United Nation University (UNU-WIDER) 2023 Visiting PhD Fellowship Program

The United Nations University – World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) Visiting PhD Fellowship Programme provides an opportunity for outstanding doctoral students from developing countries to conduct research and complete their PhD dissertations in a supportive and stimulating environment.


To be eligible for the UNU-WIDER Visiting PhD Fellowship Programme, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Nationality: Be a citizen of a developing country
  • PhD Enrollment: Be enrolled in a PhD program at a recognized university
  • Research Proposal: Have a well-structured research proposal aligned with UNU-WIDER’s research themes:
    • Economic growth, inequality, and poverty
    • Sustainable development and governance
    • International trade and finance
    • Gender and development
  • English Proficiency: Demonstrate fluency in English, both written and spoken
  • Academic Record: Possess a strong academic record, typically with a Master’s degree in a relevant field and a minimum GPA of 3.5
  • Research Potential: Exhibit strong research potential and a commitment to contributing to development research


The UNU-WIDER Visiting PhD Fellowship Programme provides a comprehensive package of benefits to successful applicants:

  • Monthly Stipend: A generous monthly stipend to cover living expenses in Helsinki, Finland
  • Travel Allowance: Travel allowance to cover the cost of travel to and from Helsinki
  • Accommodation Assistance: Assistance with finding suitable accommodation in Helsinki
  • Research Support: Access to UNU-WIDER’s research facilities, resources, and mentorship from experienced faculty members
  • Networking Opportunities: Opportunities to connect with fellow scholars, researchers, and policymakers at UNU-WIDER and beyond
  • Contribution to Development Research: The opportunity to contribute to groundbreaking research with the potential to address global development challenges

Application Process

The application process for the UNU-WIDER Visiting PhD Fellowship Programme is highly competitive and requires the submission of the following documents:

  • Completed Application Form: A complete application form with all required information
  • Academic Transcripts: Official academic transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended
  • Master’s Degree Certificate: A copy of the Master’s degree certificate in a relevant field
  • Research Proposal: A detailed research proposal outlining the proposed research project, including objectives, methodology, and timeline
  • Letter of Motivation: A compelling letter of motivation highlighting academic goals, research aspirations, and contributions to development research
  • Two Letters of Recommendation: Two letters of recommendation from academic supervisors or research mentors
  • Copy of Identity Document or Passport: A copy of a valid identity document or passport
  • Resume: A detailed resume highlighting relevant academic achievements, research experience, and publications

Application Deadline

The application deadline for the UNU-WIDER Visiting PhD Fellowship Programme is typically in April of the year prior to the intended start date of the fellowship. For the 2024/2025 academic year, the application deadline is April 30, 2024.

Selection Process

Applications for the UNU-WIDER Visiting PhD Fellowship Programme are reviewed by a selection committee, which considers the following factors:

  • Academic Record: Strength of academic performance, including GPA, coursework, and research experience
  • Research Proposal: Clarity, originality, and feasibility of the proposed research project in development economics
  • Alignment with UNU-WIDER’s Research Focus: Alignment of the research proposal with UNU-WIDER’s research priorities and contributions to development research
  • Research Potential: Evidence of strong research potential, aptitude for independent work, and a commitment to making a positive impact on development challenges
  • Personal Statement: Clarity and persuasiveness of the letter of motivation, highlighting personal goals, research aspirations, and contributions to UNU-WIDER’s research excellence
  • References: Insights and recommendations provided by academic supervisors or research mentors
  • Overall Fit: The applicant’s alignment with the fellowship’s objectives and their potential to contribute to UNU-WIDER’s research excellence and global impact

Start of Fellowship

The successful applicants of the UNU-WIDER Visiting PhD Fellowship Programme will commence their fellowship at UNU-WIDER in Helsinki in September of the year following the application deadline.

For more information about the UNU-WIDER Visiting PhD Fellowship Programme and application deadlines, please visit the UNU-WIDER website.

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