PhD Fellowships for Woman Scientists at OWSD 2018

Deadline: 1 June 2018
Open to: women scientists from developing countries
Fellowships: fully funded


OWSD offers PhD Fellowships for Women Scientists from scientifically and technologically lagging countries at renowned research institutions in the South.

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.

Funds are generously provided by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

The specific aims of the fellowship programme are:

  • To improve access to educational and training opportunities in science and technology for young and talented women graduates from STLCs;
  • To increase the scientific productivity and creativity of women scientists in STLCs;
  • To empower a new generation of talented women to assume a leadership role in science and technology;
  • To encourage women scientists to contribute to the sustainable development of their home countries;
  • To enable women scientist from the South to collaborate and network on a regional and international level;


Candidates must confirm that they intend to return to their home country as soon as possible after completion of the fellowship

Eligible scientific fields

  • 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;
  • Structural, Cell and Molecular Biology;

Eligible academic qualification

The minimum qualification is an MSc degree in one of the above listed study fields.

Eligible host institutes

  • Host institutes must be located in a developing country in the South (not the candidate’s home country);
  • A list of recommended institutes is available here;
  • Other institutes, not included in the link above, will also be considered if they demonstrate appropriate resources and expertise;
  • Candidates should identify a host institute outside their home country. They can identify a further two host institutes if desired;
  • Candidates who are already on site in the host country will not usually be considered eligible;


OWSD offers 2 PhD Fellowship options.

A Full-Time PhD scholarship where OWSD fellows study up to 4 years at a host institute in a developing country outside their home country.

A ‘Sandwich’ option where applicants who have already registered or who wish to register as a PhD student at their home institute, can visit a host institute in another developing country for at least 6 months at a time.

The OWSD fellowship covers:

  • Travel to and from the host institute;
  • A monthly allowance to cover accommodation and meals while in the host country;
  • OWSD and the host institutes will jointly cover 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;
  • An invitation to attend regional scientific communication and proposal writing workshop;

How to Apply?

Required documents for application

OWSD strongly encourage eligible applicants to start gathering all requested documentation as soon as possible:

1. PhD research proposal outline

  • Candidates must submit a PhD research proposal outline (max 2.000 words) which should be a summarized description of the PhD research proposal;
  • Guidelines for writing a good research proposal outline are available here;
  • Candidates are invited to study carefully these guidelines and ensure that their proposal is well structured and clear. The project proposal is given particular attention at selection;

2. Degree certificates and transcripts

Candidates must submit copies of:

  1. all university degree certificates; and
  2. all university-issued transcripts, indicating all courses and grades.

3. Curriculum Vitae

Candidates must submit their complete CV (including a list of publications, if available).

4. Preliminary acceptance letter

Candidates must submit a preliminary acceptance letter from at least one host institute.

  • The letter must be signed by the head of department or by the postgraduate studies coordinator;
  • The study starting date on the preliminary acceptance letter must be the year following the application (e.g. if you apply for a fellowship in 2017 the acceptance letter should indicate the starting date as 2018);
  • The sample available here must be used for the preparation of this document;

5. Letter of commitment

Candidates must submit a letter of commitment from the prospective host supervisor confirming that the host institute has the resources (e.g. bench fees, laboratory equipment) required to undertake the project.

  • The letter should also describe why the host institute is appropriate for the subject of study and confirm the supervisor’s interest in working with the candidate;
  • Guidelines for letter drafting are available here;

6. Reference letters

Candidates must submit two reference letters from senior scientists familiar with their work.

  • Guidelines for reference letter drafting are available here;
  • For SANDWICH candidates only: please note that the home PhD supervisor cannot be one of the two referees;

7. Passport

Candidates must submit a scanned copy of the passport page, which contains personal details (photo, document number etc.).

Candidates applying for a SANDWICH study scheme must, in addition, submit also the following documents:

8. Registration and No objection certificate

  • Sandwich candidates must submit the Registration and No objection certificate prepared by the home institute confirming that the candidate is a PhD registered student and that there is no objection to her studying at the chosen host institute abroad;
  • The certificate template can be downloaded here and must be completed and signed by the head/director of the home institute;

9. Supporting statement from home supervisor

Sandwich candidates must submit a supporting statement, prepared and signed by the home supervisor on letter-headed paper. The supervisor should:

  1. state that he/she is willing to support the candidate undertaking part of her studies at the host institute abroad; and
  2. describe how the research visit abroad will impact/benefit the candidate’s research project.

The online application system will only accept applications complete in all parts, including the required documents. All documents must be uploaded through the online application system. Do not email any document to OWSD unless requested.

For more information please visit the official website.