The Robert S. McNamara Fellowships Program (RSMFP) provides support to developing country nationals who are PhD candidates in developing countries and working in academic and research institutions in a developing country. RSMFP offers 6–10 months of funding up to $25,000 to conduct PhD research in a World Bank member country other than the Fellow’s home country or country of residence. RSMFP was established in 1982 with $2.8 million in funding from the World Bank and the governments of Bangladesh, China, India, Kuwait, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, and former Yugoslavia.
What can an applicant do before the next call?
- Read information posted on this website and review eligibility criteria carefully.
- Identify a university advisor abroad who will sponsor your fellowship funded PhD research. Please note, RSMFP does not provide guidance on choosing a host institution or research advisor.
- Ensure both your PhD advisor and your host university advisor are aware of and support your proposal for research that would be funded by an RSM fellowship.
- Begin gathering required documentation for the fellowship application, including: (1) if you are employed, proof of current employment; (2) diploma of highest degree earned; and (3) an official statement from your current university that you are either: (i) currently enrolled as a PhD student and have completed all coursework and exam requirements for your doctoral program; or (ii) currently enrolled in a research-only PhD program.
Please note that application guidelines that provide detailed application instructions will be posted on this website during the open call.
- Be a national of a World Bank member developing country;
- Not hold dual citizenship of a developed country;
- Be under the age of 35 on the Application Deadline date;
- Be enrolled in a PhD program in a member developing country of the World Bank at the time of application
- Reside in a member developing country of the World Bank since enrolled in the PhD program;
- Have completed all coursework and exam requirements for attaining a PhD at the time of application;
- Have a PhD thesis centered on a field of development.
*Please note: All eligibility criteria are strictly adhered to. No exceptions are made. Eligibility criteria WILL NOT change during an open call for applications. However, this information is subject to change between the close of one application process and the opening of the next.
When the call for applications is open, the application guidelines, online application, and a final list of eligibility criteria will be available on this site.
The RSMFP application must be completed online by the Application Deadline date and include:
- The completed application form
- An agreement to the terms and conditions for an RSMFP fellowship listed on the Application Form’s Signature Page;
- A completed recommendation form submitted online by the host university research advisor; and
- A completed recommendation form submitted online by the PhD Thesis supervisor.
All required documents must be uploaded online. Any documents an applicant provides by email, post or any means other than the online application form will not be reviewed.
RSMFP provides up to $25,000 (U.S.) for developing country nationals to travel abroad to conduct development-related PhD research under the supervision of a host advisor at a university, research or development institution in a World Bank member country. The Scholarship covers a 6 to 10 month period. Details on eligible expenditures are provided in the Application Guidelines.
The RSMFP uses the following process to review completed applications, with the aim to identify eligible candidates with the most innovative and relevant research proposals in the area of development.
Two qualified reviewers independently review each eligible application to assess the following:
- Quality of the proposed fellowship (70%)
- Prospects for a productive career in research post-PhD (30%)
Information provided by your PhD thesis supervisor and your host institution research advisor are particularly important elements of your application.
The World Bank Robert S. McNamara Secretariat uses the average score of the two reviewers and the following other aspects to select the finalists:
- Maintaining a reasonably wide geographical distribution of awards, that takes into account the geographic distribution of eligible applications;
- Maintaining a reasonable distribution of awards across gender that takes into account the distribution of eligible applications across gender;
- Giving fellowships to those applicants who, other things equal, appear to have limited financial resources;
- Giving preference to applicants currently employed as lecturers or researchers at an academic or research institution in a member developing country of the World Bank;
- Giving preference to applicants who have not received a JJ/WBGSP scholarship for a master’s degree program.
The finalists are presented to the World Bank Robert S. McNamara Steering Committee (composed of some members of the World Bank Board of Directors and WB management) for final review and selection of the winners of the award. The RSMFP Secretariat notifies the public on this website that the selection is made and individually informs the winners of the Fellowship.