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Please click on the links below to view answers to these commonly asked questions.

The Fellowship Award

What makes up the IIE-SRF fellowship?

The IIE-SRF fellowship package includes the following:  

  • A yearlong research and/or teaching appointment at a higher education institution in a safe location anywhere in the world;  
  • a fellowship grant of up to $25,000 (most awards are eligible for renewal for a second and final year);  
  • individual health insurance coverage;  
  • funding for relocation to the host institution;  
  • professional development support through resource guides and access to academic networks; CV and cover letter review; letters of reference; career mentorship and advising on post-fellowship opportunities; and (in some cases) financial support for conference attendance and language training;  
  • opportunities through IIE-SRF or partner events, media, or other venues to share or promote the fellow’s academic work and/or speak about his/her home country;  
  • dedicated support from IIE-SRF and its partners – before, during, and after the fellowship.

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 and relocation funding, to support a visiting academic appointment of up to one year (renewable for a second year). The final fellowship amount 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 sources. 

IIE-SRF requires that the hosting institution provide financial support that is equal to or greater than the IIE-SRF fellowship award. This matching support generally takes the form of a stipend or other direct benefits that would offset the fellow’s cost of living such as housing, airfare, or health insurance. Other in-kind contributions such as office space, computer and library access, or laboratory/bench fees are encouraged for a complete fellow support package but do not qualify as part of the matching contribution. 

IIE-SRF may consider on a case-by-case basis a waiver of the full host funding requirement in order to allow fellows to undertake appointments within their home regions or in countries where the cost of living is lower and the funding requirement is prohibitive. 

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.


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?

Targeted persecution due to scholarship, identity, or beliefs - leading to a scholar’s inability to continue his/her academic work in his/her home country - are qualifying threats. Such persecution may include intimidation, harassment, repression, censorship, arrest/imprisonment, or violence.

Scholars facing general insecurity, instability, or civil conflict that affects the whole population of a country or region may also qualify.

A lack of resources or support for research or a general lack of opportunities for career advancement would unfortunately not qualify a person for IIE-SRF support.

What type of academic training or experience is required?

Professors, established researchers, and select public intellectuals may qualify. Preference is given to scholars with a Ph.D. or highest degree in their field, who have been engaged in scholarly activities through employment at a university, college, or other institution of research or higher learning.

Do students qualify?

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

Does a scholar need a record of published research?

Yes, IIE-SRF considers the quality and extent of an applicant’s publications to be important factors in the review of his/her application. The applicant’s years of experience and access to opportunities may also be factors in this assessment.

Is English proficiency required?

No, applicants are not required to speak English. However, a scholar’s language abilities will influence the possibilities for fellowship placement, as IIE-SRF fellows must possess the appropriate skills to contribute academically at a host institution outside their home countries. In some cases, IIE-SRF may be able to facilitate a fellowship placement in accordance with a scholar’s specific language abilities.

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

In most cases, a scholar may be considered for a fellowship regardless of his/her legal or immigration status; however, asylum or refugee status in a safe second country may influence IIE-SRF’s assessment of the urgency of the scholar’s threat. Scholars who hold citizenship or permanent residency in a safe second country are typically not eligible for IIE-SRF support.  

In order to undertake the IIE-SRF fellowship at a host institution, a scholar will need to obtain the appropriate legal or immigration status to work in his/her host country.

Can a scholar apply from any location?

Yes, scholars may apply from any location.  

Because of limited resources, IIE-SRF can only consider applicants who have been displaced or residing outside their home countries for less than two years, unless they are experiencing a renewed or continued threat in their country of displacement. Scholars who will have undertaken two years on an alternative fellowship or opportunity for threatened professors/researchers are unfortunately not eligible for IIE-SRF support.

Can a scholar without valid travel documents apply?

Yes, applicants who lack valid travel documents may still apply for the IIE-SRF fellowship, though IIE-SRF fellows will ultimately need to be able to travel to and undertake a fellowship in the host country. Unfortunately, IIE-SRF is unable to assist individuals without travel documents to leave their home countries or to travel internationally.

Application Review & Selection

What happens during the application review process?

IIE-SRF conducts a thorough review of each applicant’s application materials to assess his/her experience, the quality of scholarly work, and the nature and urgency of their threat. In doing so, IIE-SRF may contact the applicant’s references and/or other sources, such as independent experts on the applicant’s academic field, country of origin, or the particulars of the reported threat. (IIE-SRF will never share Identifying information about an applicant without his/her permission.)

