Structural Transformation of African Agriculture and Rural Spaces (STAARS) fellowship Program 2024

Deadline: 19th of January, 2024 at 11:59PM Eastern.

The annual call for research proposals for the Structural Transformation of African Agriculture and Rural Spaces (STAARS) fellowship program is released by Cornell University, a multi-institution partnership overseen by the Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP), the World Bank’s Development Research Group, and other partners. The rigorous, policy-oriented research on the causal factors of productivity and income growth, asset accumulation, rural employment, and risk management in African agriculture and rural environments is advanced by early-career African academics who are selected as STAARS Fellows in 2024.

The fellowship pays for training and travel costs. STAARS Fellows will collaborate to co-author a paper on a mutually interesting issue related to structural transformation in Africa south of the Sahara with professors, senior research staff, or affiliated researcher mentors from Cornell University, the World Bank, or PEP. The program’s goal is to get the study findings published as working papers and in prestigious, peer-reviewed publications. The World Bank, PEP, and Cornell will also help Fellows join scientific and policy conferences, educate them for professional growth, and create global research networks for them.


  • The selected applicants will receive funds to cover travel and participation in a three-week mentorship program at Cornell University or the World Bank (based on mentorship).
  • The remainder of the research coordination and professional development training will be conducted virtually.
  • Fellows are expected to commit significant time to the proposed research and capacity development activities.
  • A modest honorarium will be provided to each fellow. No salary support is available; STAARS will not cover the scholar’s time allocated to this research


  • The call is open for early-career African researchers, either Ph.D. students in their final year prior to degree completion or preferably those who completed their Ph.D. no earlier than 2018. Priority is given to researchers who are African nationals based and working in or soon returning to Africa, with proposals relating to the research themes indicated above.
  • Qualified female researchers are particularly encouraged to apply. STAARS welcomes applications from fresh Ph.D. graduates who can benefit from mentorship and additional training to become internationally respected and recognized researchers.
  • Fellows are expected to complete the proposed project by submitting findings as a draft working paper by December 13, 2024, and proceeding to submit the paper to a peer-reviewed journal and/or conferences by June 30, 2025.

Researchers are expected to be familiar with and have demonstrated access to existing data sets, have a strong working knowledge of appropriate software, typically Stata and/or R, and have an interest in econometric analysis of high-quality data sets. Knowledge of geo-referenced data and GIS software to manage them is an asset.Knowledge of Stata and/or R will be assessed at the finalist stage.

Click here to apply

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