Call for Application: Commonwealth Professional Fellowships are for Mid-Career Professionals

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About the Commonwealth Professional Fellowships

Commonwealth Professional Fellowships are for mid-career professionals from low and middle income countries to spend a period of time at a UK host organisation working in their sector for a programme of professional development.

The Purpose of the Commonwealth Professional Fellowships is to provide professionals with the opportunity to enhance knowledge and skills in their given sector, and to have catalytic effects on their workplaces.

Intended beneficiaries will include Mid-career professionals (with five years’ relevant work experience) working organizations in low and middle income Commonwealth countries.

The fellowships will be offered under six development themes:

  • Science and technology for development
  • Strengthening health systems and capacity
  • Promoting global prosperity
  • Strengthening global peace, security and governance
  • Strengthening resilience and response to crises

Fellowships will be tenable for between six weeks and three months starting from February 2024.

How to Apply for the Commonwealth Professional Fellowships

Fellowship applications are now open and will close at 16:00 BST on Wednesday 16 August 2023.

To submit an application for the Professional Fellowships programme you must complete the online form.

In the application form, prospective Fellows will be asked to:

  • List all undergraduate and postgraduate university qualifications obtained (where applicable)
  • List up to 10 publications and prizes (if applicable)
  • Provide details of your employment history and explain how each job is relevant to the programme you wish to undertake in the UK (up to 100 words per employment)
  • Provide a statement on the relevance of your previous work experience to the proposed fellowship (up to 300 words)
  • List names and positions of up to three referees who are qualified to comment on both your capacity to benefit from your proposed fellowship in the UK and your ability to deliver development impact afterwards. One of your referees must be your current employer

Provide a development impact statement in 4 parts.

  • Part 1: (up to 200 words) Explain how participation on your selected fellowship relates to:
    • one of the six CSC development themes
    • development issues at the global, national and local level
  • Part 2 (up to 100 words) Explain how you intend to apply your new skills once your Fellowship ends.
  • Part 3 (up to 250 words) Outline what you expect will change in development terms following your fellowship including:
    • the outcomes that you aim to achieve
    • the timeframe for their implementation
    • who the beneficiaries will be
  • Part 4: (up to 100 words) Write about how the impact of your work could be best measured.
  • Confirm what your award objectives are and how each of them will be met by the fellowship programme
  • Confirm what your objectives are for the next two years and how each of them will be met by the fellowship programme
  • Confirm what your objectives are in the longer term and how each of them will be met by the fellowship programme
  • Provide a personal statement to summarise the ways in which your personal background has encouraged you to want to make an impact in your home country. You should indicate areas in which you have already contributed, such as having overcome any personal or community barriers to your chosen career (up to 500 words)
  • Summarise the ways in which you have engaged in voluntary activities and the opportunities you have had to demonstrate leadership (up to 500 words)
  • Provide a scan of your passport or national identity card

Fellow eligibility

To be eligible for these Fellowships, prospective Fellows must:

  • Be a citizen of or have been granted refugee status by an eligible Commonwealth country, or be a British Protected Person
  • Be permanently resident in an eligible Commonwealth country
  • Have at least five years’ full-time, or equivalent part-time, relevant work experience, in a profession related to the subject of the fellowship programme, by the proposed start of the fellowship – voluntary work experience will not be counted towards this minimum
  • Be in employment at the time of application at an organisation that they will return to upon completion of the fellowship
  • Provide at least two references, one of which must be from their current employer. Any applications for which references are not received by the reference closing date will be considered ineligible.
  • Not have undertaken a Commonwealth Professional Fellowships within the last five years (at the time of taking up the award)
  • Not be seeking to undertake an academic programme of research or study. Academics are eligible to apply for the scheme, but only to undertake programmes of academic management, not research or courses relevant to their research subject
  • Be available to undertake their fellowship from the prescribed start date
  • In addition to the above, prospective fellows must ensure they meet any eligibility criteria set out by each individual host organisation.

The CSC aims to identify talented individuals who have the potential to make change. We are committed to a policy of equal opportunity and non-discrimination and encourage applications from a diverse range of candidates. For further information on the support available to fellows with a disability, see the CSC disability support statement.

Please note: Your personal information will be used to conduct necessary due diligence checks to CSC’s satisfaction, before CSC proceeds with any type of formal agreement or contractual relationship. In most cases, the due diligence checks will be straightforward, however further information may be requested, so we ask for your full co-operation to speed up the process.

If you do not agree to your personal data being used for the purpose of conducting due diligence, unfortunately CSC will not be able to proceed further with the application process.

General conditions

  • A Commonwealth Professional Fellowship covers a contribution to the host organisation costs, approved fares, and personal maintenance. Other fellowships, awards, or bursaries that cover the same costs may not be held concurrently.
  • In order for the CSC to administer a Fellow’s application effectively and efficiently after they have submitted, it will be necessary to create a record in their name. The details of Fellows who are nominated to the CSC will be kept on file. Basic anonymised demographic data for all applicants will be kept for analytical research. The CSC is committed to protecting personal information and to being transparent about the information we are collecting about individuals and what we do with it. To find out more, see our privacy notice.
  • Fellows must submit a health and disability form before a Confirmation of Award can be issued
  • Fellows will be asked to sign an undertaking which requires them to return to their home country and their previous place of employment at the time of being awarded the fellowship. Fellows must leave within five days of the end of their award
  • Fellows are expected to start and complete their award on the dates stated in their Notification of Award and for the full term. The CSC is usually not able to agree any changes to these dates after the Notification of Award has been issued
  • Fellows require a Temporary Work – Government Authorised Exchange visa to come to the UK for their award and must meet all relevant immigration regulations set by UK Visas and Immigration. These regulations are subject to change at any time. See immigration conditions for more information.
  • Fellows must reside in the UK throughout their award, and seek approval from the CSC in advance for any overseas travel, which will be granted in exceptional circumstances only
  • Fellows must not undertake paid employment during their award
  • The CSC cannot provide a letter of support for any fellow to remain in the UK after their award
  • An award may be terminated at any time for reasons of unsatisfactory conduct, progress, attendance, or violation of visa conditions, or if the host organisation decides it is unable to proceed with the fellowship for any reason before or during the award
  • Applicants and selected Fellows must adhere to the CSC’s code of conduct for award holders and disciplinary policy and procedure

Financial assistance

Each Fellowship provides:

  • Approved return airfare from the Fellow’s home country to the UK.
  • Reimbursement of the standard visa application fee.
  • Stipend (living allowance) payable monthly (or pro rata) for the duration of the award at the rate of £1,944 per month, or £2,397 per month for those at organisations in the London metropolitan area (rates quoted at 2022/23 levels).
  • If a Fellow declares a disability, a full assessment of needs and eligibility for additional financial support will be offered by the CSC. See the CSC disability support statement for more information.
  • Arrival allowance of up to £1,061.10 (rates quoted at 2022/23 levels), including an element for warm clothing.
  • A maximum of £3,000 per Fellow can be agreed by host organisations for short courses/conferences as well as travel to visit other UK organisations where this forms an integral part of the programme. Host organisations should bear in mind the restrictions set out in our guidance on claimable costs.

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