Online PhD Fellowship – an opportunity to further your thesis with an international research institute

APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED In 2021 the UNU-WIDER Visiting PhD Fellowship Programme will be delivered online. The programme gives registered doctoral students the opportunity to utilize the resources and knowledge available within UNU-WIDER to support their PhD dissertation or thesis research on developing economies and to work with our researchers in areas of mutual interest.

Those accepted for the online visiting PhD fellowship will take place over three consecutive months, September–November 2021. During the programme selected candidates will engage with other PhD fellows and UNU-WIDER researchers to develop their research with the aim to prepare one or more research papers and present an online seminar on their research findings. The PhD fellows may also have the opportunity to publish their research in the WIDER Working Paper Series.

You can read about previous experiences from the (in person) programme here

Selection criteria

Applicants must be enrolled in a PhD programme and have shown ability to conduct research on developing economies. Candidates working in other social sciences may apply but should keep in mind that UNU-WIDER is an economics-focused institute. Candidates should be fluent in oral and written English and possess good quantitative and/or qualitative analytical skills. Applications from suitably qualified early-career, female, and developing country researchers are particularly encouraged. The programme is especially addressed at researchers at later stages of their PhD.

The Visiting PhD Fellowship Programme is highly competitive and only a limited number of fellows can be accepted. In recent years, one per cent of all applications have been successful. Participants in the online programme will be exceptionally allowed to apply for future ‘in person’ iterations of the programme.
UNU-WIDER will provide the following during the online PhD Fellowship

  • access to research resources 
  • a distance mentor
  • engagement with other PhD fellows and UNU-WIDER researchers
  • participation in the WIDER Development conference taking place online in September 2021.

To ensure participants can engage meaningfully with the programme, their peers, and their mentor, applicants must have access to a computer with an internet connection, with the following minimum requirements: 

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

Interested applicants must submit their application online.

Please note that the deadline for submission of applications is 30 April 2021, 23:59 UTC+3.

Selected applicants will be informed by email of the final decision within four weeks of the closing deadline. The selected applicants must confirm their decision to take up UNU-WIDER's offer within two weeks of being contacted.

If you are interested in participating in this programme you should complete and submit the application form

As part of your application, you will be asked to upload your curriculum vitae. Your PhD supervisor will need to provide UNU-WIDER with a letter of reference, which should be emailed (by your supervisor) to the following address: phdreference@wider.unu.edu. The reference letter will also be used to certify that you are enrolled in a PhD programme at your university.

Please note we do not receive applications by email or post. 


If you have questions about the programme please first check our questions and answers page. If you still require assistance please contact us at the following email address: phdfellow@wider.unu.edu

Please note that replies may take up to five working days.