Ends on March 31, 2018

The Civil Society Scholar Awards (CSSA) support international academic mobility to enable doctoral students and university faculty to access resources that enrich socially-engaged research and critical scholarship in their home country or region.

At the Open Society Foundations we believe in taking on controversial issues and supporting bold, innovative solutions that address root causes and advance systemic change. We also believe in encouraging critical debate and respecting diverse opinions.  Universities play a key role in advancing these aims and are a vital part of civil society.

Civil Society Scholars are selected on the basis of their outstanding contributions to research or other engagement with local communities, to furthering debates on challenging societal questions, and to strengthening critical scholarship and academic networks within their fields.


The Awards are open to the following academic populations:

  • Doctoral students of eligible fields studying at accredited universities inside or outside of their home country;  or
  • Full-time faculty members (must have a minimum of a Master’s degree) teaching at universities in their home country;

Who are citizens of: Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Haiti, Kosovo, Laos, Libya, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Myanmar/Burma, Nepal, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Serbia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, or Yemen.

Applicants with permanent resident status or dual citizenship in Australia, Canada, European Union, New Zealand, Nordic countries, or USA are not eligible to apply

Subject Areas:

Any subject areas within the social sciences and humanities are eligible, but particularly those related to:

law, justice, and governance; sustainable development and natural resource management; economic rights and empowerment of the poor; public health, social work and community development; new media law and policy; inclusive education; post-conflict studies; and human rights. 

The program does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, sex, religion or belief, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, disability, pregnancy and maternity or marriage and/or civil partnership.

Students or faculty currently enrolled in Master’s degree programs are NOT eligible to apply.

Supported Grant Activities:

The Awards support short-term, international academic projects, such as: fieldwork (data collection); research visits to libraries, archives or universities; course/curriculum development; and international research collaborations leading to a peer-reviewed publication. 

  • Project Duration: Between 2 - 12 Months
  • Project Location:  all projects must take place outside of the country of the applicant’s current residence
  • Eligible Dates: September 1, 2018 – August 31, 2019. Please note that projects taking place in the United States can only be funded if they start on or after February 1, 2019.
  • Maximum Funding Requests: $15,000 

Ineligible fields include: Business Administration, Management Training, Computer Science, Finance/Banking, Marketing, Engineering, Hard Sciences (Physics, Biology, Chemistry, etc.), Mathematics, Medical Sciences or Teaching English as a foreign language/language instruction.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to check the visa requirements of the host country (including the minimum level of funding required) before applying to the program.  

Competition for CSSA awards is merit-based.  Selection will be made on the basis of proven academic excellence, a clear and justifiable need for international travel to complete the research project and relevance of the project to the development of open society in the applicant’s home country

Please make sure you consult our detailed Guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions documents before applying

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