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Can scholars from any country apply?

Yes, a scholar from any country may apply.

Can scholars from any academic field/discipline apply?

Yes, scholars from any academic field/discipline may apply.

What types of threat qualify?

Any threat of persecution or violence due to a scholar’s scholarship, identity, or beliefs would qualify. This includes intimidation, harassment, repression, censorship, unjust punishment and violence arising out of a scholar’s work, and/or exercise of his/her fundamental human rights. IIE-SRF may also make a limited number of awards to scholars facing general insecurity, instability, or civil conflict that affect the whole population of a country or region.

What type of academic training or experience is required?

Professors, established researchers, and public intellectuals may qualify. Preference is given to scholars with a Ph.D. or other terminal degree in their field, who have been employed in scholarly activities at an accredited institution of higher learning, and whose selection is likely to benefit the scholarly community in the home and/or host country or region.

Do students qualify?

No, IIE-SRF does not award fellowships to students seeking financial support to continue their studies.

Does IIE-SRF support graduate or post-graduate study?

IIE-SRF generally does not award fellowships for degree-granting programs or to scholars whose primary purpose is to continue their graduate or post-graduate training.

Must a scholar have a publication record?

While a publication record is not required, the quality and extent of an applicant’s publications is considered an indicator of a scholar’s academic merit.

Is English proficiency required?

No, preference is given to applicants with advanced ability in the language of the host country/institution. Pre-fellowship English language training may be available, if needed.

Is a scholar’s legal or immigration status a qualifying factor?

No, a scholar may be considered for a fellowship regardless of his/her legal or immigration status; however, a scholar’s right to abode in a safe country will be considered in the overall review of an application. During the fellowship period, a scholar will need the appropriate legal or immigration status to work in his/her host country.

Can a scholar apply from any location?

Yes, applicants may apply from any location. Priority is given to applicants who face immediate security threats.

Can a scholar without valid travel documents apply?

Yes, applicants who lack valid travel documents may still apply for the IIE-SRF fellowship. However, IIE-SRF is unable to assist these individuals in leaving their home countries. In some cases, the program may work with selected scholars to secure a fellowship host that is willing to wait until they are able to leave their home countries. 

Does IIE-SRF take into consideration the length of time that an applicant has been out of his/her home country?

Given the limits on available resources for fellowships, priority is given to candidates who have been displaced or in exile for less than two years.


Vetting & Selection

What is the scholar vetting process?

During the application process, IIE-SRF conducts a thorough review of the scholar’s application materials and contacts references and other sources, such as independent experts on the country of origin or the particulars of the reported threat. All candidates considered for fellowship support are screened against a database of names composed of over 25 major international watch lists.

What is the selection process?

After the vetting process, select applicants are presented for consideration by the IIE-SRF Selection Committee, which makes the final decisions on fellowship awards. The Committee meets at least four times per year and may convene on an emergency basis, as needed.

Host academic institutions agree to accept the IIE-SRF fellowship funds and disburse them to the scholar. In most cases, host partners are required to match the SRF fellowship award through salary/stipend support and/or a combination of financial salary and in-kind support, such as housing, airfare, meals, funds for professional development, and other in-kind assistance.


The Fellowship Award & Visiting Appointment

What makes up the IIE-SRF fellowship?

The IIE-SRF fellowship provides financial support, professional development assistance, and resources to help fellows transition (often with their families) to their host institution environments. IIE-SRF works with selected fellows to identify suitable host institutions in safe locations, emphasizing, when possible, that they join institutions in their home regions either in the immediate or long-term. After a suitable host institution is secured, IIE-SRF assists with the fellow's relocation to the host country, including assisting with visa issues, travel, and arrival. Additional support services provided, often in coordination with the host campus and/or volunteer agencies include: emergency funds; health insurance; free English language courses; pro-bono medical assistance; funding for conference and lecture attendance; academic mentoring; welcome packets; and resource guides. To the extent possible, IIE-SRF also works with the fellows to help them continue their academic pursuits after the fellowship period.

What is the financial award of the IIE-SRF fellowship?

The IIE-SRF fellowship award includes a grant of up to US$25,000, along with individual health insurance, to support a visiting academic appointment of up to one year (renewable for a second year). The final fellowship award is dependent upon several factors, including the location of the host institution, the cost of living, and the value of any additional contributions from the host institution or other source(s).

This amount is typically matched with financial support equal to or greater than the IIE-SRF fellowship award. This support generally takes the form of a stipend or other direct funding for the visiting fellow such as housing, airfare, and meal programs. In-kind contributions – office space, computers, training fees, etc. – are encouraged for a complete scholar support package but do not qualify as part of the matching contribution.

Who can host a fellow?

