The Ireland Fellows Programme enables early to mid-career professionals from eligible countries, with leadership potential, to benefit from a prestigious, world-class, quality education contributing to capacity building. It offers selected students the opportunity to undertake a fully funded one-year master’s level programme at a higher education institution (HEI) in Ireland.
The award covers programme fees, flights, accommodation and living costs. Eligible master’s level programmes in Ireland commence in August or September each year and, depending on the programme, will run for between 10 and 16 months.
The Ireland Fellows Programme promotes gender equality, equal opportunity, and welcomes diversity. Our Development Policy is aligned with SDG 16 on building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels, and we are encouraging applications from the broadest possible base.
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The Programme welcomes applications from applicants with disabilities, and applicants who belong to a minority or disadvantaged group. We would like to increase the representation of female applicants and those whose gender identity does not align with the male/female gender binary.
The Aims Ireland Fellows Programme
The aims of the Programme are to nurture future leaders; to develop in-country capacity to achieve national SDG goals; and to build positive relationships with Ireland.
The Programme is intended to support graduates on their return home, through the skills they develop, to contribute to capacity building in their home countries and to become one of the next generation of leaders in their respective fields. It is also envisaged that they will contribute to building enduring positive personal and professional relationships with Ireland, promoting institutional linkages.
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The Ireland Fellows Programme is fully funded by the Irish Government and is offered under the auspices of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). The Programme aligns with the Irish Government’s commitments under Global Ireland and the national implementation plan for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), The Global Island: Ireland’s Foreign Policy for a Changing World, A Better World: Ireland’s Policy for International Development, and Ireland’s International Education Strategy, as well as Global Ireland: Ireland’s Strategy for Africa to 2025; Global Ireland: Delivering in the Asia Pacific Region; Ireland’s Strategy for Partnership with Small Island Developing States; and Global Ireland: Ireland’s Strategy for Latin America and the Caribbean to 2025.. The programme is managed by the relevant Embassy responsible for eligible countries. Programme implementation in Ireland is supported by the Irish Council for International Students (ICOS).
Eligible Countries For Ireland Fellows Programme
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Sierra Leone
- South Sudan
Eligible Courses For Ireland Fellows Programme:
Eligible courses are in areas such as agriculture, health, education, human rights, computer science, engineering, business and more, and are listed in a Directory of Eligible Programmes.
To be eligible for an Ireland Fellows Programme – Africa award commencing at the beginning of the academic year 2024, applicants must:
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- Be a resident national of one of the countries listed below:
Angola, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
For Burundi, please see both this document and the Courtney Fellowship page.
For Nigeria, please see both this document and the Roger Casement Fellowship page.
For Namibia, please see the Seán Mac Bride Fellowship page.
For South Africa, please see the Kadar Asmal Fellowship page.
For Zambia, please see both this document and the Frank Ferguson Fellowship page.
For African SIDS (Cabo Verde, Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritius, Seychelles, Sao Tomé and Príncipe), please see the Ireland-SIDS Fellows page.
- Have a minimum of two or three years’ substantial work experience that is directly relevant to your proposed programme(s) of study, depending on the country (see Page 8 for details).
- Hold a bachelor’s level academic qualification from an accredited and government-recognised higher education institution, with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (4.0 scale) – i.e. a first class honour, or second class honour, Grade 1 (a second class honour Grade 2 may be accepted if the applicant has substantial directly relevant work experience). It must have been awarded in 2012 or later (i.e. within the last 12 years).
- Not already hold a qualification at master’s level or higher. Not currently undertaking a programme at master’s level or higher, or be due to start a programme at master’s level or higher in the academic year 2023/24.
- Be applying to commence a new programme at master’s level in Ireland no sooner than August 2024.
- Be able to demonstrate the following: leadership abilities and aspirations; a commitment to the achievement of the SDGs within your own country; and a commitment to contribute to building positive relationships with Ireland.
- Have identified and selected three programmes relevant to your academic and professional background from the Directory of Eligible Programmes.
- Have a clear understanding of the academic and English language proficiencies required for all programmes chosen.
- Must not have applied to the Ireland Fellows Programme on more than one previous occasion.
- Be in a position to take up the Fellowship in the academic year 2024/2025.
In addition, applications are by invitation only in the following countries: Angola, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eswatini, Eritrea, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, Zambia. This means that fellowships in these countries are restricted to the staff of government departments and NGOs which work in partnership with Irish Aid, and to personnel of organisations that are aligned with Irish Aid’s development strategy in their country which have already been identified by the Embassy of Ireland. Applications from outside these partnerships will not be eligible. To find out if you are eligible to apply, please contact the relevant Embassy of Ireland or your employer.
The Fellowship covers the recipient only. Financial support or visas for spouses or dependents are not included within the scope of the programme.
Please read the Applicant Guidance Note carefully before completing as eligibility criteria may differ from country to country.
The application process consists of three stages:
- Stage 1 Preliminary Application;
- Stage 2 Detailed Application;
- Stage 3 Interviews.
All applicants who are selected to progress after the second stage will be required to sit an online Duolingo English Test. If shortlisted after the interview stage, all applicants will be required to take another English language test, normally the IELTS exam, unless they are already in possession of an IELTS certificate that is dated 2022 or later which shows the applicant has achieved the necessary score for the course(s) they intend to apply to. Early preparation for the IELTS exam is strongly advised, even for native English speakers.
Applications will not be considered for this fellowship unless all eligibility criteria are met. You should carefully check that you can meet the above criteria before requesting application information.
The deadline for receipt of completed application forms is 30 July 2023. Application documents are available under Application Information below after ticking the box to confirm you meet the eligibility criteria.