Professional Fellowships

DEADLINE EXTENDED: POSSIBLE-Africa Fellowship Programme 2023 for Early Postdoctoral African Scholars

Published by
Ifeoma Chuks

POSSIBLE-Africa Fellowship Programme 2023 for Early Postdoctoral African Scholars. Apply below.

When is Application Deadline?

NEW: 13th January 2023 (OLD: 11th December 2022) 1700hrs EAT

Other Dates:

  • Webinar for applicants: Nov 9, 2022
  • Review: Feb 13 – Apr 07, 2023
  • Interviews: May 22 – June 9, 2023
  • Final selection: Jun 23, 2023
  • Awards and onboarding: Sep 1 – 30, 2023
  • Implementation: Oct 2, 2023 – Sep 30, 2025

What is the Award?

The POSSIBLE- Africa Fellowship Programme is a 24 month early postdoctoral (graduated within the last 5-10 years) fellowship opportunity for outstanding African scholars in the Social Sciences & Humanities, who propose research that aims to create evidence to inform sustainable development within the African continent. POSSIBLE- Africa is a programme of the Science for Africa Foundation (SFA Foundation) that is being implemented with funding support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The fellowship opportunity also aligns with the goal of SFA Foundation to address the continent’s most pressing developmental needs by generating knowledge that solves problems and informs decision-making.  

The fellowship aims to build a critical mass of independent African research leaders in the SS&H to lead science programmes at local and international levels. These leaders will have the capacity to engage successfully with funders, policy makers, communities, and other stakeholders, and to serve as mentors and supervisors for the next generation of researchers in Africa.  

The objectives of the fellowship programme are:  

  1. To form a high-quality and equitable cohort of postdoctoral fellows in the social sciences and humanities (SS&H).  
  2. To develop emerging independent research leaders and enhance training in SS&H.  
  3. To establish a SS&H advisory board to guide POSSIBLE Africa fellowships and other SS&H initiatives of SFA Foundation.  

What Type of Award is This?


Who is Eligible?

Fellow eligibility 

African Scholars who have completed their PhD in any SS&H discipline in the last 5-10 years prior to the application date are eligible to submit a proposal for funding through the POSSIBLE-Africa fellowship programme. Applicants must be citizens of any African countries. Applicants must have an affiliation (academic or non-academic) with an African Institute of higher learning or research Centre in any African Country. Females are encouraged to apply, as are scholars from marginalized and disadvantages groups.  

Applications are more likely to be successful if they can demonstrate: 

  1. long term institutional commitment (i.e., commitment to retain them after the fellowship) and 
  2. that they will contribute an existing body of data to the public domain (e.g., empirical data built up through numerous related consultancies, which are suitable for theoretical analysis with a view to producing scientific outputs during the fellowship) 

 Fellowships are typically expected to support scholars who commit to full time research with a minimal (maximum six hours per month) teaching load. Part time fellowships will also be considered if the programme of research can feasibly be completed within 24 months with a part-time commitment, and the need for and benefit of the part time commitment is justified. Justifications for part time commitment may include enabling women scholars to balance family and work commitments. Applicants must be able to complete the requirements of the fellowship in English.  

 The application is going to open to English speaking African scholars in SS&H who:  

  1. have a minimum of 5 years post-PhD research experience and maximum of 10 years from the call date. This will allow the fellowship to focus on scholars who really have made a commitment to research. Additionally, it will attract an applicant pool able to focus the fellowship on across national, multicounty, and smaller regional questions. 
  2. have an affiliation with an African higher education institution or a research center allowing for a mix of experiences and networks to be represented. However, the multi-step selection process will pay special attention to the fellow’s prospects for eventually contributing to the formation of future researchers (through teaching and supervision) a core objective of the POSSIBLE-Africa fellowship. Such a process ensures that researchers in non-teaching institutes are not excluded while ensuring a wide range of experiences and representation of SS&H scholars. In addition, it allows funding to trickle down to African universities who benefit so immensely from it through master’s fellowships, mentorship, training etc.  
  3. Similarly, to ensure broad range of inclusion and representation for the purposes of this fellowship applicant affiliation can be non-academic or academic track. With nonacademic referring to those who are not necessarily salaried by the institution, visiting scholars etc. Furthermore, this provides an opportunity for a larger pool of applicants recognizing that SS&H scholars are especially facing intense competition for extremely scare opportunities in academia. However, to ensure that the POSSIBLE-Africa fellowship does not serve to reinforce the itinerant researcher phenomenon and/or feed organizations that welcome early-career researchers only if they bring salary and research money with them, support letters will clearly need to demonstrate the career path of the applicant post-fellowship. 
  4. Proposal can cover the breath of SS&H to include both core humanities disciplines, quantitative and qualitative SS&H. Covering the SS&H in its entirety will make the POSSIBLE-Africa fellowship the first of its kind in Africa. Importantly, such a training will have a huge strategic impact on the continent to build a pool of multi-disciplinary researchers that can be called on to answer the continent’s problems in a holistic manner. This is a core long term objective of the POSSIBLE-Africa fellowship. 

