Irish Aid Fellowships

Irish Aid is the Irish Government’s programme for overseas development, managed by the Development Co-operation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. We provide a broad programme of support to capacity building in developing countries

As part of this overall mission, Irish Aid Fellowships aim to address capacity deficits that hinder the attainment of long-term development goals through the training and development of key individuals, generally drawn from the public services and NGO sectors.

Operating for over 40 years, Irish Aid Fellowships have supported more than 2,000 successful awardees who have returned to their organisations on completing their studies, committed to putting their acquired knowledge and skills into practice for the benefit of the wider community. Some of their stories can be found in the case study profiles throughout this site.

Irish Aid concentrates long term development assistance in eight Key Partner Countries – mainly in sub-Saharan Africa – and a small number of other countries affected by conflict. Fellowships are targeted to specific countries in the same way. Potential applicants should carefully note all eligibility requirements. These may include being employed by an Irish Aid partner organisation. Applicants who do not meet eligibility criteria will not be considered.


Eligible Countries

The countries eligible for Irish Aid Fellowships are Burundi, Cambodia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Laos, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nigeria, Palestine, Rwanda, Somalia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Details of the different fellowship strands and eligibility critera are set out in the For Applicants section.


Management and Administration

Policy and strategic decisions regarding Irish Aid Fellowships are determined by Irish Aid headquarters in Limerick, Ireland.

Day-to-day management arrangements for each of the different fellowship strands will involve some or all of the following:

Irish embassies – handling initial applications and short-listing, IELTS (English language) testing and financial administration for regional fellows.

Irish Council for International Students (ICOS) – handling applications short-listed by embassies on behalf of Irish Aid and providing a range of support services for fellowship holders. » Read more.

Colleges – undertaking certain fellowship management functions on behalf of Irish Aid (e.g. organising accommodation) in cases where the fellowship strand is operated in partnership with a specific college.

Fellowship Calendar

The schedule below is a guide to the fellowship award cycle for the Irish Aid Fellowship Training Programme. For other fellowship strands, the timing and sequencing of stages may differ prior to April, after which all follow a common pattern.

End of September – Application Forms / Course Directectory available

Application forms and a reference directory of eligible courses are made available through Irish Embassies in programme countries by the end of September of each year. The form requires applicants to nominate their course choices, but not to apply for courses at this stage.

End of November – Closing date for Fellowship applications

Fellowship applications are required by 30th November for courses to begin the following academic year.

December / January – English language (IELTS) testing

Arrangements to be organised by nearest Embassy of Ireland.

April – Invitation to shortlisted candidates to apply for courses

All candidates under consideration for fellowship awards will be notified that they should commence course applications.

June / July – Notification to successful Fellowship applicants

If applicants have secured a place on their chosen course and are approved for funding through the Irish Aid Fellowship Programme they will receive a letter of notification and information pack asking that they confirm acceptance. These letters are normally sent in July.

Late August / September – Arrival of Fellowship awardees for study in Ireland

Following acceptance, ICOS will liaise with an incoming student over all practical arrangements, such as flights and accommodation, to enable them to take up their place. Introductory events and support are organised by ICOS for new study fellows in September.

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