Scholar Rescue Fund

Applicants may apply directly or may have a third party submit application materials on their behalf. The required application materials include:

  1. Application coversheet
  2. Current CV or resume. Please include the following information :
    • Academic degrees (degree-granting institution, field, and date of degree award);
    • Current position (location, dates of employment, professional title, and responsibilities);
    • Previous academic positions (in chronological order, including location, dates of employment, professional title, and responsibilities);
    • A detailed list of your academic publications (journal articles, books, chapters, exhibitions) including full citations with the name of publication, title of work, date of publication, and page numbers, if possible;
    • Other relevant academic work (including supervision of master’s and Ph.D. theses, conference presentations, grants / honors / awards, professional affiliations).
  3. Academic statement. Please provide a thorough statement detailing your academic and professional background and experience, including a thorough description of your academic research interests. Please be sure to include a description of the activities that you have undertaken in your academic positions as well as an explanation of the activities (research, teaching, publishing, etc.) you would undertake during a fellowship. Please note that academic statements are generally a minimum of one page.
  4. Personal statement. Please provide a thorough statement explaining why you are applying to IIE-SRF for support. Include a clear and detailed account of the threats or risks that you have been facing, and the reasons that you cannot continue your work in your home country at this time. Please note that personal statements are generally a minimum of one page.
  5. Two (2) academic / professional letters of reference from academic and/or professional colleagues who can speak to your research, publications, teaching, or other advanced academic experience. When appropriate, letters should describe your unique expertise and/or contributions to specific intellectual issues / questions.
  6. Two (2) personal letters of reference from colleagues or persons who are aware of the difficulties that you have been facing as well as your professional background.
    [IIE-SRF requires a minimum of three (3) reference letters. (Four are generally recommended.) Letters from colleagues both inside and outside of your home country are preferred. Please note that IIE-SRF requires original reference letters. Letters should not use identical text. Each referee should speak to his/her particular knowledge of your academic background and/or circumstances. When possible, please have your referees compose their letters on official letterhead and send them to IIE-SRF directly at]
  7. A copy of your Ph.D. or higher degree
  8. Samples of your most current writing or research publications.
  9. A letter from an accredited institution of higher learning that may be able to host your fellowship. This is not a requirement.

To request an initial assessment of his /her eligibility, an applicant may first submit the application coversheet, a current CV, academic statement, and personal statement for review.

Please note that all application materials submitted to IIE-SRF must be original and unique to an applicant’s particular academic background and circumstances. IIE-SRF will not accept academic or personal statements that share identical language with the statements of other applicants to IIE-SRF. Any language or background information borrowed from the internet or other outside source must be cited to credit the original author/source.

Applicants interested in the Baden-Württemberg Fund for Persecuted Scholars should indicate their interest in their application materials.  In the application review process, IIE-SRF will assess each applicant’s eligibility for the Baden-Württemberg Fund for Persecuted Scholars and will engage each eligible candidate on a case-by-case basis to determine (a) the applicant’s interest in the program and (b) the likelihood of a nomination to the Baden-Württemberg Fund Selection Committee.

Please submit all application materials via email (preferred), fax, or post.

Letters may be addressed to:

Scholar Rescue Fund
Institute of International Education
809 United Nations Plaza
New York, New York 10017-3580

Tel:  (USA) +1-212-205-6486
Fax: (USA) +1-212-205-6425



Applications are accepted at any time throughout the year, and qualified applications will be reviewed by the IIE-SRF Selection Committee on a quarterly basis.

Because of high demand for IIE-SRF assistance, the program is not able to grant fellowship support to all applicants who meet the minimum eligibility requirements.

Application Review

During the application process, IIE-SRF conducts a thorough review of the scholar’s application materials and may contact the applicant’s referees as well as other sources, such as independent experts on the country of origin or the particulars of the reported threat. Please note that the IIE-SRF application process may include requests for additional information regarding both the scholar’s academic background and personal situation.

Applications to IIE-SRF are considered highly confidential are not shared beyond the IIE-SRF program without the explicit permission of the applicant. All applicants considered for fellowship support are screened against a database containing the names of individuals, groups, and entities that are on major global sanctions, money laundering, and law enforcement watch lists.

Please visit our Frequent Questions page for additional information.

Frequent Questions


Can scholars from any country apply?

Yes, a scholar from any country may apply.

Can scholars from any academic field/discipline apply?

Yes, scholars from any academic field/discipline may apply.

What types of threat qualify?