Host institution eligibility

The fellowship must be hosted by an African higher education institution (HEI) or academic research centre. Fellowships must be hosted by a HEI or research centre that has a strong track record of producing and managing research and a conducive research system (e.g., administrative support, good financial governance system and regular intellectual events). In hosting a POSSIBLE-Africa Fellow, institutions must commit to: 

  1. Provide the required office space, library and other facilities the fellow requires to meet the aims of their research programme. 
  2. Limit the teaching responsibilities of the fellow (including lecturing, tutorials, supervision and examining of students and other student contact time) to a maximum of 6 hours per week. The Research Fellow should have a minimal administrative workload. 
  3. Ensure that the fellow receives the same level of support as other permanent members of the department including eligibility to supervise postgraduate students and invites to departmental meetings attended by other faculty staff. 
  4. Provide the fellow with a supervisor who is an experienced and research-active faculty member with relevant disciplinary expertise and can commit to guiding the fellow throughout the fellowship. 
  5.  Ensure that the fellow has timely access to the funding provided by the POSSIBLE-Africa fellowship as required and not unduly delay access to funding.  
  6. Have appropriate equity, diversity, and inclusion policies in place 
  7. Demonstrate an acceptable level of financial grants management capacity.  

 Applicants must include an institutional letter of support from an appropriate representative of their proposed institution (e.g., the Research Director, Vice Chancellor/Provost/Chief Executive Officer or equivalent), demonstrating the institution’s commitment and ability to meet these requirements. 

Supervisor eligibility 

The fellow’s supervisor or host academic must be an established researcher who is recognized globally as an expert in their field. This level of expertise would typically be demonstrated by: 

  1. a strong publication track record in the fellow’s discipline.  
  2. an active research portfolio.  
  3. links to a SS&H and/or interdisciplinary research group to which they actively contribute and within which the fellow’s research project can be situated 
  4. recognition in the form of awards and speaking invitations (e.g., invited keynote presentations).  

 The supervising academic’s field of study and current research must be well matched to the fellow’s proposed research. Applicants must include a brief curriculum vitae and a letter of support for their proposed supervisor in their application.  

Eligibility (Research Topic)

SS&H scientists proposing to conduct basic (pure) or applied research in any SS&H discipline are eligible to apply for a POSSIBLE-Africa scholarship, if their research will produce knowledge to inform the theme of improving lives by creating evidence to inform the range of problems facing the continent. Applicants will be asked in their application form to provide a statement outlining how their research is aligned with or relevant to priorities of:  

  1. a specific African community (geographic or interest-based) 
  2. their host institution’s research strategy; and/or 
  3. local, national, continental and/or international priorities 

 Applicants will be required to develop proposals that address the theme of improving lives by creating evidence to inform the range of problems facing the continent in addition to other relevant research outputs. Mixed method proposals will be encouraged. 

How are Applicants Selected?

What is the Benefit of Award?

The POSSIBLE-Africa fellowship programme will provide funding of up to USD 65,000 to 15-25 emerging SS&H leaders to conduct research addressing topics related to regional goals and those of SFA Foundation. The opportunity will be open to African scholars proposing to conduct research at a higher education institution or research centre in any African country. At least 50% will be women, with at least 2 from each regional block of the continent (Eastern Africa, Western Africa, Northern Africa, and Southern Africa). 

How to Apply:

Applications should be submitted via the SFA Foundation’s grant management system Agaseke accessed here:  


Visit Award Webpage for Details

This post was last modified on November 30, 2022 10:31 am