Instructions for application for the Interdisciplinary Fellow Group “Sustainable Rural Transformation"


Profile of the Interdisciplinary Fellow Group “Sustainable Rural Transformation”

The increasing competition for African resources affects the lives of rural populations and may result in social conflict. The commercialization of agriculture on the continent threatens livelihoods of smallholder farmers and carries environmental risks. Yet, it may also present new opportunities (e.g. via out-grower schemes and wage employment). This IFG will discuss how a sustainable transformation of rural Africa can be achieved.

Fellowship Conditions
The programme comprises one scheme directed at junior researchers (completed PhD plus one to six years post-doctoral experience) and one scheme directed at senior researchers (completed PhD plus a minimum of six years post-doctoral research experience or a tenured professorship or equivalent permanent position).
In general, MIASA fellowships support fellowships of four months duration.
Selected applicants are offered a Senior or Junior Fellowship at MIASA with all the corresponding rights and obligations for the duration of the fellowship. Within the current selection round, fellowships are awarded for the period between February 1, 2020 and May 31, 2020.

MIASA will cover the fellow’s salary on the principle of “no loss, no gain”, or the salary of a teaching replacement up to a maximum of a standard wage for a full professor (senior fellowship) or a “research assistant” (junior fellowship). MIASA will provide accommodation and reimburse travel costs. Furthermore, all fellows will receive a monthly allowance of 400 €. In addition, MIASA will provide a research cost contribution that fellows can apply for to support their research undertaken at MIASA (max. 600 €/fellow).

The Institute provides its fellows with modern office space and an up-to-date infrastructure. Fellows have full access to all library services.
The expectations that accompany a MIASA fellowship include a clear commitment of the researchers to the proposed project, full-time presence at the institute and active participation in the institute’s academic and cultural events. Longer periods of absence require the directors’ approval. These expectations are clearly set out in the fellowship agreement signed by the fellow and MIASA.


In order to be eligible, candidates must fulfil the following eligibility criteria:

  • Eligible for application are junior and senior researchers from all countries after completion of their PhD (at the time of the application deadline) in a relevant discipline of the Humanities or the Social Sciences.
  •  Junior scheme: completed PhD plus up to six years post-doctoral experience at the time of the application deadline (Time off for family or medical reasons or non-academic professional activities is not counted  towards these six years, the effective elapsed time is calculated in accordance with the ERC Standard Eligibility Conditions)
  •  Senior scheme: completed PhD plus a minimum of six years post-doctoral research experience or a tenured professorship or equivalent permanent position at the time of the application deadline.
  •  Applicants must propose a research project that matches the research focus of the IFG on “Sustainable Rural Transformation in Africa”. Note that projects can also be concerned with other world regions, but should reflect on the implications for African rural transformation.
  •  Applicants must submit the complete application dossier by the specified deadline. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered. Formatting rules have to be observed. Page limits may not be exceeded.
  •  The proposal must meet the standards of academic English in international research.


Candidates apply exclusively through the online application portal. The completed application form together with the required documents has to be uploaded on the application webpage ( and submitted by May 15, 2019; 24.00 h CET. After submission of the documents applicants will receive an acknowledgement of receipt providing contact details and including a copy of their submission.
The following materials (in English) are required to submit the application:
Formatting: font Arial, 11 pt, line spacing 1.5, all margins 2.5 cm.
Page limits may not be exceeded.
Just for information purposes - a pdf copy of the application form is provided here.

All required documents should be in pdf format. Materials 1 – 4 are to be included in one pdf-file.
1. Cover page (max. 1 page).
a. Title, name (last, first), e-mail address, link to webpage (optional)
b. Date of doctorate (PhD defense)
c. Current institution (Name of institution/city/country)
d. Research field
e. Project title
f. The two most important reasons why the research project matches the research focus of the IFG on “
Sustainable Rural Transformation ”.

2. Project proposal (max. 6 pages).
The compulsory structure of the project proposal is as follows:
a. Research field, title and short abstract of the research project.
b. Aims, theoretical framework and methodology of the project.
c. Work plan and feasibility (time schedule and projected costs).
d. Innovative potential, originality and relevance of the project.
e. Added value of conducting research within the IFG on “Sustainable Rural Transformation” (both for the applicant and the local research community).
f. Bibliographical references.
3. CV in tabular form (max. 2 pages).

4. Publication list (in the senior scheme: especially of the last ten years) highlighting the most important publications and the most important project-specific publications (max. 2 pages).
We do not accept applications submitted by email or surface mail.

The selection of fellows is competitive and strictly merit-based.
The all-important selection criteria are the academic excellence of both the applicant and the project proposal. The fit of the proposed project with the IFG and the required experience and capability to conduct the research project will equally be taken into account.
An international selection committee will be responsible for the selection of the fellows.
Decisions about the fellowships will be announced by the end of July 2019.
The interdisciplinary fellow group will start on February 01, 2020.

It is recommended that researchers interested in this IFG should please contact the convenors of the group through in advance to preparing an application.