An accredited institution of higher learning and research, such as a university, college, research center, think tank, or museum that can join in partnership with IIE-SRF to support a visiting fellow’s academic work.

How are host partners identified?

Host partners may be identified by IIE-SRF, the scholars before or after a fellowship is approved, or by the institutions themselves when they nominate a scholar or communicate their interest in becoming a host partner to IIE-SRF. There are no geographic limitations to where an IIE-SRF fellow may undertake a fellowship so long as the scholar can safely resume his/her academic work. The host is determined based on the preferences of the fellow and host, language of instruction, field of study, and geographic region. The location of any host partner impacts the likelihood of the fellow (i) making a significant academic contribution, (ii) returning to the home country or region, and (iii) continuing as a productive scholar post-fellowship, either by staying on at the institution or securing another academic position.

What are the responsibilities of the host partner?

  • To arrange a visiting fellow appointment and identify a departmental host, contact persons/mentors, start and end dates of the visit, compensation and benefits, housing and transportation information, and other services or facilities;
  • arrange for the appropriate visa status, if required;
  • receive the scholar’s IIE-SRF fellowship funds and provide matching funds for the scholar’s visiting appointment;
  • disburse in full during the fellowship term the combined IIE-SRF and host support, waiving any administrative or overhead fees;
  • provide IIE-SRF and the fellow with a timetable of scheduled payments;
  • and assume all responsibilities associated with tax requirements relative to all aspects of the fellowship.

What is considered matching support from the host institution?

The IIE-SRF fellowship award of up to US$25,000 is typically matched with financial support equal to or greater than the IIE-SRF fellowship award. This support generally takes the form of a stipend or other direct funding for the visiting fellow such as housing, airfare, and meal programs. In-kind contributions – office space, computers, language, or other training fees, etc. – are encouraged for a complete scholar support package, but do not qualify as part of the matching contribution. Institutions lacking the financial resources to offer the required matching contribution may seek a waiver of this requirement, which is considered on a case-by-case basis.

How long is the fellowship term?

The IIE-SRF fellowship term typically ranges from 9 to 12 months. The fellowship term is ultimately determined by the needs of hosts and fellows. Fellows are eligible to apply for a renewal of the fellowship for up to one additional year of financial support.

How are the fellowship funds issued?

Fellowship funds are generally sent to the host partner institution for disbursement to the fellow as part of a regular salary payment or stipend. In rare cases, when funds may not be disbursed via a host institution, IIE-SRF may work with the host and the fellow to arrange an alternative method for issuing the fellowship funds.

What is a typical fellowship payment schedule?

IIE-SRF suggests that the host partner disburse the fellowship funds in a way that works best for the fellow and the institution, typically evenly disbursed over the course of the fellowship. If possible, providing a larger percentage in the first payment can help to defray relocation costs, which often include a deposit/advance rent for an apartment, purchasing furniture, and other costs.

What is the purpose of the matching support requirement?

Matching support encourages a commitment from the host partner and extends IIE-SRF's resources to provide assistance to more fellows. The combined support from the host and IIE-SRF should cover living expenses for a modest yet comfortable arrangement.

Does IIE-SRF have any suggestions for raising the matching support?

Matching funds are often allocated by an academic department or a combination of departments that contribute to and benefit from the presence of the IIE-SRF fellow on campus. In IIE-SRF's experience, the provost’s and/or president’s offices have in some cases agreed to match departmental contributions. On occasion, outside and local community sources are also approached for additional support.

What institutions have hosted IIE-SRF fellows?

For a list of IIE-SRF partners to date, visit the host partners page.


At the Host Institution:

What is expected of the IIE-SRF fellow at the host institution?

The fellow’s academic activities during the fellowship depend on the needs of the host partner and the fellow. Many IIE-SRF fellows teach courses; conduct research; participate in lectures, conferences, and seminars; and otherwise contribute to the broader campus and nearby communities.

Who pays travel and airfare expenses to bring the fellow to the host institution?

Transportation usually comes out of the scholar’s fellowship award or his/her personal funds. The fellow may arrange for his or her own travel or may contact IIE for assistance in planning travel. 

Who pays the SEVIS fee that is a prerequisite for the J-1 visa application? (Applicable only to U.S. institutions; visa fees in other locations would be treated similarly.)

In most cases, the host absorbs the cost. If this is not possible, the fee is paid from the scholar’s IIE-SRF fellowship award.

Can a fellow bring his/her family?

Each fellow’s individual circumstances determine whether his/her family will join the fellow during the fellowship.

Does a fellow travel during the fellowship appointment?

Many fellows seek opportunities to travel for academic conferences or to visit friends and colleagues.  When possible, academic departments or on-campus groups have generously provided conference travel stipends as additional support for the fellow.