2024 STAARS Individual Research Fellowship for Early-Career Researchers in Africa

The annual call for research proposals is open for the Structural Transformation of African Agriculture and Rural Spaces (STAARS) individual research fellowship programme, managed by Cornell University in collaboration with the World Bank’s Development Research Group and the Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP).

Early-career African researchers selected as STAARS Fellows in 2024 will advance rigorous, policy-oriented research on the causal determinants of productivity and income growth, asset accumulation, rural employment, and risk management in African agriculture and rural spaces.

STAARS Fellows will be paired with faculty, senior research staff, or affiliated researcher mentors from Cornell University, the World Bank, or PEP, with whom they will jointly author a paper on a topic of mutual interest relating to structural transformation in Africa south of the Sahara. The program aims for the publication of resulting research findings in high-quality, peer-reviewed journals and as working papers. In addition, the World Bank, PEP, and Cornell will facilitate Fellows’ participation in scientific and policy conferences, provide professional development training, and build Fellows’s international research networks.

Prospective STAARS Fellows are invited to develop proposals in the following thematic areas for empirical work on Africa south of the Sahara:

  • Dynamics of agricultural input use, technological change, and productivity growth.
  • Rural factors (e.g., credit, labor, land) and product market performance and links to urban markets.
  • Agri-food systems and value chains, their performance, and evolution.
  • Food security, nutrition, health and education linkages.
  • Poverty dynamics, risk management, and resilience against shocks.
  • Sustainable natural resource management.
  • Gender and marginalized groups.


The selected applicants will receive funds to cover travel and participation in a three-week mentorship program at Cornell University or the World Bank (based on mentorship).

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  • The call is open for early-career African researchers, either Ph.D. students in their final year prior to degree completion or preferably those who completed their Ph.D. no earlier than 2018.
  • Priority is given to researchers who are African nationals based and working in or soon returning to Africa, with proposals relating to the research themes indicated above.
  • Qualified female researchers are particularly encouraged to apply.
  • STAARS welcomes applications from fresh Ph.D. graduates who can benefit from mentorship and additional training to become internationally respected and recognized researchers.

Application Process

Within the online application, please complete the applicant information and research sections. At the end of the application form, please attach, as a ZIP folder or merged PDF, the following materials:

  • CV of the applicant
  • Research Proposal (2500 words max.)
  • If proposing to use data that is not publicly available, a letter or other documentation from the data steward(s) indicating that the applicant will have access to the data to use in the proposed project
  • A letter of support from the applicant’s current supervisor clearly indicating that the applicant will be granted time to work on this project if selected
  • Photocopy of the passport biodata page and, if applicable, any current US visa

To apply for the 2024 STAARS Individual Research Fellowship for Early-Career Researchers in Africa, click here

Deadline: January 19, 2024.

For more information on the 2024 STAARS Individual Research Fellowship for Early-Career Researchers in Africa, visit the official site.

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