In many cases, IIE-SRF will follow up with an applicant directly for additional information about their academic work and/or their situation in their home country, in order to gain a full understanding of their scholarly background, individual circumstances, and need for the IIE-SRF fellowship.

All applicants considered for fellowship support are screened against a database containing the names of individuals, groups, and entities that are on major global sanctions, money laundering, and law enforcement watch lists.

Unfortunately, IIE-SRF cannot offer fellowship support to all applicants who meet the program’s eligibility criteria.

What is the selection process?

After the initial application assessment is complete, select applicants are presented for consideration by the IIE-SRF Selection Committee, which makes the final decisions on fellowship awards. The Committee meets four times per year.

Unfortunately, because of limited resources not all minimally qualified applicants will be considered by the IIE-SRF Selection Committee.

Arranging a Fellowship Appointment

Who can host a fellow?

Institutions of higher learning or research, such as universities, colleges, research centers, think tanks, or museums anywhere in the world can join in partnership with IIE-SRF to support a fellow and his/her academic work. IIE-SRF ultimately must approve all hosts and requires a formal agreement with the host institution.

How are host institutions identified?

Host institutions may be identified in many ways. Typically, IIE-SRF will begin efforts to identify a host institution after the fellow has been awarded a fellowship by the IIE-SRF Selection Committee. (In some cases, an applicant may apply to IIE-SRF with an existing commitment from a host institution, or an institution may refer an applicant they would like to host.)  

IIE-SRF fields inquiries from interested host institutions and conducts outreach to potential hosts within our vast networks of partners around the world, while regularly exploring partnerships with new institutions. IIE-SRF also asks the fellows to assist the IIE-SRF team in the placement efforts by conducting outreach within their own academic networks or making suggestions as to academically appropriate host institutions.  

There are no geographic limitations to where an IIE-SRF fellow may undertake a fellowship so long as the fellow can safely resume his/her academic work. IIE-SRF will work to accommodate a fellow’s geographic preferences but cannot guarantee a fellowship placement in any specific location, and expects the fellow to consider all viable placement offers.  

Ultimately, IIE-SRF works to ensure that each fellowship appointment meets the needs of both the host institution and the fellow, taking into consideration myriad factors such as academic fit, language skills, family needs, and immigration processes, among others.

What are the steps to becoming a host institution?

Each hosting arrangement is different and may follow a unique timeline based on the circumstances and needs of the host and IIE-SRF fellow, but most fellowship appointments include many or all of the following milestones: 

  • Review the list of scholars seeking academic appointments. 
  • Identify a scholar who would be a good fit for the institution. If helpful, IIE-SRF can arrange email communications or phone/Skype calls between the host and scholar in order to help ensure the best academic fit.  
  • Finalize the details of the fellowship appointment, including the position dates, funding package, and expectations for fellowship activities. Issue a letter of invitation to the scholar.  
  • Begin the visa sponsorship and application process, if necessary, and start to plan for the scholar’s arrival to campus. These plans may include identifying short- or long-term housing for the scholar (and his/her family, if relevant).  
  • Finalize the hosting agreement with IIE-SRF, outlining the details of the appointment and the responsibilities of each party. (This is provided by IIE-SRF.) 
  • Working with the host and the scholar, IIE-SRF arranges the scholar’s travel to the host institution. 
  • The host institution welcomes the IIE-SRF fellow to campus.

What are the responsibilities of the host institution?

Dedicated host partners are integral to the success of IIE-SRF fellows and the program in general, supplementing support from IIE-SRF by providing critical academic, social, and matching financial assistance. To set up a visiting appointment for an IIE-SRF fellow, host partners are expected to: 

  • Arrange a yearlong visiting appointment by identifying a departmental host, contact persons/mentors, compensation and benefits, and other services or campus resources; 
  • provide financial support that is equal to or greater than the IIE-SRF fellowship award; 
  • facilitate the appropriate visa or work permit, if required; 
  • receive the IIE-SRF fellowship funds; 
  • disburse in full during the fellowship term the combined IIE-SRF and host matching support, waiving any administrative or overhead fees and assuming all taxation responsibilities; 
  • and report to IIE-SRF on the fellow’s scholarly achievements and other successes or challenges during the fellowship period by completing and submitting to IIE-SRF midterm and final report forms. 

