AWARD received nearly 800 applications for the 2014 AWARD Fellowships by the August 9 deadline. Thank you to all those who applied. A special thanks to those who applied for a second or third time.
The AWARD Steering Committee selected 70 winners on November 13th and winners have been notified. Those who were not selected will be informed in January. The 2014 AWARD Fellowship recipients will be publicly announced during a news conference in February 2014.
1. What does an AWARD Fellowship include?
AWARD delivers a well-tested, coordinated career-development program for women in agricultural research, which is built on four cornerstones. Each AWARD Fellow benefits from:
II. Building Science Skills
(Note: Post-doctoral fellows may choose this or the AWARD Enhancing Negotiation Skills for Women Course)
III. Developing Leadership Capacity
IV. Tracking Learning, Monitoring, and Evaluation
2. How has AWARD helped participants to advance in their research careers?
The impacts of AWARD are very real. For example, from the preliminary evaluation results of the first 180 AWARD Fellows to complete our two-year program, there is concrete evidence that 69 percent of our fellows have strengthened their science skills, and 64 percent have strengthened the gender-responsiveness of their work. A total of 74 percent of AWARD Fellows demonstrate increased confidence and assertiveness, and a greater desire to lead and guide others. In other words AWARD is fostering a cadre of women scientists ready to play an influential role in African agriculture and development.
3. Who is eligible for an AWARD Fellowship?
Women agricultural scientists who are citizens of Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, or Zambia, who have completed a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in one of the disciplines listed below, are eligible to apply. Applicants must be resident in Africa throughout the fellowship period.
|Agricultural economics||Ecology||Natural resources management|
|Agricultural engineering||Entomology||Plant/animal virology|
|Agronomy||Food science and nutrition||Soil science|
|Animal and livestock sciences||Extension education||Veterinary sciences|
|Aquatic resources/fisheries||Forestry and agroforestry||Water/irrigation management|
|Crop science||Molecular biology (plant/animal breeding)|
4. Is there an age restriction for applicants?
No. However, those close to retirement age are less likely to be selected.
5. I am not from Africa, can I apply?
Sorry, no. This program is specifically for women scientists and professionals from sub-Saharan Africa. Only nationals of the following countries qualify: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
6. I am African, but not from any of the countries listed. Am I eligible to apply?
Sorry, no. Only nationals of the listed countries qualify.
7. There are no francophone countries listed. Is AWARD only working with anglophone countries?
In 2013 AWARD launched a two-year pilot program for francophone African women agricultural scientists, in partnership with Le Conseil ouest et centre africain pour la recherche et le développement agricoles/West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD) in Dakar, Senegal, and Agropolis Fondation in Montpellier, France.
Five scientists, representing Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, and Senegal, are participating in the English-language pilot program. The partner organizations hope this will lay the groundwork for what may become a larger program in the next few years, benefiting more francophone women agricultural scientists.
8. I am a national from an eligible country, but I work in another country. Do I qualify to apply?
Yes, you qualify if you will be available in Africa throughout the fellowship period, should you be chosen.
9. I am a BSc student and expect to complete my studies soon. Do I qualify for a fellowship?
Not yet. Please apply in the future once you have been awarded your bachelor’s degree.
10. I am an MSc student and expect to complete my studies soon. Do I qualify for a fellowship?
Yes, you qualify for a post-bachelor’s fellowship. Alternatively, you may wish to wait until you have your master’s degree and then apply for a post-master’s fellowship when the next call for applications is announced. If you will graduate this year, please indicate that on the application.
11. I am currently studying for my PhD. Do I qualify?
Yes, you qualify for the post-master’s fellowship.
12. I graduated, but I am not yet employed. May I apply without institutional support?
Yes, you are eligible to apply.
13. I am an African woman working for the CGIAR. May I apply for an AWARD Fellowship?
Yes. Researchers from international agricultural research centers, including CGIAR centers, who are nationals of the eligible countries and who will be in Africa throughout the fellowship period, can also apply.
14. I am working in agricultural R&D, but my specified subject area is not listed. May I apply?
We include a wide range of agricultural research disciplines. If in doubt, please apply and your case will be considered. Those disciplines most relevant to AWARD’s goal of improving the livelihoods of smallholders, especially women farmers, will be given priority.
15. I am not a scientist, but I have a degree. I work for an export company that deals with agricultural products. I think I could learn a lot from your fellowship. May I apply?
No, the fellowship is designed for women scientists working in the listed disciplines.
16. I am employed in the private sector. May I apply?
You are eligible to apply if you are working in agricultural research in a private institution.
17. A colleague of mine is an AWARD Fellow. Is it possible to have two fellows in the same organization?
Yes, it is possible to have several fellows from the same organization or institution.
18. I was an AWARD Mentor in an earlier round. May I apply as a fellow?
Yes, you can apply as long as you meet the application eligibility criteria.
19. Do I need to have permission or support from my employer to participate in AWARD?
If you win an AWARD Fellowship, you will be required to provide a letter of support from your institution and two references. However, this letter is not required at the application phase.
20. Are applicants required to submit university transcripts? If you are shortlisted as a finalist, you will be required to submit transcripts, as well as a scan of your passport identification page.
21. I told my boss I wanted to apply, but he says that it will take me away from my job too much. How much time does the fellowship require?
