Commonwealth Academic Fellowships

Commonwealth Academic Fellowships are offered for early career academics from developing Commonwealth countries. These fellowships are funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), with the aim of contributing to the UK’s international development aims and wider overseas interests, supporting excellence in UK higher education, and sustaining the principles of the Commonwealth.

You can apply for a Commonwealth Academic Fellowship to spend between three and ten months at any approved UK university or higher education institution. Applications must include a justification for the length of award requested.

Purpose: To provide early career academics with the opportunity to plan, conduct, or write research, to encourage applications from universities where capacity building is a priority, and to enhance knowledge, skills and contacts in Fellows’ given disciplines.

Intended beneficiaries: Early career academics (with no less than two years’ and no more than ten years’ postdoctoral academic experience) working in universities in developing Commonwealth countries

In your application, you are expected to identify one university that you think is the most appropriate to host your fellowship, and to explain your reasons. You must also provide evidence of agreement to host your fellowship from an academic at your chosen university.


To apply for these fellowships, you must:

  • Be a Commonwealth citizen, refugee, or British protected person
  • Be permanently resident in a developing Commonwealth country
  • Be employed by a university in a developing Commonwealth country
  • Be available to start your fellowship in the UK on 1 October 2016. Any other start date will be permitted only in exceptional circumstances
  • Have been awarded your PhD between two and ten years prior to October 2016
  • Not have previously held a Commonwealth Academic Fellowship within five years


  • Have been awarded your PhD by a UK university while on a Commonwealth Scholarship


  • Be in the employment of your nominating university

The CSC promotes equal opportunity, gender equity, and cultural exchange. Applications are encouraged from a diverse range of candidates. The CSC is committed to administering and managing its scholarships and fellowships in a fair and transparent manner – for more information, see the CSC anti-fraud policy.

Terms and conditions

For full terms and conditions, see the Commonwealth Academic Fellowships 2016 prospectus

Selection process

Once received by the CSC, each candidate’s application is first considered by a member of the CSC’s panel of advisers with expertise in the subject area concerned, and then by the CSC’s selection committee in competition with other candidates.

Applications are considered according to the following selection criteria:

  • Academic merit of the candidate
  • Quality of the proposal
  • Potential impact of the work on the development of the candidate’s home country

For further details, see Selection criteria for 2016 Commonwealth Academic Fellowships

You may also find the Feedback for unsuccessful candidates useful.

How to apply

If you have previously held a Commonwealth PhD Scholarship funded by the CSC and meet the eligibility criteria for these fellowships, you can apply directly to the CSC.

Selected universities are also invited to nominate their own academic staff. If you are employed by one of these universities, you must apply via that institution in the first instance. You must check with your nominating university for their specific advice and rules for applying, and for their own closing date for applications. The deadline for nominating universities to submit nominations to the CSC is 17 December 2015. Click here for a list of nominating universities

You must make your application using the CSC’s Electronic Application System (EAS). Click here for full information on how to use the EAS, including detailed guides.

Your application must be endorsed by the Vice-Chancellor or Executive Head of the university that employs you. Unless you previously held a Commonwealth PhD Scholarship funded by the CSC, the CSC will not accept any applications that are not submitted via a nominating university.

All applications must be submitted via the EAS by 23.59 (GMT) on 19 November 2015 at the latest. Please note that this is an earlier deadline than in previous years.

Universities in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are not invited to nominate candidates for Commonwealth Academic Fellowships in 2016. However, if you are from one of these countries and were awarded your PhD by a UK university while on a Commonwealth Scholarship and meet the other eligibility criteria, you can apply directly to the CSC.

How to use the EAS


If you are applying through a nominating university in your home country, please direct your enquiry to that university. If you are an alumnus only, please send your enquiry to the CSC using the Contact us form.


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