Any persecution or violence due to a scholar’s scholarship, identity, or beliefs would qualify. This may include intimidation, harassment, repression, censorship, unjust punishment or violence arising out of a scholar’s work, and/or exercise of his/her fundamental human rights. IIE-SRF may also make a limited number of awards to scholars facing general insecurity, instability, or civil conflict that affects the whole population of a country or region.

What type of academic training or experience is required?

Professors, established researchers, and public intellectuals may qualify. Preference is given to scholars with a Ph.D. or highest degree in their field, who have been employed in scholarly activities at an accredited institution of higher learning, and whose selection is likely to benefit the scholarly community in the home and/or host country or region.

Do students qualify?

No, IIE-SRF does not award fellowships to students seeking financial support to continue their studies, including Ph.D. study.

Does IIE-SRF support graduate or post-graduate study?

IIE-SRF does not award fellowships for degree-granting programs or to scholars whose primary purpose is to continue their graduate or post-graduate training.

Must a scholar have a publication record?

The quality and extent of an applicant’s publications are important factors in the review of his/her application.

Is English proficiency required?

No, applicants are not required to speak English. However, a scholar’s language abilities will influence the possibilities for fellowship placement, as preference is given to applicants with advanced ability in the language of the host country/institution. English language training may be available to scholars prior to or during the fellowship year, if needed.

Is a scholar’s legal or immigration status a qualifying factor?

No, a scholar may be considered for a fellowship regardless of his/her legal or immigration status; however, if a scholar holds legal status in a safe country outside his/her home country, this may influence the assessment of the severity of the scholar’s threat. During the fellowship period, a scholar will need to obtain the appropriate legal or immigration status to work in his/her host country.

Can a scholar apply from any location?

Yes, applicants may apply from any location. Priority is given to applicants who face immediate security threats.

Can a scholar without valid travel documents apply?

Yes, applicants who lack valid travel documents may still apply for the IIE-SRF fellowship. However, IIE-SRF is unable to assist these individuals in leaving their home countries. In some cases, the program may work with selected scholars to secure a fellowship host that is willing to wait until they are able to leave their home countries.

Does IIE-SRF take into consideration the length of time that an applicant has been out of his/her home country?

Given the limits on available resources for fellowships, priority is given to candidates who have been displaced or in exile for less than two years.


Vetting & Selection

What is the scholar vetting process?

During the application process, IIE-SRF conducts a thorough review of the scholar’s application materials and may contact references and other sources, such as independent experts on the country of origin or the particulars of the reported threat. All applicants considered for fellowship support are screened against a database containing the names of individuals, groups, and entities that are on major global sanctions, money laundering, and law enforcement watch lists.

What is the selection process?

After the initial vetting process is complete, select applicants are presented for consideration by the IIE-SRF Selection Committee, which makes the final decisions on fellowship awards. The Committee meets at least four times per year and may convene on an emergency basis, as needed.


The Fellowship Award & Visiting Appointment

What makes up the IIE-SRF fellowship?

The IIE-SRF fellowship provides financial support, professional development assistance, and resources to help fellows transition (often with their families) to their host institution environments. IIE-SRF works with fellows to identify suitable host institutions in safe locations, emphasizing, when possible, that they join institutions in their home regions either in the immediate or long-term. After a suitable host institution is secured, IIE-SRF assists with the scholar’s relocation to the host country, including assisting with visa issues, travel, and arrival. Additional support services provided, often in coordination with the host campus and/or volunteer agencies may include: emergency funds; health insurance; free English language courses; funding for conference and lecture attendance; academic mentoring; and resource guides. To the extent possible, IIE-SRF also works with fellows to help them continue their academic pursuits after the fellowship period.

What is the financial award of the IIE-SRF fellowship?

The IIE-SRF fellowship award includes a grant of up to US$25,000, along with individual health insurance, to support a visiting academic appointment of up to one year (renewable for a second year). The final fellowship amount is dependent upon several factors, including the location of the host institution, the cost of living, and the value of any additional contributions from the host institution of other source(s).

IIE-SRF typically requires that the hosting institution provide financial support that is equal to or greater than the IIE-SRF fellowship award. This support generally takes the form of a stipend or other direct funding for the visiting fellow such as housing, airfare, and meal programs. In-kind contributions – office space, computers, language, or other training fees, etc. – are encouraged for a complete fellow support package but do not qualify as part of the matching contribution. In host countries where the cost of living is lower and the funding requirement is prohibitive, IIE-SRF may consider on a case-by-case basis a waiver of the full host funding requirement.

Who can host a fellow?

An institution of higher learning and research, such as a university, college, research center, think tank, or museum that can join in partnership with IIE-SRF to support a visiting fellow’s academic work. IIE-SRF ultimately must approve all hosts.

