Visiting PhD Fellowship - Q&A

For the 2021 online Visiting PhD Fellowship Programme find the Q&A here 


What happens if I am accepted into the programme but due to restrictions related to the pandemic, I cannot visit Helsinki for 3 consecutive months as planned?

A: If all or part of your stay in Helsinki is not possible due to any COVID-related restrictions, you can still participate in an online version of the programme for as long as those restrictions apply, provided you have the necessary internet connection. Note that in this case, the monthly stipend is payable only for the time actually spent in Helsinki.

Selection criteria

Can I apply for the Visiting PhD Fellowship Programme after completing my PhD?
Unfortunately, the programme is only open to people who are still pursuing their PhD during their visit at UNU-WIDER. However, you might be eligible for our Visiting Scholars Programme, more information on which can be found here.

What are the requirements for applying for a Visiting 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 Visiting 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?
A: The Visiting PhD Fellowship is the new name for what was previously called the PhD Internship. The programme itself remains the same. 

Application procedure

Why can I not access the online application form link from your website?
The link to the online application form becomes active one month prior to the submission deadline, the application procedure starts on 1 March and 1 September of each year.

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

  1. your research proposal and
  2. 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 should 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 Visiting 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?
A: Section D refers to the research proposal that you plan to conduct during your stay at 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. 

If applying in September, when would the fellowship take place?
If applying in September, you would be visiting UNU-WIDER for three months in the period of March-June of the following calendar year; if applying in March, you would be visiting the Institute for three months in the period of September-November of the same calendar year. 

I made a mistake/uploaded the wrong file in my application, how can I add this information?
A: 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.

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.

Does UNU-WIDER take care of accommodation for visiting PhD fellows?
Successful candidates will receive information regarding accommodation after their acceptance of the offer.

Technical issues

What do 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 on 30 September or 31 March at 23:59 UTC+3 when the application closes. The application form will be open again for submissions on 1 September or 1 March each year. 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

Financial support

What constitutes living expenses?
Accommodation, public transport, food, etc.