for its USD 50,000 award dedicated to supporting research scholars.

About OWSD Early Career Fellowship

The OWSD Early Career Fellowship programme is organised by the OWSD and funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada. The fellowship programme supports early-career women scientists to lead important research projects in countries identified as especially lacking in scientific and technological resources as defined by the TWAS-OWSD Coordinating Committee.

Successful fellows will undertake their research projects in one of the eligible countries. Applicants must demonstrate that they have spent significant periods in that country (at least five years in total) and must also have a guarantee of employment at the institution where they intend to conduct the research.

During the 3-year fellowship, fellows will build on their leadership and management skills and develop connections with various public and private sector partners to transform their research into marketable products or guarantee its impact on a broader scale. In addition, by improving their communication and outreach skills, fellows will also learn to effectively present their research to various audiences to attract new collaborators and potential funders that ensure the sustainability of the research project.

Thus, by supporting an increasing number of Early Career fellows, OWSD is creating a network of outstanding women scientists who can provide mentorship and be role models for the next generation of women leaders in STEM.


To be eligible to apply for the OWSD Early Career Fellowship, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  1. Eligible countries
  • Applicants must have been residents in one of the listed Science and Technology Lagging Countries (STLCs) for at least five years. The five years do not have to be consecutive; and
  • Applicants can be citizens of any country, provided the above residence requirement is fulfilled.
  1. Eligible employment
  • At the time of application, applicants must provide proof of being employed at the university or research institute where the research project will be carried out. If employment has not yet commenced, proof of employment offer and confirmation of acceptance is required;
  • The institution where the research project will be carried out must be in one of the listed STLCs; and
  • Applicants must prove that they will receive a salary from their university/research institute for the three-year fellowship.
  1. Eligible STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)
  • 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; and
  • Structural, Cell and Molecular Biology.

Research project proposals from other fields (social science, education, etc.) are not eligible and will not be considered.

  1. Eligible academic qualification
  • PhD in one of the above-listed study fields; and
  • PhD must have been awarded at most ten years before application.
Research Project Proposal

For information concerning the research project proposal, please click here.

Required Documents for Application

Eligible applicants are encouraged to gather all requested documentation as soon as possible. However, the documents listed below may take weeks to prepare, especially when they require official signatures.

In addition, If applicants have difficulties obtaining the required documentation for the online application due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a self-certification form can be provided instead. Please click here for more information.

Furthermore, applicants must submit the following:

  1. Passport
  • A scanned copy of the passport page containing personal details (photo, document number etc.); and
  • Passport-size portrait photo.
  1. Proof of residence

Official documentation that proves residency for at least five years in one of the eligible STLCs. As long as the address and the applicant’s name appear clearly, the following documents can be submitted as proof of residence: 

  • Certificate of residency; 
  • Statement from the local police office or municipality and population registry office; and 
  • Rental agreement, utility bills, employment contract.

This list is not exhaustive and alternative documents can be considered. However, applicants submitting any document in their local language must attach at least an informal translation into English. Furthermore, the documents must have an English translation to be considered.

  1. PhD certificate
  • A scanned copy of the PhD certificate or proof of PhD issued by the University.
  1. Proof of employment
  • A letter from the employer (dean, vice-dean or equivalent head of the applicant’s institution) on headed paper confirming the applicant’s position at the institution and that the applicant will receive a salary for at least three years starting from the year of application. IMPORTANT: Please use the template here;
  • If employment has not been undertaken yet, proof of employment offer and confirmation of acceptance will be requested from the applicant, to be submitted with the above-provided template, duly completed and signed;
  1. Curriculum Vitae
  • Complete updated CV.
  1. Publications
  • Complete list of publications.
  1. Reference letters
  • Applicants must submit two (2) reference letters – at least one must be from a senior scientist familiar with the applicant’s recent research; and
  • The letters must include the referee’s contact details for follow-up from the Selection Committee.
  1. Supporting statement of the head of the applicant’s institution
  • The supporting statement of the head of the applicant’s institution must be completed and signed by the dean, vice-dean or equivalent head. The supporting statement can be downloaded here.
  1. Budget file
  • Applicants must upload a standardised budget file in Excel format, inserting all items and related costs requested to undertake the research project. The file will be available for download from the online application system.
  1. Additional documentation
  • The applicant may wish to provide additional documents which provide evidence of skills, qualities or actions described in the research project (e.g. certificate of awards, memberships (etc.)

NB: All documents must be uploaded through the online application system. Do not email any documentation to OWSD.

Selection Process
  • Applications will be reviewed by a panel of eminent scientists who are specialists in each STEM subject and understand the challenges facing women scientists from developing countries. OWSD will appoint committee members, and OWSD will chair the selection meeting;
  • Applications will be evaluated based on scientific quality, project feasibility, and geographical and scientific fields’ distribution;
  • The Selection Committee’s decision is final and not eligible for appeal. It cannot be contested or subject to explanation or justification. Individual feedback will not be provided; and
  • The research must demonstrably impact the local, national or regional community.

Successful candidates will be notified by September 2023. The expected duration of the fellowship is three years from the date of contract signing (end 2023). No extension will be granted.

Additional Information

Awardees will have two weeks to confirm award acceptance from the selection notification. In addition, they must confirm personal details and provide Administering Institute’s banking documentation for the contract. Additionally, awardees will have 45 days to return to OWSD all required documentation signed and endorsed by the Administering Institute. The candidate must ensures the timeline is respected, and OWSD cannot grant extensions beyond 45 days. Failure to comply with this timeline will result in the fellowship offer being withdrawn and made to reserve list candidates.

If selected for an OWSD Early Career fellowship, kindly note that OWSD must be informed by the fellow of additional/supplementary grants, funds and bursaries awarded in connection with her research, specifying the donor, amount, duration and purpose of the grant.

Please note that funding from other sources is seen as a positive demonstration of concept and feasibility as long as resources requested expand and supplement activities and resources rather than duplicate them.

How to Apply
  • Interested individuals should apply here before 27 April 2023.
  • For more information about the fellowship processes, click here.

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