In addition to the above responsibilities, faculty and staff at the host institution play a significant role in assisting the fellow settle in and adjust to the campus and host community. Hosts may provide academic guidance and mentorship and assist fellows with personal and family concerns, such as providing resources for identifying affordable housing or schooling for children, as needed.  

What is considered matching support from the host institution?

IIE-SRF requires that the hosting institution provide financial support that is equal to or greater than the IIE-SRF fellowship award of up to $25,000. This support generally takes the form of a stipend or other direct benefits that would offset the fellow’s cost of living such as housing, airfare, or health insurance. Other in-kind contributions such as office space, computer and library access, or laboratory/bench fees, are encouraged for a complete fellowship support package but do not qualify as part of the matching contribution. 

IIE-SRF may consider on a case-by-case basis a waiver of the full host funding requirement in order to allow fellows to undertake appointments within their home regions or in countries where the cost of living is lower, and the funding requirement is prohibitive. 

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 scholars. The combined support from the host and IIE-SRF should cover living expenses for a modest yet comfortable arrangement.

How long is the fellowship term?

The IIE-SRF fellowship term typically ranges from 9 to 12 months and is ultimately determined by the needs and preferences of hosts and fellows. IIE-SRF does not require that a fellow begins his/her fellowship appointment with the beginning of an academic term; fellows may begin their positions at any point throughout the year.

Fellows are eligible to apply for a renewal of the fellowship for a second and final year of support.

How are the fellowship funds issued?

Fellowship funds are typically sent to the host partner for disbursement to the fellow as part of a regular salary payment or stipend. In rare cases, when funds may not be disbursed through a host institution, IIE-SRF may send the IIE-SRF fellowship funds directly to the scholar in installments throughout the fellowship term.

What is a typical fellowship payment schedule?

Most IIE-SRF fellows are paid through a payroll system at the host institution, and 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 distributed over the course of the fellowship. It is sometimes helpful to provide a larger payment in the first installment to help to defray relocation costs, which can be significant.

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

Matching funds may be allocated by an institutional source such as a university’s provost’s, president’s, and/or international offices, by a specific academic department, or through a combination of institutional and departmental support. On occasion, outside and community sources are approached for additional support.

Which 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 activities will the IIE-SRF fellow undertake 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 other relocation expenses to bring the fellow to the host institution?

In addition to the fellowship grant, many IIE-SRF fellows are eligible for funding to help defray the costs of relocation to the host institution. Fellows traveling internationally to undertake a fellowship appointment receive $5,000 for relocation expenses, while those traveling domestically receive $2,000. Fellows who do not need to relocate in order to undertake their fellowship appointment are not eligible for relocation funding.  

In most cases, IIE-SRF can arrange for the fellow and his/her dependents’ airfare for relocation to the host institution.

Who pays the SEVIS fee that is a prerequisite for the J-1 visa application (applicable only to U.S. institutions)?

In most cases, the host absorbs this cost.

Who pays the fellow and his/her dependents’ visa fees?

In some cases, the host institution can cover the cost of the fellow’s visa fees and this benefit could be counted toward the host’s match funding contribution. In other cases, the fellow covers these expenses.

Can a fellow bring his/her family?

Each scholar’s individual circumstances determine whether his/her family will join the scholar during the fellowship. In IIE-SRF’s experience, most fellows are accompanied by their families.

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 fellows.

What will the fellow do after the fellowship appointment is over?

After one year of IIE-SRF support, many fellows apply for a fellowship renewal, allowing them to continue their work in safety for one more year. (Host institutions are not required to commit to hosting a fellow for more than one year, but many hosts choose to extend a fellow’s appointment in partnership with IIE-SRF, when funding is available.) 

At the conclusion of their second year of IIE-SRF support, a fellow’s decisions about next steps may depend on myriad factors, including the situation in their home country, immigration requirements, and career prospects in the host country, among others. Sometimes, a fellow may be able to return home following a change to their situation in their home country. In other cases, circumstances may not permit a fellow from returning home – at least not initially. In these cases, fellows may use the fellowship period to identify longer-term opportunities. IIE-SRF encourages fellows to begin thinking about these next steps during the early stages of their fellowships.  

To assist fellows with the transition off of the fellowship, IIE-SRF established the Partnerships for Scholar Advancement. The PSA initiative provides IIE-SRF fellows and alumni with academic and professional resources, networks, and mentoring to help maximize their productivity during the fellowship and ease their transitions into the job market. Faculty and staff from a fellow’s host institution can also serve as important resources as a fellow considers his/her next steps.