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World Bank Robert S. Mc Namara Fellowship For PhD Research On Development

The World Bank Robert S. McNamara (RSM) Fellowships Program is open to women and men of developing nations looking to pursue PhD research related to development. Applicants should currently be university lecturers or researchers residing in developing countries.

Applicant Must:

  • Be A Citizen Of A World Bank Member Developing Country;
  • Not Be A Dual Citizen Of A Developed Country;
  • Be 35 Years Of Age Or Younger;
  • Be Enrolled In A PhD Program In A Member Developing Country Of The World Bank
  • Reside In A Member Developing Country Of The World Bank Since Enrolled In The PhD Program
  • Have Completed All Coursework And Exam Requirements For Attaining A PhD
  • Have A PhD Thesis Centered On A Field Of Development.


Up to $25,000 (U.S.) for developing country nationals to travel abroad to conduct development-related PhD research under the supervision of a host research advisor at a university, research or development institution in a World Bank member country. Scholarship covers a 6 to 10 month period starting between July and December 2016. Preference in selecting fellows will be given to applicants currently employed as a lecturer or researcher at an academic or research institution in a member developing country of the World Bank.

Selection Process: 

The World Bank Robert S. McNamara Fellowship Program uses the following process to review completed applications, with the aim to identify eligible candidates with the most innovative and relevant research proposals in the area of development.

Two qualified reviewers independently review each eligible application and score the application on a scale of 1 to 10, assessing the:

1) Quality of the proposed fellowship (70%)

2) Prospects for a productive career post-PhD (30%)

Information provided by your PhD thesis supervisor and your host institution research advisor are particularly important elements of your application.

The World Bank Robert S. McNamara Secretariat uses the average score of the two reviewers and the following other aspects of the fellowship’s objectives to select the finalists:

  • maintaining a reasonably wide geographical distribution of awards, that takes into account the geographic distribution of eligible applications
  • maintaining a reasonable distribution of awards across gender that takes into account the distribution of eligible applications across gender
  • giving fellowships to those applicants who, other things equal, appear to have limited financial resources
  • giving preference to applicants employed in academic and research institutions in their home country
  • giving preference to applicants who have not received a JJ/WBGSP scholarship for a master’s degree program.

The finalists are then requested to provide supplemental documentation (Please see the section labelled “SELECTION” in the Application Guidelines).

The finalists are presented to the World Bank Robert S. McNamara Steering Committee (composed of some members of the World Bank Board of Directors and WB management) for final review and selection of the winners of the award.  The Secretariat informs the scholarship winners by end-May.

Application Process:

Visit this site during the call for applications for the complete list of selection criteria, eligible fields of development, FAQs, and instructions on preparing your application. The World Bank will not respond to email inquiries sent before the call for application opens. A link to the online application will be available on this site between January 5 – February 2, 2016, when the call closes.