How are host partners identified?

Host partners may be identified by IIE-SRF, or the IIE-SRF fellow before or after a fellowship is approved, or by the institutions themselves when they refer a scholar or communicate their interest in becoming an IIE-SRF host partner. There are no geographic limitations to where an IIE-SRF fellow may undertake a fellowship so long as the fellow can safely resume his/her academic work. The host is determined based on the preferences of the fellow and host, language of instruction, field of study, and geographic region. The location of any host partner impacts the likelihood of the fellow (i) making a significant academic contribution, (ii) returning to the home country or region, and (iii) continuing as a productive scholar post-fellowship, either by staying on at the institution or securing another academic position.

What are the responsibilities of the host partner?

  • To arrange a visiting appointment by identifying a departmental host, contact persons/mentors, start and end dates of the visit, compensation and benefits, housing and transportation information, and other services or facilities;
  • facilitate or arrange for the appropriate visa status, if required;
  • receive the fellow’s IIE-SRF fellowship funds and provide matching funds for the fellow’s visiting appointment;
  • disburse in full during the fellowship term the combined IIE-SRF and host support, waiving any administrative or overhead fees;
  • provide IIE-SRF and the fellow with a timetable of scheduled payments;
  • and assume all responsibilities associated with tax requirements relative to all aspects of the fellowship.

What is considered matching support from the host institution?

The IIE-SRF fellowship award of up to US$25,000 is typically matched with financial support equal to or greater than the IIE-SRF fellowship award. This support generally takes the form of a stipend or other direct funding for the visiting scholar such as housing, airfare, and meal programs. In-kind contributions – office space, computers, language, or other training fees, etc. – are encouraged for a complete scholar support package but to not qualify as part of the matching contribution. Institutions lacking the financial resources to offer the required matching contribution may seek a waiver of this requirement, which is considered on a case-by-case basis.

How long is the fellowship term?

The IIE-SRF fellowship term typically ranges from 9 to 12 months. The fellowship term is ultimately determined by the needs of hosts and fellows. Fellows are eligible to apply for a renewal of the fellowship for up to one additional year of financial support.

How are the fellowship funds issued?

Fellowship funds are generally sent to the host partner for disbursement to the fellow as part of a regular salary payment or stipend. In rare cases, when funds may not be disbursed through a host institution, IIE-SRF may work with the host and the fellow to arrange an alternative method for issuing the fellowship funds.

What is a typical fellowship payment schedule?

IIE-SRF suggests that the host partner disburse the fellowship funds in a way that works best for the fellow and the institution, typically evenly disbursed over the course of the fellowship. If possible, providing a larger percentage in the first payment can help to defray relocation costs, which often include a deposit/advance rent for an apartment, purchasing furniture, and other costs.

What is the purpose of the matching support requirement?

Matching support encourages a commitment from the host partner and extends IIE-SRF’s resources to provide assistance to more fellows. The combined support from the host and IIE-SRF should cover living expenses for a modest yet comfortable arrangement.

Does IIE-SRF have any suggestions for raising the matching support?

Matching funds are often allocated by an academic or a combination of departmental and/or institutional support from a university’s provost’s and/or president’s offices. On occasion, outside and local community sources are also approached for additional support.

What institutions have hosted IIE-SRF fellows?

For a list of IIE-SRF partners to date, visit the host partners page.


At the Host Institution:

What is expected of the IIE-SRF fellow at the host institution?

The fellow’s academic activities during the fellowship depend on the needs of the host partner and the fellow. Many IIE-SRF fellows teach courses; conduct research; participate in lectures, conferences, and seminars; and otherwise contribute to the broader campus and nearby communities.

Who pays travel and airfare expenses to bring the fellow to the host institution?

Costs related to travel to the host campus usually come out of the fellow’s fellowship award or his/her personal funds. The fellow may arrange for his or her own travel or work with IIE’s contracted travel agent.

Who pays the SEVIS fee that is a prerequisite for the J-1 visa application? (Applicable only to U.S. institutions; visa fees in other locations would be treated similarly.)

In most cases, the host absorbs the cost. If this is not possible, the fee is paid from the fellow’s IIE-SRF fellowship award.

Can a fellow bring his/her family?

Each fellow’s individual circumstances determine whether his/her family will join the fellow during the fellowship. In IIE-SRF’s experience, most fellows are accompanied by their families.

Does a fellow travel during the fellowship appointment?

Many fellows seek opportunities to travel for academic conferences or to visit friends and colleagues.  When possible, academic departments or on-campus groups have generously provided conference travel stipends as additional support for fellows.

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