Sawiris Doctoral Scholarships for Students from Developing Countries, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

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The Sawiris Scholarships promote doctoral research for the benefit of developing countries. The projects have to be innovative and develop a method or product, which is directly relevant for improving the livelihoods of poor people in developing countries.

Deadline for the next submission of concept notes is 31 October 2011.
Deadline for the submission of full project proposals by candidates admitted to the second stage of the selection process is 15 February of the subsequent year.

To be admitted to the selection process, the application has to fulfil the following requirements:

The candidate

  • Preference will be given to citizens of least developed countries and other low-income countries according to the OECD classification.
  • The entrance requirements for doctoral studies at the ETH Zurich have to be fulfilled.
  • Experience in the selected research area is required.

The research project

  • The proposal is of high scientific quality.
  • The research topic is innovative and relevant for development.
  • The ecological, socio-economic and cultural context has been taken into account.
  • Reasonable results can be expected in the given timeframe.
  • The expected impact of the research is high for the intended target group.

The partnership

  • Projects involving a research partner from a developing country have to be based on the KFPE principles.
  • All partners have been involved in project formulation and development.
  • All partners make a substantial in-kind or cash commitment.
  • The project is integrated into the general activities of the involved institutions.
  • Preference will be given to projects with partners in least developed countries and other low-income countries according to the OECD classification.

Application procedure
The application procedure consists of the two following steps:

First step – The candidate has to submit a concept note (details see below) to the North-South Centre, Patricia Heuberger-Meyer at pheuberger[at] The deadline for submitting concept notes is October 31. Only concept notes fulfilling all indicated requirements will be admitted to the first selection. They will be evaluated by the selection committee with regard to its suitability for the Sawiris Scholarships.

Second step – Candidates whose concept note has been accepted by the selection committee are entitled to elaborate a full proposal (details see below). The proposal has to be submitted to the North-South Centre by the supervising ETH professor. The deadline is February 15 of the subsequent year.

Concept note

  • The proposed research has to be concerned with the development of a method or product, which is directly relevant to poor people in developing countries.
  • The research topic has to be within the thematic scope of ETH Zurich.
  • A letter of support by the supervising ETH professor has to be provided.

When preparing your concept note, please use the standard form and send it together with your CV and letter of support by the supervising ETH professor to Patricia Heuberger-Meyer at pheuberger[at] Only complete applications will be accepted.

Full proposal
A scholarship of CHF 150’000 can be granted per proposal for a period of three years. The application in electronic form has to be submitted by the professor of the ETH Zurich who has accepted to supervise the candidate. The proposal of maximum 15 pages has to include the following information:


  • Cover page including executive summary
  • Clearly defined and justified objectives
  • Problem definition, state of research (own and others) and references (to be included into appendix)
  • Project description, hypotheses, innovativeness of the research, research methodology, and corresponding logical framework matrix.
  • Description of the institutional framework and partnership, explaining the contribution of all involved partners (if applicable)
  • Supervision and backstopping
  • Work plan with milestones
  • Critical assessment of chances and risks
  • Expected results and strategy for their implementation (method or product to be developed and its relevance to end users)
  • Detailed budget for each year of the scholarship, differentiating all funding sources including those of the ETH chair and partner contributions (financial or in-kind)


  • Letters of support from all involved partner institutions
  • Motivation letter with career intentions of the candidate
  • CV of the candidate with references
  • List of 5 independent reviewers
  • Personal references

Selection procedure and reporting

  • The proposals will first be reviewed by independent scientists of the relevant field and then evaluated by the selection committee.
  • The accepted candidates will be informed about the contractual requirements and reporting procedures (technical and financial).

For more information, please visit official website:

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the above information is current and correct. However, applicants should contact the appropriate administering body before making an application, as details do change frequently.

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