TWAS-Sida PhD Scholarships for Climate Research for Students from Least Developed Countries (LDCs)

Under this scheme, PhD scholarships are awarded to promising candidates from LDCs. Applicants must have obtained their MSc in an area relevant to the topics under the umbrella of climate change – which is a broad and interdisciplinary field– or they must obtain the MSc degree by December 2022.
The call is closed
Partner Organizations
Eligible nationalities
Minimum degree held
Up to 4 years
Age limit
Sandwich option

The TWAS-Sida PhD Scholarship Programme for Climate Research for students from LDCs has just been established in response to the need of increasing the base of expertise in climate research in Least Developed Countries, through a modern and complete PhD training programme. Under this scheme, TWAS has built a Portfolio of Host Supervisors including high-level climate experts. PhD scholarships can be awarded to promising candidates from LDCs who have obtained their MSc by December 2022, in an area relevant to the topic of climate change.

The TWAS-Sida PhD Scholarship Programme for Climate Research for students from LDCs aims to:

  • Increase the base of expertise in climate research in Least Developed Countries;
  • Contribute to fill the gap among the authors of the IPCC Assessments Reports, where scientists from developing countries are less numerous and Least Developed Countries are very much under-represented;
  • Contribute to building capacity in the context of climate change challenges in countries that are taking the brunt of the climate crisis. Climate literacy is crucial for affected societies in order to i) develop in ways that are as sustainable as possible, ii) adopt measures and policies for mitigation and adaptation;
  • Contribute to the efforts underpinning the SDGs, and Sustainable Development in general, which are jeopardized by the climate crisis, as much as is the well-being of future generations;
  • Strengthen developing countries' endogenous capacity in science;
  • Reduce the exodus of scientific talents from the South;
  • Build and sustain units of scientific excellence in LDCs over a longer period to help them achieve a critical mass of highly qualified and innovative scientists capable of addressing real-life problems facing their countries.

The TWAS-Sida PhD Scholarship Programme for Climate Research for students from LDCs is fully funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The contribution is intended to support climate action in a world struggling with multiple planetary crises. In particular, the United Nations categorized a group of countries as ‘Least Developed’ (https://unctad.org/topic/least-developed-countries/list): these are low-income countries, that have a great need of help and support. In terms of science and technology in particular, they are severely lagging, and this is compromising efforts of growth. It is critical to contribute to their capacity building especially in the area of climate change, which will affect the livelihood of many of their communities.

Programme details

  • "TWAS Portfolio of Host Supervisors". The vision of this Climate PhD Scholarship Programme is to equip candidates with both research and soft skills useful to take action in the context of the challenges posed by climatic changes. TWAS selected potential host supervisors including high-level climate experts: they are listed in the "TWAS Portfolio of Host Supervisors". 
  • Selecting a scientific area of interest. To apply for this scholarship, candidates will need to fill in an application form on an online portal with a series of questions that will require written answers. Some of the questions in the application form will ask candidates to outline their statement of purpose in regard to this Climate PhD opportunity. Candidates will also need to choose a potential host supervisor among those proposed by TWAS in its 'Portfolio of Host Supervisors' based on the areas of scientific research of their interest. Candidates will NOT need to upload a letter of support from the host supervisor identified, and neither a research proposal, as this will need to be defined in agreement with the host supervisor, after the selections, if awarded.
  • Two possible mechanisms. There are two possible mechanisms for this PhD scholarship opportunity: 
  1. FULL-TIME: Through this mechanism, you will be registered for a PhD in the host country and will spend the entire period of doctoral research there, obtaining the degree from the host institution. The host institution can be either in an LDC (https://unctad.org/topic/least-developed-countries/list) or in another country in the Global South (https://twas.org/developing-countries-south)
  2. SANDWICH: Through this mechanism, you will be registered for a PhD in your home country, which must be an LDC, and you will only carry out part of the research in the host country, spending periods (e.g. 1-3 months each year or as necessary) at another institution with a collaborating host supervisor. 

Please be aware that exhaustive explanations are available in the document ‘Guidelines for Applicants’, which you can find at the bottom of this page, and which you should study carefully.


  • Applicants must be nationals of one of the countries in the category of Least Developed Countries (LDCs), as defined by the United Nations (https://unctad.org/topic/least-developed-countries/list)
  • The maximum eligible age limit for this programme is 40 years of age for male applicants and 45 years of age for female applicants, by December this year (2022).
  • MSc must be obtained in a field relevant to topics under the umbrella of climate change, or it may be ongoing but must be completed by 31 December of the application year (2022).
  • Applications from women scientists are especially encouraged.


The stipend will cover the cost of food and accommodation for the stay in the country where the PhD research will take place. It also covers a ticket to/from the host country, VISA costs, and health insurance.

  • Full-time mechanism.
    The scholarship may be granted for a maximum duration of 4 years, divided as follows: 3 years of research + 1 year of thesis writing up. 
  • Sandwich mechanism.
  1. Option a) Should you enroll in the first year of a PhD programme in your home country at an LDC and set up the Sandwich mechanism right away, the scholarship will cover the stipend for the entire 4 years of the PhD, plus flight to and from the host country, visa, and medical insurance.
  2. Option b) Should you be already enrolled by the time of application, or the awarding, in a doctorate in your home country or in a developing country, the scholarship will only cover the stipend for the months at the collaborating host institution and the costs of the flight to and from the host country, visa, and medical insurance.

Additional aspects that the selected applicants will benefit from

  • Publication costs/open access: awardees will be provided with support, whenever possible, to publish in open access journals.
  • Special training programmes: in order to make sure that the programme yields well-rounded experts, workshops to build soft skills and increase “SDGs Literacy” (https://sdgs.un.org/partnerships/sdg-literacy-and-relating-your-research-global-challenges) will be organized, also in collaboration with the IPCC, which endorses this programme.
  • International conference participation: awardees will be provided with allowances, when possible, to attend one conference during the period of the fellowship.

How to apply

  • Applications must be submitted via the online platform by clicking on the “Apply Now” link at the bottom of this page. Only applications submitted online will be considered.
  • A tutorial on how to apply on the online platform can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.
  • Please be advised: applicants may apply for only one programme per calendar year in the TWAS and OWSD portfolio for consideration by TWAS.

Important recommendations:
Before starting your application on the online platform, please make sure you:

  1. have carefully studied the document "Guidelines for Applicants" and understood the main mechanisms of this programme: namely both the Full-time and Sandwich options, and the TWAS Portfolio of Host Supervisors;
  2. have carefully studied the list of supervisors in the document "TWAS Portfolio of Host Supervisors".

When to apply

  • The deadline for receiving applications is 5 October 2022 (11:59 Central European Summer Time).
  • No applications will be accepted after the deadline: therefore, we strongly recommend that you submit your application as early as possible.

Notification of results

  • Applicants who are selected for this PhD opportunity should expect to be notified of the outcome of their application by March 2023. Applicants who do not hear from TWAS by this date ought to assume that they were unsuccessful. 

POSTPONEMENT: because of the high number of applications, the selected students should expect to be notified by the end of June 2023.


  • Should you have any doubts or problems applying for this programme, please contact climatephd@twas.org

​Applicants are strongly advised to study carefully the document ‘Guidelines for Applicants” in order to understand properly the mechanisms of this programme.
SAVE THE DATE - Opportunity to ask questions related to your application!

TWAS will hold a webinar on 14 September 2022 at 11 am CET to present the programme and its mechanisms.

On that occasion, TWAS will answer any doubts and questions from potential applicants.

You can register for the webinar here https://unesco-org.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Q2I-UqHjQayuan9Ga3Vk2A



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