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 am an African citizen based in a university outside of Africa?
No. Applicants must be citizens of a sub-Saharan African country while enrolled in a PhD program in accredited universities in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda.

I do not 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. 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, and 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 research 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 2024 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 am currently 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, and 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). Returning 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.


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 June and December.

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.

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 2024 application?
Applications must be received by February 11, 2024. 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 who is familiar with your work and academic interests and that can testify to your ability to successfully complete your research.

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.

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 preliminary budget, approved dissertation proposal document, approved research instrument (questionnaire, interview schedule, observation schedule, etc.), 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?

Are there formatting requirements for the Project Proposal and Bibliography?
No, but you are encouraged to submit the dissertation proposal approved by your department/graduate school and your approved research instrument(s): questionnaire, interview schedule, observation schedule, etc.

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

Do I need to submit transcripts with my application?

Do I need to submit my master’s degree certificate with my application?

Fellowship Awards

What are the selection procedures?
Fellows are selected by the members of the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa Fellowship Selection Committee, who use established peer review procedures. The Fellowship Selection 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 36 awards are offered in a given year across all three pre-doctoral 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 the biodata page of a current passport for the applicant.
  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 fellowship amount?
The doctoral dissertation research fellowship provides fellowships up to US$15,000.

What does the Dissertation Research 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. Foreign citizens 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 Research fellowship award will cover fellows’ travel, research, and living expenses (only if it is related to university-approved housing/living arrangements; otherwise, it should be related to the following: food, transportation, utilities, and welfare) for up to twelve months of research.

What is the fellowship term?
All funded research for the dissertation research fellowship must take place between June 2024 and June 2025. All research must be completed within a continuous six-to-twelve month period.

I am applying for multiple fellowships and/or grants. Should I be awarded an SSRC Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa fellowship, 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.

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.