Type of Funding





The Open Society Foundations is making available Civil Society Scholar Awards (CSSA) for 2019-2020 for doctoral students and university faculty from eligible developing countries, to enable them to access resources that enrich socially engaged research and critical scholarship in their home country or region. Scholars should those who have contributed to research or other engagement with local communities, to further debates on challenging societal questions and to strengthen critical scholarship and academic networks within their fields.

The duration of projects applied for must be between 2 and 12 months, falling within the period 1 September 2019 to 31 August 2020. All projects must take place outside of the country of the applicant’s current residence.

Projects taking place in the U.S. can only be funded if they start on or after 1 February 2020 and must be of at least 3 months in duration. An official invitation from the host institution in the U.S. must be attached to the application, along with a confirmation that the host institution is on the list of Designated Sponsor Organizations for J1 visa.


Maximum funding is US$15,000 per person. Selected grantees may be invited to attend a participant conference during the grant period, for which travel costs and accommodation will be covered.


Applicants must be doctoral students of eligible fields studying at accredited universities inside or outside of their home country or full-time faculty members with at least a Masters degree, who are teaching at universities in their home country. PhD students, including those teaching at their home or other universities, must apply as doctoral students. Applicants applying as full-time faculty members must have a minimum of a Masters degree, be teaching at their home institutions, and cannot be enrolled in a doctoral program. Students or faculty currently enrolled in Masters degree programs are ineligible.

Applicants must be citizens of the following countries: Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Haiti, Kosovo, Laos, Libya, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Myanmar/Burma, Nepal, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Serbia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, or Yemen. Applicants with permanent resident status or dual citizenship in Australia, Canada, European Union, New Zealand, Nordic countries, or USA are not eligible.

Projects can fall within any subject area within the social sciences and humanities, but the following are favoured: law, justice, and governance; sustainable development and natural resource management; economic rights and empowerment of the poor; public health, social work and community development; new media law and policy; inclusive education; post-conflict studies; and human rights.

Ineligible fields include: business administration, management training, computer science, finance/banking, marketing, engineering, hard sciences (physics, biology, chemistry, etc.), mathematics, medical sciences and teaching English as a foreign language/language instruction.

The awards support short-term, international academic projects such as fieldwork (data collection); research visits to libraries, archives, or universities; course/curriculum development; and international collaborations leading to peer-reviewed publication. Tuition fees are not eligible for support.

Projects taking place in Russia or Azerbaijan are ineligible.

Applications will be assessed on the basis of proven academic excellence as well as a clear and justifiable need for international travel to complete the research project and relevance of the project to the development of open society in the applicant’s home country.

Current or former grantees who have been awarded a CSSA grant once may apply for a new grant but must show how their proposed project is a continuation of or is closely related to their original project. Current grantees applying for the award for the second time must also confirm that they are on schedule with their current grant’s work timeline. CSSA grant cannot be awarded to the same person more than twice.


Applications should preferably be done online by 29 March 2019.

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