Visiting PhD Fellowship

Our Visiting PhD Fellowship Programme gives registered doctoral students an opportunity to utilize the resources and facilities at UNU-WIDER for their PhD dissertation or thesis research on developing economies, and to work with our researchers in areas of mutual interest. Deadline for applications is 31 March 23:59 UTC+3.

Visiting PhD fellows typically spend three consecutive months at UNU-WIDER before returning to their home institution. During their time in Helsinki, fellows prepare one or more research papers and present a seminar on their research findings. They may also have the opportunity to publish their research in the WIDER Working Paper Series.

You can read about previous experiences from the programme, formerly called the PhD Internship, 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 percent of all applications have been successful.

Financial assistance

UNU-WIDER provides a travel grant to cover the costs of travel to and from the location of your PhD granting institution, medical insurance (for medical and hospital services resulting from sickness and accident during your stay at UNU-WIDER), and a monthly stipend of EUR 1,600 to cover living expenses in Helsinki during the period of their fellowship. The programme does not cover expenses related to dependents.

Application procedure

UNU-WIDER only receives online applications for the Visiting PhD Fellowship Programme twice each year. Deadlines for submission of applications are 31 March and 30 September 23:59 UTC+3 each year. When applying in September, you would be visiting UNU-WIDER in the period of February-June of the following year and when applying in March, you would be visiting UNU-WIDER in the period of August-November of the same year. 

Please note that the link to the online application form will only become active one month prior to the submission deadline (e.g., application procedures start on 1 March and 1 September of each year). 

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 two weeks after 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(at) 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 or you experience any problems with your online application, please first check our questions and answers page. If you are still experiencing problems please contact us at the following email address: phdfellow(at)

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