Top Fellowship Programs in 2021

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Fellowships are specially designed, study, research or engagement programs offering individuals an exciting opportunity to learn, create and experiment in a particular discipline. From entrepreneurship and design to human rights and social innovation, some of the top fellowship programs indulge in the development and propagation of multidimensional and intellectual knowledge. While the Teach For India Fellowship, Gandhi Fellowship, and LAMP Fellowship are well-renowned in India, this blog attempts to summarise the top fellowship programs around the world.

Also Read: Kothari Fellowship

What is Fellowship?

A fellowship is an opportunity for a short duration of time. It can last for a few months and in some cases, a few years. However, a fellowship always has a tenure to follow. These fellowships are sponsored by a certain organization and help support fellows in their growth and providing opportunities in the field.

Top International Fellowships

World Economic Forum, Global Leadership Fellows Programme

The Global Leadership Fellows Programme is a four year, highly selective offering of the World Economic Forum. It is designed in collaboration with six of the highly regarded institutions such as London Business School, INSEAD, and Columbia School of the Arts, amongst others. The fellowship program receives over 6,000 applications every year out of which a meager 20 are selected. In particular, the fellowship aims to facilitate individuals who can contribute to resolving the current problems of a global society by means of building foundations, innovative design thinking, systems development, etc. 

Eligibility: At least a master’s degree with 4-8 years of relevant industry experience.

The German Chancellor Fellowship for Tomorrow’s Leaders

Catering specially to individuals from USA, India, Brazil, China, Russia, the German Chancellor Fellowship for Tomorrow’s Leaders is consistently named amongst the top fellowship programs around the world. It offers an interesting opportunity to work on a project in association with a host in Germany. Individuals already working in the sectors of economics, politics, media, culture, and administration are encouraged to apply. The evaluation of applications is on the basis of the significance it holds in connection with improving the relationships of your home country and Germany. Perks include a monthly stipend, mentoring, family stay and much more.

Eligibility: Must be a university graduate from the above-mentioned countries and have a few years of leadership experience. 

TED Fellowship Program

The TED Conferences LLC, the organization behind the creation of lively and engaging TED talks selects 20 changemakers/fellows under this fellowship program every year. The objective is to connect and collaborate with its 470+ alumni of artists, inventors, technologists, scientists and so forth to share ideas and get personal mentorship opportunities. The criteria of application have been kept open with past fellows ranging from photographers, musicians, activists, scientists, researchers, environmentalists, etc. 

Eligibility: Open to those who are 18 years old or above and are fluent in English. 

Water Advanced Research & Innovation Fellowship Program

Started particularly to lay focus on the importance of water in the environment, human development and economy, the Water Advanced Research & Innovation Fellowship is the result of a multi-organisations association. The Department of Science & Technology, Govt of India along with Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF), the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska (DWFI), amongst others provide meritorious Indian researchers the opportunity to travel for a period of up to 12 months at the US universities and conduct research in the fields of Water Resources, Water Chemistry and Environmental Engineering. 

Eligibility: Must hold a PhD in Water Science & Engineering

Humane Studies Fellowship

Focusing on providing support to prospective and existing PhD students, the Humane Studies Fellowship is an effort by the Institute for Humane Studies, George Mason University. The objective of the fellowship program is to encourage students to pursue research in diverse disciplines. The awards include a yearly and renewable award of $15,000 in addition to a $30,000 award in the year of 2021. 

Eligibility:  Must be a prospective and existing PhD student with an inclination towards research. 

Global Challenges Fellowship

The Global Challenges Fellowship Jointly offered by the Institute for Advanced Study, School of Public Policy and Global Public Policy Institute. The fellowship program encourages accomplished researchers from India, China, Brazil, Iran, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa and Turkey to engage and collaborate for a period of 6-8 months in Berlin and Budapest. The research areas include development and governance, internet governance and changing global institutions. Activities include discussion, seminars, paper publishing and a host of other tasks.

Eligibility: The researchers must be residents of the above-mentioned countries.

Voqal Fellowship Program

The Voqal Fellowship is a social, change-making fellowship that provides financial aid to eight changemakers with a $ 30,000 stipend along with personal guidance and mentorship. This fellowship program runs for a period of six-months wherein fellows have to work towards ideating progressive and innovative ideas in the areas of social justice, progressive politics or transformative media and technology. Students from various disciplines can apply for this fellowship.

Top Fellowship programs for Indians

1. Young India Fellowship

Young India Fellowship is a one year residential post-graduate program. The fellowship was launched in 2011 by the International Foundation for Research and Education (IFRE).  The fellowship program is in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania. The aim of this fellowship is to improve the quality of higher education in India and allow for a more engaging learning method in Indian education system.

Eligibility: Anyone under the age of 29 with a graduate or postgraduate degree can join the fellowship. They must be Indian citizens

2. Teach for India Fellowship

Teach for India is part of the global ‘Teach for All’ program. This fellowship is a 2 year paid program that focuses on providing fellowship offers to graduates and professionals in a full-time teaching role. The program is extremely rigorous as fellows need to teach students from different strata of the society, work on their foundational and remedial learning.

Eligibility: Anyone with a graduate degree, student/ professional can join the fellowship. They must be Indian citizens.

3. Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship


Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship is a fellowship program offered by IIMs. It is a 2-year fellowship that combines classroom sessions with district immersion. The program is rolled out in more than 660 districts in India. Students receive a stipend of INR 50,000 per month during the first year of joining and then a stipend of 60,000 in the second year.

Eligibility: Must be a graduate with an interest in working in rural areas. Must be an Indian citizen. The age limit is 21-30. 3 years of work experience is important but not mandatory.

4. SBI Youth for India Fellowship

SBI Youth for India Fellowship is a rural fellowship program that selects young professionals and graduates to live in rural areas for a year. They work with NGOs to develop in fellows, a more holistic approach towards growth and development. The fellows work for approximately 12 programs including education, health, environmental protection, food security. Etc. 

Eligibility: Anyone with a graduate degree, student/ professional can join the fellowship. They must be Indian citizens.

5. Prime Minister Research Fellowship

The Prime Minister Research Fellowship has been designed in order to improve the quality of research in different higher education institutions in India. The fellowship attracts some of the best students who are selected through a rigorous process and their performance is reviewed accordingly. PMRF is granted in some of the top institutes in India. 

Eligibility: Anyone with a graduate degree, student/ professional can join the fellowship. They must be Indian citizens.

Also Read: Ramanujan Fellowship

If you are looking to apply for top fellowship programs, having a carefully planned approach is imperative so as to increase your chances of selection. More often than not, applicants in haste, fail to make their application an accurate portrait of their efforts. The experienced counselors at Leverage Edu can assist in this respect so that you can take the right step towards a rewarding career. 

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