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Applications are now closed.

The Global Development Hub Fellows Fund intends to support high impact, short term placements for PhD students from Least Developed and Lower Middle-Income Countries, to spend time at Imperial College London.

With support of their PhD supervisor, and a host supervisor at Imperial, students from a Least Developed or Lower Middle Income Country (as specified by the DAC List of ODA Recipients 2024-25) will have the opportunity to spend between 2 and 4 months at the College. 

Placements must be completed before 31 July 2024.*

The PhD research project must be ODA compliant. More information on this can be found below. 

The Global Development Hub brings together Imperial’s community to develop, amplify and support research and education impact in Lower Middle Income Countries (LMICs) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

*This deadline is set by the conditions of the ODA funding award by the FCDO.


Programme Information

The new Global Development Hub Fellows Fund supports high impact placements for PhD students residing in Least Developed or Lower Middle Income Countries, in labs at Imperial College London.

With support from both their PhD supervisor and a host supervisor at Imperial, eligible students can apply for funding from the International Relations Office, to support short term placements at the College.

Placements can be 2 to 4 months and must take place before 31 July 2024, in agreement with the host department/institute.

PhD research projects must be ODA compliant.*

The Fund will provide:

  • A monthly stipend of £1,551
  • A one-off £500 payment on arrival in the UK
  • Return economy class travel
  • Payment for the visa application and Biometrics Residence Permit
  • Financial support for travel to the visa application centres

Please note, only individuals are eligible for the funding, dependents will not be supported.

Students are expected to arrange their own accommodation in London for the duration of their stay. Suggestions for potential accommodation options can be found in the student guidance document. 


*For spend to be eligible as Official Development Assistance (ODA) its primary purpose must be to benefit a country (or more than one country) on the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list.

The ‘benefit’ should be something that promotes and specifically targets the economic development and welfare of the DAC country(ies).



Participants must:

  • Be a current doctoral student with a research project considered to be ODA compliant. 
  • Be a passport holder and be a permanent resident of a Least Developed (LDC) or Lower Middle Income Country (LMIC), as specified by the DAC List of ODA Recipients 2024-25. Please note, this does not include Upper Middle Income Countries. 
  • Be currently studying for your PhD at in institution in an LDC or LMIC country.
  • Be over 12 months into their PhD at the time the placement takes place.
  • Have a Letter of Support from an academic host supervisor at Imperial. The supervisor should ensure that the Letter of Support is signed by the Head of Department. 
  • Have a Letter of Recommendation from their own supervisor.

The Letter of Recommendation from the applicant’s supervisor should include recognition that the student possess a sufficient level of English to effectively undertake the placement. This is required by the College’s Admissions department to waive the IELTS exam. 

While formal proof of English language proficiency is not required, we expect students to possess a proficient level of English that enables them to fully engage and undertake the placement effectively. This is at the discretion of the Imperial supervisor. 

You are not eligible for a Global Development Hub Fellows Fund if you:

  • Hold dual British citizenship
  • Are a permanent resident of a country that is not considered a Least Developed or Lower Middle Income Country
  • Are currently studying for your PhD in a country that is not considered to be an LDC or LMIC. 

If you have any queries relating to eligibility, please get in contact.

How to Apply

Applications are now open and can be completed here.

The deadline to apply is 31 January 2024.

If funding remains, there will be a second deadline in February, but we encourage applicants to apply as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

To complete the application, applicants will need to provide:

  1. Details on background to show how they meet the eligibility criteria (included in application form).
  2. A letter of recommendation from the home institution, preferably from the PhD supervisor or advisor, addressing the applicants’ skills and suitability for the placement. This letter should also include confirmation that the applicant possesses a sufficient level of English, to carry out the placement.
  3. A letter of support from the hosting supervisor at Imperial in the proposed host department/institute detailing training and support that will be provided. This must be signed by the Head of Department.
  4. Answer the following questions (in the application form):
  • Please provide a ‘layperson’ summary of your PhD work (200 words):
  • What will you do during your research placement and how will it add value to your PhD? (500 words):
  • Please explain how you will take advantage of this opportunity at Imperial to enhance your personal and professional skills, competencies and networks (250 words):

The Letter of Support and Letter of Recommendation should be emailed, once the application form has been completed, to international.relations@imperial.ac.uk 

Finding a host supervisor

Potential applicants should browse the College’s webpages to review the potential host department/institutes, based on what best aligns with their PhD research focus. Applicants should then contact academics directly to explore the possibility of a placement.

A letter template that applicants can use to contact potential supervisors can be found here: Template Letter for Potential Supervisors - Global Development Hub Fellows Fund

We encourage preexisting links between collaborators at international institutions and Imperial to explore the possibility of a student placement.

A list of all Departments and Institutes, and links to their webpages, can be found here


Review Process

Applications will be reviewed by the Global Development Hub Fellows Fund Committee, with relevant faculty representatives.

Applications will be reviewed in Mid-February and outcomes will be shared as soon as available.

Applicants will be informed via email and provided with further details on receiving the grant and arranging the placement.

Consideration will made to ensure fair geographical representation of awarded students.

Additional Information

Some students will need to apply for an ATAS certificate depending on their research area. They are encouraged to do this at the same time as completing the application form, as the wait times for approval can be extensive, and they cannot commence the placement until they have obtained it. . Further information on the ATAS requirements for the College are available here. Students are also encouraged to seek clarification from the Imperial host supervisor. Departmental Operations Managers or Faculty Admissions Managers should also be able to advise on whether a student requires one.