The fellowship does not require a large amount of time in general. You will attend one or two week-long training courses semi-annually. You will also meet with your mentor for about an hour once a month. However, you may decide to apply for AWARD-supported advanced science training, which is available to AWARD Fellows with master’s or doctoral degrees. If you are chosen, you will have to negotiate with your institution to be absent for three to nine months. This advanced science training benefits both you and your home institution.
22. I am not currently employed. May I apply for a fellowship?
Yes, you may apply if you meet the other eligibility criteria.
23. I don’t have email or Internet access. Can I still participate in AWARD?
Internet access is essential for many AWARD activities. You must have a valid email address in order to participate effectively.
24. Who selects the winners?
The AWARD Steering Committee selects the winners based on intellectual merit, leadership capacity, and the potential of the scientist’s research to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, especially women.
25. How many winners will be chosen?
Up to 70 women will be chosen to receive an AWARD Fellowship this year.
26. When do you inform the winners?
The AWARD Steering Committee will select the shortlisted finalists in November 2013. Winners will be notified immediately by email after the selection process, and will be asked to provide transcripts/copies of their academic records. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified in late November. Please note that AWARD is not in a position to respond to individual inquiries as to why a particular application was not successful.
27. When are the winners publicly announced?
The winners are publicly announced in February 2014 at a news conference held during the first AWARD Mentoring Orientation Workshop. Their names are posted on the AWARD website
28. If I am selected as an AWARD Fellow, when does the program begin?
AWARD begins with a week-long Mentoring Orientation Workshop for new fellows and their mentors in Nairobi, Kenya. The workshop is offered three times in February/March and fellows and mentors must attend one of the three sessions. Specific dates will be announced.
29. AWARD offers training courses and meetings throughout the two-year fellowship. When and where do these take place?
Fellows participate in several AWARD training courses, which are tailored according to academic level. The courses and AWARD meetings are held regionally in East, West, and Southern Africa so that fellows do not have to travel too far. A schedule of events will be provided to new AWARD Fellows.
30. I understand that AWARD Fellows stay in their jobs and workplaces during the fellowship. Why don’t you bring them all to one place for two years?
AWARD is not a scholarship program. Its goal is to strengthen the capacity of African female agricultural scientists so they can contribute to the prosperity and well-being of African smallholder farmers. We also want to help strengthen the capacity of their home institutions by building the fellows’ research skills and leadership abilities.
31. I have a family and I’m worried about being able to attend the training sessions. Is it necessary to attend all?
Yes, it is necessary to attend all trainings offered. Most courses are one week long, with the maximum being two weeks. If you are nursing, you may bring your child with you and AWARD will arrange for a resident nanny to care for your baby while you attend the course.
32. Does AWARD support academic work?
No, we don’t provide funds for academic study. However, AWARD Fellows receive regular information about available scholarship and research funding opportunities.
33. How much do I get paid as a fellow?
AWARD Fellows do not receive any cash payments except token amounts to cover direct expenses for participation in events. AWARD does not pay sitting fees. When attending an AWARD workshop, expenses are fully covered. Depending on your level, AWARD covers expenses for training programs, professional memberships, travel, and more.
34. What distinguished the winning AWARD Fellows from the other applicants? What did they get right in their applications?
What sets winning AWARD applicants apart from many other high-quality competitors is that they convincingly demonstrated alignment between their career and personal goals and AWARD’s mission. In particular, they showed great potential and genuine interest in pro-poor research and development to improve the lives of smallholder farmers, particularly women. They gave tangible evidence about this in their résumés/CVs, providing real evidence that they have what it takes to help change the agricultural landscape in Africa.
35. What did those who don't win a fellowship do wrong?
About 10 percent of the applications AWARD has received in previous years are incomplete. Another 25 percent submitted complete applications, but with only minimal information (e.g. where we asked for half a page for a certain answer, some wrote only one short sentence).
About 65 percent of the applications were fully complete—and so began the difficult task of selecting the best and most promising women scientists for an AWARD Fellowship. As is often the case with job applications, a common mistake that applicants make is to focus exclusively on why the fellowship is important to them. Although that is certainly part of the AWARD selection focus, we also need to see that applicants understand that ultimately the AWARD Fellowship is designed to assist the rural poor. This “me-focus”—looking only at one’s own short-term personal and professional needs—disqualifies a large number of otherwise eligible applicants. Although highly intelligent and promising, these women are not yet ready for an AWARD Fellowship where sharing forward and challenging the status quo for good is such a central focus.
36. What is expected from the fellows during the fellowship?
Fellows are expected to set three attainable career goals during the initial Mentoring Orientation Workshop with their mentors, and to work toward achieving those during the fellowship period. They are expected to participate fully in the AWARD courses and to concretely apply the knowledge and skills gained.
37. Who funds AWARD?
AWARD is generously supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the United States Agency for International Development, Agropolis Fondation, and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. AWARD is a preferred service provider of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), and is hosted by the CGIAR’s World Agroforestry Centre.
We are also grateful for the many national, regional, and international research institutions, private corporations, and other organizations that have provided in-kind support.
38. When is the deadline for applications for the 2014 AWARD Fellowships?
The deadline is August 9, 2013. Applications that are late or incomplete will not be considered.