Nov 25, 2013
Strong Demand Continues for AWARD Fellowships

The high demand for top-notch leadership and science skills training shows no sign of abating, if the hundreds of women agricultural scientists applying for a 2014 AWARD Fellowship are any indication.

This round, 790 women from 11 sub-Saharan African countries responded to a call for applications for the two-year career-development program. Since the program began in 2008, 3,503 women agricultural scientists have applied for one of 390 available AWARD Fellowships. Women who are citizens of Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda or Zambia, and who have completed a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in selected agricultural disciplines, are eligible to apply.

“AWARD applicants are tenacious,” says Marco Noordeloos, AWARD Fellowship Manager. “This year, 248 women who had applied at least once before submitted an application again. In fact, for 42 applicants this is at least their third attempt to win an AWARD Fellowship. Seven applicants have applied in all of the five previous rounds. We know that such determination can pay off.”

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AWARD data show that last year, 43 percent of successful applicants won the fellowship on their second or third (or more) attempt.

“Those who finally win are those who have improved their applications, providing evidence of their commitment to serve smallholder farmers, especially women,” said Noordeloos.

Several informative application trends emerged this year. A record number of applications (56) came from Tanzanian scientists, compared to an average of 37 in the five previous rounds. Nigerian and Kenyan applicants accounted for 61 percent of the applications.

“This is expected and in line with the countries’ relative population and estimated pool of women researchers,” said Noordeloos.

Following a rigorous selection process, the AWARD Steering Committee will select the 70 winners for 2014, based on their intellectual merit, leadership capacity, and the potential of the scientist’s research to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, especially women. The winners will be notified in December 2013, and their two-year fellowship activities will begin in February 2014.

“Reading through the hundreds of applications that we receive is an education—sort of an in-depth course on what women are doing in African agricultural research and development,” said Vicki Wilde, AWARD Director. “It is hard to select only the top 70 applicants, but we aim for the best in the program.”

The 2014 AWARD Fellowship is the first of three new rounds of fellowships supported largely by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development through a generous five-year grant.

2014 AWARD Fellowship Applications by the Numbers

790 applications received this year, including:

280 (35%) post-bachelor’s applicants

398 (50%) post-master’s applicants

112 (14%) post-doctoral applicants

248 (31%) repeat applications

340(43%) applications from Nigeria

3,503 women have applied for an AWARD Fellowship since 2008



African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD). Hosted by World Agroforestry Centre, United Nations Avenue, Gigiri. P.O Box 30677-00100 Nairobi, Kenya.

Email: awardqueries@cifor-icraf.org | Tel: +254 (0) 20 722 4242