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Formal Requirements and Selection Procedure

Formal Requirements

In order to be considered eligible for a fellowship by NIAS, the following criteria and rules are applicable:

  • On the date that the Call closes, the applicant must have at least three years of research experience since the date they were awarded a Ph.D.;
  • The project proposal must fit within the scope of humanities and/or social sciences;
  • The project proposal should be no more than a maximum of fifteen hundred words including footnotes, excluding references and abstract;
  • The project proposal should contain at least a clear description of the project that will be conducted during a stay at NIAS, a research question, as well as the methodological and theoretical contribution the project aims at;
  • The applicant may not resubmit a project proposal that was previously rejected by NIAS;
  • Applicants can only apply for one type of fellowship per academic year (i.e. either a NIAS Individual Fellowship, a co-sponsored individual fellowship, a NIAS joint fellowship, or a co-sponsored theme-group fellowship);
  • An applicant who previously held a NIAS fellowship may only apply for a NIAS Individual Fellowship if there are at least 10 years between the application date of the previous fellowship and the current application deadline date (see for exceptions on this rule Article 8 of the full Regulations);
  • Applicants should provide the names of three international experts in their field who would be suitable to approach as referees. Experts should not have a conflict of interest by reviewing the proposal. Excluded experts are colleagues from the same department, co-authors, (former) supervisors, friends, and scholars involved in the current research project proposal;
  • The application must be completed correctly and contain all the requested information and required documentation.


Read the full  Regulations Selection Procedure NIAS Individual Fellowships with the eligibility criteria.

Selection Procedure Individual Fellowships

The annual Call for Applications for NIAS Individual Fellowships is open from 15 January to the 15 March (or the next Monday, in case this date is a Saturday or Sunday). Applications should be written in English and submitted via the application module on the NIAS website.

The selection procedure for NIAS Individual Fellowships is project-based. This means that the focus for selection lies, first, on the quality of the project proposal, and second, on the applicant’s academic merits and proven excellence.

First round: checking on eligibility, basic academic quality criteria and collaborative potential
In order to be eligible for application, candidates must meet all formal eligibility criteria, as well as the basic academic quality criteria, and be deemed to show potential for fruitful exchange within our research community. The Selection Officer at NIAS checks whether the application complies with the eligibility criteria; the NIAS staff committee focuses on both the academic and collaborative potential as described in the candidate’s application form, and checks that both are sufficiently in place and addressed. If the application meets all formal requirements it will be sent to two external referees to evaluate the scientific content. If the application does not meet the formal requirements the application will be rejected and the applicant will be informed by email.

Second round: evaluation by external reviewers
Applications that meet all the formal requirements are sent to two selected external referees taken either from the panel of referees compiled by NIAS for the selection procedure, and/or from the three referees put forward by the applicant. The NIAS panel of referees is broad to ensure that a wide variety of expertises and backgrounds are represented.

Third round: evaluation by Academic Advisory Board
The seventy-five applications with the highest scores from the referees’ evaluations are presented to the NIAS Academic Advisory Board (AAB), which has the task of advising the NIAS directorate on the selection procedure and rank applicants, thereby taking into account the internal balance of the proposed year group, in terms of discipline, gender, phase in career, and regional diversity.

Fourth round: final selection by the director of NIAS
On the basis of the advice of the AAB and the additional criteria of available office space, accommodation and resources, the NIAS directorate makes decisions about the final allocation of fellowships.

The Director of NIAS also finalises the reserve list of candidates on the basis of the Academic Advisory Board’s advice. This list will be used to augment the year group if candidates from the first list refuse (or are unable to accept the fellowship offer). Candidates on the reserve list are approached according to their ranking scores and the additional criteria.

The two short-lists are presented to the NIAS Directorate (consisting of the Director and the Head of Academic Affairs). The Director of NIAS informs all candidates in writing of his decision no later than 15 December in the year that the application was submitted i.e. candidates who have been selected, candidates who have not been selected and candidates who have been placed on the reserve list.

Applicants are sent a Preliminary Offer by email. If the applicant accepts the offer, all the terms will be incorporated into the official Fellowship Agreement, a contract which is sent to applicants to sign before the fellowship. If the two parties have not come to mutual agreement by the 15th of April of the year following selection, the offer expires. If that is the case, the Director of NIAS will select a suitable new candidate from the reserve list.

The full selection process takes 9 months.

Read the full  Regulations Selection Procedure NIAS Individual Fellowships