STIAS Individual Fellowship Program

STIAS Individual Fellowship Program

Join a cohort of leading thinkers in a creative space for the mind, apply now for the STIAS Individual Fellowship Program.

STIAS provides and maintains an independent ‘creative space for the mind’ to advance the cause of science and scholarship across all disciplines. It is global in its reach and local in its African roots, and values original thinking and innovation in this context. No restriction is placed on the country of origin, discipline, or academic affiliation when STIAS considers a fellowship invitation.

It encourages the cross-pollination of ideas and hence gives preference to projects that will tap into, and benefit from, a multi-disciplinary discourse while also contributing unique perspectives to such a discourse. This interaction is fostered by inviting individual fellows or project teams where each team member is evaluated individually.

Guiding Principles

The STIAS programme comprises projects which are entirely self-generated and proposed by applicants, as well as projects and programmes initiated and led by STIAS, typically with select partner organisations. STIAS Fellows are expected to be resident at STIAS for the duration of a fellowship, with no academic obligations other than pursuing the proposed research project.

Obligations while in residence include participating in the Tuesday and Thursday STIAS Fellows’ seminar where Fellows in turn present their work to other Fellows and invited academics from the local community and to have lunch at the STIAS Wallenberg Research Centre from Monday to Friday.

To facilitate the heterogeneity STIAS strives for, its programme specifically includes artists-in-residence and short-term Fellows drawn from the sphere of public commentary and opinion making. Applications in these categories will be considered on their own merit, rather than strictly following the research oriented criteria posted below.

A limited number of applications from young scholars who have completed at least one postdoctoral fellowship (preferably more than one) will also be considered annually. Apart from candidates who apply within the framework of an agreement with the Volkswagen Foundation (see below), STIAS does not consider postdoctoral applications.

STIAS Fellows who have been in residence previously are welcome to submit new applications, bearing in mind that during a five-year cycle preference is given to first-time applicants.

STIAS Fellows are selected on the basis of academic excellence and the originality of their proposed research project. The following criteria serve as important guidelines:


Does the proposal entail research at the highest level?


  • Does the project break new ground? Does it hold the promise of new insights and the potential to
    produce new knowledge?


  • To what extent does the project draw on and contribute to different disciplines? Will the project facilitate interdisciplinary, cross-pollinating engagements during the residency?


  • Is the project appropriate for a programme of an institute for advanced study? Does the project have relevance for South Africa and Africa?


  • How convincing is the proposed methodology and research design, and how realistic is the research plan? Is the applicant equipped to deliver on the proposed project?

    How Selection Works

  • Selection is carried out on an individual basis.

  • The STIAS Fellowship and Research Programme Committee meets regularly for a preliminary selection of candidates against the criteria listed above. Final selection is concluded during a biannual meeting of the committee where the overall composition of a semester programme is also taken into consideration. The Director is further advised by the STIAS Academic Advisory Board.

  • The STIAS terms run from mid-January to mid-June (first semester), and from mid-July to mid-December (second semester). During recess periods STIAS cannot offer standard fellowship support, although it may be possible to make ad hoc accommodation arrangements.

  • Applications and suggestions for fellowships of one academic semester, (approximately mid-January to mid-June; or mid-July to mid-December) may be submitted in writing or via e-mail at any time in advance of announced deadlines. Selection is generally concluded 12 months in advance of the proposed period of residence. In well-motivated cases STIAS will, at the Director’s discretion, consider applications for either a shorter period of residency (with a minimum of six weeks) or a period longer than one semester (with a maximum of two full semesters).

  • STIAS may annually consider a limited number of fellowship applications from young scholars (any nationality, typically in their mid-thirties) which are evaluated within this context and against the standard criteria listed above, academic excellence and originality in particular. Applicants in this category are expected to have completed a PhD (or equivalent degree) and at least one postdoctoral fellowship at recognised academic institutions.

    How to Apply

    For more information and job application details, see; STIAS Individual Fellowship Program

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