Japan/World Bank ‘Fully Funded’ Scholarship Program for Developing Countries

For years now, the World Bank has offered scholarship schemes to young women and men of developing countries as a way of encouraging capacity development. Since 1982, World Bank has been investing in education with its scholarship programs so far enabling over 6,000 professionals take charge of their careers and positively impact citizens of their respective countries.

The 2019/2020 World Bank scholarship is offering young men and women of developing countries opportunities to tap from two sources of funding for their graduate studies in development-related fields (researchers and mid-career professionals):

  1. Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program (JJWBGSP) Since 1987, JJWBGSP has enabled more than 6,000 mid-career professionals from developing countries and Japan to complete graduate degrees in development-related fields. On an annual basis, the Government of Japan solely funds the JJWBGSP.

ATTENTION: The call for scholarship applications is now open until the application deadline of April 11, 2019. Learn more about how to apply for JJWBGSP scholarship for Developing Country Nationals and for Japan Nationals.

  1. Robert S. McNamara Fellowships Program(RSMFP) Since 1982, this fellowship program has enabled PhDcandidates from developing countries to undertake research at institutions abroad. Fellowships are for 6–10 month periods and can be up to $25,000. The RSMFP was established with funding from the World Bank and the governments of Bangladesh, China, India, Kuwait, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, and former Yugoslavia.

Who is Eligible to Apply?

Applicants Must:

  • Be a national of a World Bank member developing country (.xlsx);
  • Not hold dual citizenship of a developed country;
  • Be 35 years of age or younger on the Application Deadline date;
  • Be enrolled in a PhD program in a member developing country of the World Bank at the time of application
  • Reside in a member developing country of the World Bank since enrolled in the PhD program;
  • Have completed all coursework and exam requirements for attaining a PhD at the time of application;
  • Have a PhD thesis centered on a field of development.
  • Not be a staff member (which includes consultant) or a relative of a staff member of the World Bank Group

*Please note: All eligibility criteria are strictly adhered to. No exceptions are made. Eligibility criteria WILL NOT change during an open call for applications. However, this information is subject to change between the close of one application process and the opening of the next.

How to Apply?

When the call for applications is open, the application guidelines, online application, and a final list of eligibility criteria will be available on this site.

The RSMFP application must be completed online by the Application Deadline date and include:

  • The completed application form
  • An agreement to the terms and conditions for an RSMFP fellowship listed on the Application Form’s Signature Page;
  • A completed recommendation form submitted online by the host university research advisor; and
  • A completed recommendation form submitted online by the PhD Thesis supervisor.

All required documents must be uploaded online. Any documents an applicant provides by email, post or any means other than the online application form will not be reviewed.

What are the RSMFP Benefits?

RSMFP provides up to $25,000 (U.S.) for developing country nationals to travel abroad to conduct development-related PhD research under the supervision of a host advisor at a university, research or development institution in a World Bank member country. The Scholarship covers a 6 to 10 month period. Details on eligible expenditures are provided in the Application Guidelines.

What is the Selection Process?

The RSMFP uses the following process to review completed applications, with the aim to identify eligible candidates with the most innovative and relevant research proposals in the area of development.

Two qualified reviewers independently review each eligible application to assess the following:

  1. Quality of the proposed fellowship (70%)
  2. Prospects for a productive career in research on development post-PhD (30%)

Information provided by your PhD thesis supervisor and your host institution research advisor are particularly important elements of your application.

The World Bank Robert S. McNamara Secretariat uses the average score of the two reviewers and the following other aspects to select the finalists:

  • Maintaining a reasonably wide geographical distribution of awards;
  • Maintaining a reasonable distribution of awards across gender;
  • Giving fellowships to those applicants who, other things equal, appear to have limited financial resources;
  • Giving preference to applicants currently employed as lecturers or researchers at an academic or research institution in a member developing country of the World Bank;
  • Giving preference to applicants who have not received a JJ/WBGSP scholarship for a master’s degree program.

The finalists are presented to the World Bank Robert S. McNamara Steering Committee (composed of some members of the World Bank Board of Directors and WB management) for final review and selection of the winners of the award. The RSMFP Secretariat notifies the public on this website that the selection is made and individually informs the winners of the Fellowship.

For more details on the Joint Japan/World Bank Scholarship for Developing Countries, visit the official website

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