Online PhD Fellowship – Q&A

Selection criteria

Can I apply for the online PhD Fellowship Programme after completing my PhD?
The programme is only open to people currently pursuing their PhD (and during the online programme with UNU-WIDER). However, you might be eligible for our Visiting Scholars Programme (not currently receiving applications), more information on which can be found here.

What are the requirements for applying for an online PhD Fellowship?
Information on the requirements can be found on our website under ‘Selection criteria’. Applicants must be enrolled in a PhD programme and have shown ability to conduct research on developing economies. The programme is especially addressed to researchers at later stages of their PhD. Candidates working in other social sciences than economics may apply but should keep in mind that UNU-WIDER is an economics-focused institute. Candidates should be fluent in both oral and written English and possess good quantitative and/or qualitative analytical skills.

Can I apply for the programme when I am not living or working in a developing country?
While the programme is open to everyone who is enrolled in a PhD, we particularly encourage applications from female and developing country researchers.

My PhD is not in economics. Am I still eligible to apply?
Candidates working in other social sciences than economics may apply for the online PhD Fellowship programme, but should keep in mind that UNU-WIDER is an economics-focused institute.

How does the Visiting PhD Fellowship differ from a PhD Internship?
The Visiting PhD Fellowship is the new name for what was previously called the PhD Internship. The programme itself remains the same. 

Application procedure

Can I apply for the in-person Visiting PhD Fellowship in the future if I participate in the online PhD Fellowship? 
Yes, participants in the online programme will be exceptionally allowed to apply for future ‘in person’ iterations of the programme.

I don’t have access to the internet at home, can I still apply? 
You will need to be able to access the internet regularly, preferably daily, to be able to interact with peers and your mentor. You will need to engage in video chats and present your research through an online platform. For this you will require the following: 

  • internet connection - broadband wired or wireless (3g or 4g/lte)
  • webcam
  • microphone

Which documents are required during the application process?
You are required to upload the following documents in PDF:

  • your research proposal and
  • your curriculum vitae (CV), including a list of your principal publications, if applicable (co-authors, year, title and publisher).

In addition, please note that your supervisor must provide UNU-WIDER with a letter of reference which needs to be emailed (by your supervisor) to the following address: phdreference@wider.unu.edu.

What sections does my research proposal need to contain?
Your research proposal has to contain the following sections:

  1. title of your research
  2. general description of your proposed research (max. 500 words)
  3. description of your main research questions or hypotheses (max. 300 words)
  4. description of the methods or approaches you will use to answer your research questions (max. 500 words)
  5. description of your main data and information sources (max. 300 words)
  6. explanation on how the proposed research relates to your PhD thesis or dissertation (max 200 words)
  7. explanation on how the fellowship at UNU-WIDER could contribute to your research (max. 200 words).

Should the research proposal (Section D) in my application relate to my current PhD or a new study specifically for the Visiting PhD Fellowship Programme?
Section D refers to the research proposal that you plan to conduct during the online programme with UNU-WIDER. It must be an unfinished part of your dissertation. For example, if your dissertation consists of three papers, this will typically be the second or the third one.

Should I contact a resident researcher at UNU-WIDER prior to submitting my application?
At the application stage it is not necessary to contact a resident researcher.

If my application is accepted, will I be assigned a mentor at UNU-WIDER?
All successful candidates are assigned to a suitable mentor from the UNU-WIDER resident researcher staff. 

I made a mistake/uploaded the wrong file in my application, how can I add this information?
Please submit a new application with the amended information, your latest application is what will be considered.

How can I check the status of my application?
Unfortunately, we are unable to give updates on the status of individual applications. All applicants will receive an email whether or not they have been selected. The selected candidates will be informed within four weeks of the closing deadline; candidates who have not been selected will be informed within two months of the closing deadline. Please make sure your email address in the application form is correct.

Can I receive feedback on my rejected application?
Due to the large amount of applications we are not able to give feedback on individual applications.

My supervisor will not be able to submit the letter of reference by the closing deadline, can the letter be submitted at a later stage?
Your supervisor can submit the letter at a later stage but we prefer to receive the letter before the application deadline. We also accept letters sent by your supervisor’s assistant on behalf of the supervisor, copying the supervisor in on the email message.

Is there a specific format for the letter of reference?
There is no specific format for the letter of reference, however your supervisor is requested to include your name in the subject line of the email.

Can you confirm if my supervisor has submitted the letter of reference?
Due to the large amount of applications, we are not able to respond to individual requests regarding letters of reference. However, if your supervisor has sent it to the email address mentioned on our website, they will have received an acknowledgement email.

Technical issues

What should I do if I cannot upload my research proposal or CV?
Please note that the system only accepts files in PDF format and less than 1MB in size. If you are still experiencing problems, please contact webinfo@wider.unu.edu

What do I do if I am getting ‘ACCESS DENIED’ or ‘PAGE NOT FOUND’ error messages when trying to access the application form?
The error messages could be caused by the unavailability of the application form. It becomes unavailable when the application closes. Please note that we cannot accept late submissions. If the error messages are not related to the unavailability of the application form, please contact webinfo@wider.unu.edu

What do I do if my current employer/affiliation (university) is not listed on the application form?
Please enter the full name of your employer, then click on the green ribbon to add your affiliated organization to the list.

Who can I contact if I am having another technical problem with the application form?
Please take a screenshot of the error message and send it to: webinfo@wider.unu.edu