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Early Career Women Scientists (ECWS) Fellowships

The Early Career Women Scientists (ECWS) Fellowship is offered to women scientists from Science and Technology Lagging Countries (STLCs) who have completed their PhDs and are continuing research in their home countries. The Fellowship will support them to undertake research at an international level and to build up research groups and centres in their scientific fields. 

The programme is administered with funds generously provided by Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

More details about the application requirements will be available on this page in April 2018.

Until all details have been finalized, please consult the information provided below.

A link to the online application form will be available on this page in May 2018. 

The first cohort of 20 fellows will be announced by October 2018. 

The first workshop for selected fellows will take place in Trieste, Italy, in November 2018.


The general purpose of the fellowship programme is to contribute to the emergence of a new generation of women leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and to promote their effective participation in the scientific and technological development of their countries. ECWS Fellows will become leaders in STEM fields and be role models for the next generation of female scientists throughout scientifically and technologically-lagging countries (STLCs) in the South.

The ECWS Fellowships have a further specific goal: to improve collaborations with industry to convert advanced knowledge in STEM into innovations that make local economies and societies more inclusive.

The long-term impacts of this effort will be:

  1. Increased relevance and implementation of scientific research projects developed by women in STLCs for the economic, social, health and research needs of their countries.
  2. Increased numbers of women scientists from STLCs staying in their home countries in order to continue their scientific/industrial careers, thereby contributing to research training and development.
  3. Strengthened research, resources and expertise of institutes in STLCs.

The OWSD Fellowship covers:

  • A research resources grant (up to USD10,000 over two years) to be spent by the individual awardee on laboratory equipment and/or the resources needed to build up a research group. The awardee will receive specific training in procurement and management skills.

  • A substantial research activities grant (up to USD40,000 over two years) to be spent by the awardee on activities that will enable her to maintain an international level of research as well as initiating collaborations and partnerships with industry and the private sector (for example, undertaking a placement in industry, hiring a lab technician, contributing to childcare expenses, alleviating teaching responsibilities, travelling to international conferences, inviting speakers and researchers to visit the home institute, establishing a patent). A list of recommended and eligible activities will be posted in early 2018. 

  • Annual tailor-made training workshops (2 per fellowship) offered by OWSD to the fellows as a group on leadership and entrepreneurial skills. Workshops will introduce all the elements of the grant (including setting up a lab, managing a research group, linking with industry) as well as establishing communication and networking between fellows, the wider OWSD community and with industry. In the first workshop (held in November of the first year of each fellowship) Fellows will present and revise their proposals. The second workshop (held in May of the second year) will follow up on the workplan presented at the first workshop, and also provide a Dragons Den-style scenario where fellows can develop and defend the commercial aspects of transforming their research into marketable products. Key note speakers and facilitators from industry, academia and government will be invited. The first workshop will be held at OWSD headquarters in Trieste, Italy, while the second workshop will be hosted by an appropriate OWSD national chapter - so that OWSD members in the region can meet with the ECWS fellows for exchange and collaboration. 


The fellowship is for women who are already employed at their institutes and receive a salary.

Women must already hold a PhD and be employed in one of the 62 scientifically and technologically-lagging countries (STLCs). Please note this list may be subject to slight variation each year (some countries may be excluded) according to criteria established by our donor, IDRC, and in agreement with OWSD.


OWSD is looking for women who can demonstrate leadership potential and the ability to build up a centre of research excellence that will have a positive impact on the reputation of their research institute and draw international scholars.

Specific selection criteria will be updated here in April 2018.

Selection will be by an international panel of experts in the eligible scientific fields who also have direct experience and/or a specific understanding of the challenges facing women scientists from developing countries.