Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility

Am I eligible for funding if I have not yet completed a master’s degree?
No. All applicants must already hold a master’s degree at the time of application.

Am I eligible to apply for the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa Fellowship if I’m not a citizen of an African country?
No. Applicants must be citizens of a sub-Saharan African country.

Am I eligible to apply for the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa Fellowship if I’m an African citizen based in a university outside of Africa?
No. Applicants must reside in, or be citizens of a sub-Saharan African country while enrolled in a PhD program in accredited universities in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, or Uganda.

I don’t hold a faculty position but I am enrolled in a PhD program in one of the six eligible countries. Am I eligible to apply?
Yes. As of May 2015, the program prioritizes applicants holding a faculty position or demonstrating a durable commitment to higher education in Africa, but does not restrict eligibility to such individuals.

Does the dissertation research have to be conducted in one of the six eligible countries?
No. The proposed research can take place anywhere in the world. However, applicants may find it more pragmatic to conduct their proposed research within Africa.

What disciplines are eligible for support through this fellowship program?
The fellowships are available to applicants from all disciplines in the social sciences, including anthropology, economics, history, geography, political science, psychology, and sociology. Fellowships are also available to PhD candidates from related fields, such as communications, international relations, law, peace studies or even the humanities, provided that the applicant engages social science literature and uses social science research methodologies.

Am I eligible for funding through the doctoral dissertation completion fellowship if I already hold a PhD?
No. This fellowship program is only available to applicants who are enrolled in PhD programs but have yet to complete the degree.

May I be enrolled in a “sandwich program” and apply for a fellowship?
Only candidates who will return to their home institution, having completed the courses by the time the fellowship begins, will be eligible to apply for a fellowship. Candidates who will still be taking courses outside their home country once the award period would begin in late Spring 2019 may not apply for a fellowship.

While I hold a lecturer position at a university in one of the countries where you offer fellowships, I currently am pursuing my PhD at a university based outside Africa. I am committed to remaining in my faculty position upon completion of my PhD. Am I eligible to apply?
No. Applicants must be enrolled in a PhD program in an accredited university in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, or Uganda.

Is there an age limit?
Applicants with a faculty position should be at least 10 years away from the age of retirement.

Am I eligible to apply for a Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa Fellowship if I have previously received an award through the program?
Yes. Previous awardees are encouraged to apply (e.g. a recipient of the Dissertation Proposal fellowship can later apply for a Dissertation Research and/or Dissertation Completion award). Re-applicants will be asked to address specific questions on the application, including how they have responded to previous reviewer comments and modified the proposal since receiving the funding.

Am I eligible to apply for a Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa Fellowship if I have previously received an award through another SSRC program?
Yes. Applicants who have previously received an award through another SSRC program are eligible to apply.

How should peace, security, and development be interpreted? How do I know if my project is relevant to this theme?
Peace, security and development should be interpreted broadly to include issues related to the linkages between the three concepts from a multidisciplinary perspective. You are advised to take a look at the list of prospective issues that are considered relevant to Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa Fellowships.

Workshops

If I receive a Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa Fellowship, do I have to attend both workshops? I have a longstanding obligation that coincides with the dates of one of the workshops.
Yes. If awarded a fellowship, you are expected to attend both workshops but must attend at least one workshop in its entirety. If you know that you will be unable to be present, you should not apply to the program. The workshops take place in July and January.

Do I have to pay my own way to attend the workshops?
No. If awarded a fellowship, your expenses (airfare, hotel, meals, ground transport) will be paid for by the SSRC. SSRC staff will make arrangements for travel and accommodation or in rare cases offer you a maximum sum with which to arrange your own needs.

Application Process

How do I apply for the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa Fellowship?
You must send us your complete application electronically through the online application portal available at http://soap.ssrc.org/. This link to the application is also available on the program website.

Can I submit my application in a language other than English?
No. All application materials, including reference letters, must be submitted in English.

When is the deadline for the 2019 application?
Applications must be received by 15 December 2018. The two reference letters must also be received by the same deadline.

Where do I find the Reference Letter forms?
All application materials, including these forms, are found on the online application portal.

Should my dissertation supervisor serve as one of my two referees?
Yes, at least one of the two reference letters should be submitted by the dissertation supervisor. For the second referee, please select a colleague that can testify to your ability to successfully complete the dissertation.

Should my referees submit their letters of recommendation and the referee forms on their own, or should I include the letters in my application?
Referees should upload their letters of recommendation directly through the online application portal. Applicants will be directed to an automated request service which sends detailed instructions to their referees directly via email.

Do you have examples of proposals that have been awarded fellowships?
No. The program does not provide examples of successful proposals. For suggestions on proposal writing, we encourage you to consult the “On the Art of Writing Proposals,” an article with advice on the construction of a research proposal or project statement.

