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Jacobs Foundation Research Fellowship Program

Brief Description:

The Jacobs Foundation Research Fellowship Program is a globally competitive fellowship program for early and mid-career researchers whose work is dedicated to improving the learning and development of children and youth worldwide. The relevant disciplines include, but are not limited to, education sciences, psychology, economics, sociology, behavioral science, computer science, pedagogy, linguistics, neurosciences, and science of learning.

Particularly encouraged to apply are scholars who seek to combine multiple levels of analysis and engage in interdisciplinary work. A special focus lies on work to understand and embrace variability in learning; promote the generation, transfer, and practical application of evidence on human learning and development or increase the capacity to scale up effective education policies and practices.

The Jacobs Foundation is especially interested in the following questions, which are aligned with our research agenda:

  • How do variations in individuals and contextual factors influence learning and development and learning outcomes?

  • How can we design for learner variability at scale to enable all children to reach their potential as learners and in life?

  • How can we produce interventions that reduce growing inequalities in children’s learning and overcome disparities in the impacts of digital technologies?

  • How can we address the role of data to help learners and teachers make informed decisions about their learning and teaching?

To find out more about the Jacobs Foundation Strategy 2030 and research agenda, please visit the Jacobs Foundation website.

Fellowships are awarded to highly talented and innovative early and mid-career researchers who have received their PhD within the past 10 years. Funding from Jacobs Foundation Research Fellowships is awarded directly to the fellow’s institution and may be used by the fellow over a three-year period to cover a portion of the fellow’s salary and for any purpose in support of the fellow’s research, such as assistants’ salaries, equipment, technical assistance, professional travel, or trainee support.

The ideal fellow does not only have a great research idea but also a significant potential as a researcher to contribute as part of interdisciplinary teams within and beyond the network of the Jacobs Foundation. The application should include the broader ideas of the applicant as well as the research priorities during the Fellowship period.


Target Group

Highly talented early career researchers.
The ideal candidate has received his/her PhD or equivalent degree within the past 10 years.

Funding amount

CHF 150’000

Funding period

3 years

Number of fellowships per year

Up to 12

Use of funds to cover the  fellow’s salary

Up to 50% of the grant amount

Funding of overhead /  indirect costs

Up to 10% of the total amount of funding (i.e. CHF 15’000) in addition to the basic grant

Additional funding

Fellows may apply for additional funding at the end of the fellowship to conduct further projects with a focus on evidence to action and scientific capacity building.

Non-financial benefits

In addition to providing fellows with independent and competitive funding, the program offers a wide range of non-financial benefits.


The Jacobs Foundation Research Fellowship provides independent and competitive funding. In addition, the fellowship offers a range of non-financial benefits. Fellows are expected to make use of these opportunities for networking and development and to engage with the Jacobs Foundation as detailed below.

What the Jacobs Foundation offers

What the Jacobs Foundation expects

Networking and alumni events and opportunity for exchange with other Jacobs Foundation Research Fellows and alumni

Participation in and contribution to events organized by the Jacobs Foundation, e.g., attendance of annual meeting of the Research Fellowship Program

Interaction and collaboration with other Fellows

Media channels to disseminate your work to the broader scientific and public audience

Contribution to communication activities of the Jacobs Foundation, e.g., BOLD articles

Help spread articles on BOLD, e.g., through own social media channels

Opportunities for personal and scientific development through integration into the Jacobs Foundation’s network (e.g., exchange on online platform, attendance of conferences, Fellowship meetings)

Updates on personal and scientific development, e.g., on publications, grants, new positions, media coverage, exchange with policy and decision makers once a year in an annual progress report

A meaningful partnership including ample space for innovative ideas and activities within and beyond the research sector

Active partnership with the Jacobs Foundation by providing ideas, and activities, e.g., organizing symposia at international conferences or workshops with other Research Fellows and alumni

Interest in the Jacobs Foundation’s national and international programs and, where feasible, active involvment

Recognition as part of the Jacobs Foundation’s network

Acknowledgment of support through Jacobs Foundation (e.g., in publications, presentations)


The ideal candidate

  • has obtained his/her PhD or equivalent degree within the past 10 years;

  • is employed at an institution of higher education or research institute;

  • is conducting high-quality research in an area of interest to the Jacobs Foundation;

  • is committed to engaging with the Jacobs Foundation and the Fellowship Network and contributing to the Foundation’s activities.


The following selection criteria are weighted equally:

  • Past research accomplishments and publication record

  • Creativity and potential for serving as a leader in the scientific community

  • Scientific quality of methods and data

  • International relevance of the fellow’s planned work

  • Potential for promoting human development and learning

  • Alignment of planned projects with the goals of the Jacobs Foundation

  • Willingness to support the Foundation’s aims and to engage with us

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