Calling Early-Career African Researchers: STAARS Fellowship Program 2024 Seeks Policy-Oriented Research Proposals for Agricultural Development

The Structural Transformation of African Agriculture and Rural Spaces (STAARS) fellowship program, a collaborative initiative managed by Cornell University, the World Bank’s Development Research Group, and the Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP), has opened its annual call for research proposals. The program, established in 2016, aims to support early-career African researchers in conducting policy-oriented research on the determinants of productivity, income growth, and other critical aspects of African agriculture and rural development.

Deadline: January 19, 2024 at 11:59 PM Eastern

Scope of Research and Thematic Areas

STAARS encourages proposals in various thematic areas related to Africa south of the Sahara. These include dynamics of agricultural inputs, rural factors and product market performance, agri-food systems, food security, poverty dynamics, sustainable natural resources management, and gender considerations. Researchers are expected to use existing high-quality datasets from Africa, such as the Living Standards Measurement Study – Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS–ISA) and Demographic and Health Surveys.

Eligibility and Funding

The call is open to early-career African researchers, including PhD students in their final year and those who completed their PhD no earlier than 2018. The fellowship covers travel, training expenses, and a modest honorarium. Female researchers are especially encouraged to apply. The selected researchers will work closely with mentors from Cornell University, the World Bank, or PEP, and are expected to complete their projects by June 30, 2025.

Program Details

The 15-month program includes virtual collaboration, training workshops, and a three-week mentorship program either at Cornell University or the World Bank. The fellowship emphasizes professional development, offering workshops on coding, data management, research ethics, and more. The schedule culminates in paper submissions to academic journals by June 30, 2025.


Deadline: January 19, 2024 at 11:59 PM Eastern

STAARS will hold an informational webinar on Tuesday, December 12th from 9:00 – 10:00 am Eastern Time. Please register for the webinar here

Interested candidates are required to submit a 2500-word research proposal by January 19, 2024. The proposal should outline the research objectives, methodology, data sources, and a timeline. Shortlisted candidates will undergo a virtual interview and a Stata/R assessment.

Applicants should submit their completed proposals via the STAARS online application link. A worksheet that outlines the questions and can be used to collect answers prior to submitting online can be found on the Application website. Accepted applicants will be notified by mid-March 2024 and are expected to begin remote collaboration with their mentor and be prepared to join launch activities immediately upon acceptance.

For more information and to apply, visit the STAARS online application link or contact [email protected].

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