Can I submit my application even if my Reference Letters has not been received?
Yes. You are strongly encouraged to submit your application well in advance of the deadline in order to avoid missing the posted deadline. There is no need to wait for your Reference Letters to be received in order to submit your application – they will be automatically added to your application.

Application Components

What are the application components?
Applicants must submit an online application and are asked to provide basic biographic details, project details, and relevant education and employment details. In addition, applicants must upload a dissertation proposal document, a dissertation chapter (if applicable), and a project bibliography, and must request two reference letters in support of their application.

How many references do I need and whom should I ask to write references for me?
Two. One Reference Letter must come from your dissertation supervisor and a second letter should be from someone who is familiar with your work and academic interests. Only two Reference Letters will be accepted. Any additional letters will be discarded.

Do I need to submit a Language Evaluation?
Applicants must complete a language evaluation as part of the online application only if this is applicable to their research (part of their research involves conducting interviews in, or consulting literature written in local or foreign language/languages).

Do reference letters need to be submitted in English?
Yes.

Are there formatting requirements for the Project Proposal and Bibliography?
Yes. Your project proposals must be double-spaced and not exceed ten pages in length (including any appendices or end notes). The bibliography must not exceed two pages and must be in standard bibliographic format and may be single-spaced. Your project proposal and bibliography should not exceed twelve pages in total, preferably collated as ONE single Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx) file. The project proposal and bibliography must be in Times New Roman 12-point font type with one-inch margins on all sides. Project proposals must be formatted with double-spacing. Footnotes and endnotes may be single-spaced but must be included within the ten pages. Project Proposals not adhering to these guidelines will not be considered.

Can I submit photographs or charts with my application?
Yes, but any non-textual material must be included within the ten-page limit of the project proposal.

Do I need to submit transcripts with my application?
No.

Do I need to submit my Master’s degree certificate with my application?
No. But you will be required to include a photocopy of the certificate along with other documents if you are awarded a fellowship.

Fellowship Awards

What are the selection procedures?
Fellows are selected by the members of the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa Fellowship Program Committee, who use established peer review procedures. The Fellowship Program Committee includes distinguished members of the academic and research communities of Africa, Europe, and North America.

How many awards are offered in a given year?
Up to 45 awards are offered in a given year across all three fellowship opportunities and all six eligible countries.

What happens if my project is selected for funding?
You will be asked to submit an estimated budget outlining the funds you will need to complete your project. This will be taken under consideration, along with any other funds you may have received, when your final award amount is determined. You will also need to submit the following documents before award monies will be issued:

  1. A letter from the applicant’s home institution (university department or faculty, museum, or other research center), which indicates acceptance of the terms of the award and support for the applicant’s project. This letter must be composed on institutional stationery and must be officially stamped and signed.
  2. A photocopy of the highest university degree obtained by the applicant. The photocopy must bear an official university stamp.
  3. A photocopy of relevant pages of the applicant’s passport.
  4. A statement, composed and signed by the applicant, declaring that the applicant will work full-time on the project during the fellowship period, forgoing any other employment, consultancy, business, or extended travel away from the site of the project.

What is the grant amount?
The doctoral dissertation completion fellowship provides grants up to US$15,000.

What does the Dissertation Proposal fellowship not cover?
You must use the fellowship funds exclusively for the purposes stated in the submitted application and the approved budget. SSRC stipends are not tax-free for US citizens, but some expenses incurred on fellowships can be claimed as “research expenses.” US citizens should refer to the IRS website (www.irs.gov) for specifics. Citizens from all other countries must determine whether their fellowship is taxable in their home country or their country of residence and the fellows are responsible for paying any taxes due on the fellowship monies.

What does the Dissertation Research fellowship cover?
The Dissertation Completion grant will supports a one-year leave from teaching and administrative responsibilities including fellows’ travel, research, and living expenses.

What is the grant term?
All funded writing for the dissertation completion fellowship must take place between May 2019 and May 2020. All research must be completed within a continuous twelve-month period.

I am applying for multiple grants. Should I be awarded an SSRC Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa grant, can I also accept funding from other sources?
Yes, but fellows cannot accept funding from the SSRC and another organization for the same expenses at the same time. The SSRC program will work with fellows to construct a budget that is acceptable to SSRC and to other funding organizations. Please note that you cannot hold a fellowship from the African Humanities Program at the same time as a fellowship from the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa Program.

Do the awards go directly to the fellows or are they channeled through a university or institution?
All awards are paid directly to the fellows.

Does the SSRC offer support for visas and research clearances?
No. Fellows are responsible for their own travel visa arrangements and research clearances.

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