APPLY NOW! 2017 Engineering For Development (E4D) Doctoral Scholarship Programme

The Engineering for Development (E4D) doctoral scholarship programme promotes the development of products or methods which are directly relevant for improving the livelihoods of poor people in developing or transition countries. It awards two doctoral fellowships per year and promotes projects which are directly relevant for improving the livelihoods of poor people in developing countries. The grant sum is 175’000 CHF to cover the salary costs of the doctoral student for three years.

The programme is funded through the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development since 2008.

Eligible are candidates with the support of an ETH professor. Please find the application procedure and eligibility criteria below:


To be admitted to the selection process, the application has to fulfil the following requirements:

The candidate

  • – The entrance requirements for doctoral studies at the ETH Zurich and at the particular department must be fulfilled.
  • – Experience in the selected research area is required.
  • – Preference will be given to citizens of least developed countries and other low-income countries according to the OECD classification.

The supervisor

  • – The supervisor confirms his/her commitment to the project by a letter of support, indicating his/her contribution to the project in cash or kind.
  • – If the concept note is selected for elaboration into a full proposal, the supervisor invites the candidate for a lab visit and an interview with the selection committee at the expense of his/her chair. This does not apply to candidates who know the supervisor already.

The research project

  • – The proposal is a new doctoral project, not complementary funding to on-going research. – The proposal is of high scientific quality.
  • – The research topic is innovative and relevant for development.
  • – The ecological, socio-economic and cultural context is taken into account.
  • – The research project is realistic and reasonable results can be expected.
  • – The expected impact of the research is high for the intended target group.

The partnership

  • – Projects involving a research partner from a developing country have to be based on the KFPE principles.
  • – All partners are involved in project formulation and development.
  • – All partners make a substantial in-kind or cash commitment.
  • – The project is integrated in the general activities of the involved institutions.
  • – Preference will be given to projects with partners in least developed countries and other lowincome countries according to the OECD classification.

Application procedure

The application procedure consists of the two following steps:

First step

The candidate submits a concept note (details see below) to ETH Global (Patricia Heuberger, The deadline for submitting concept notes is 31 March. Only concept notes fulfilling all indicated requirements will be taken into consideration and evaluated by the selection committee with regard to their suitability for the E4D Scholarship.

Second step

Candidates whose concept note is accepted by the selection committee elaborate a full proposal together with the professor who agreed to supervise the project. If the candidate and the professor do not know each other, they must set up a meeting to discuss the full proposal elaboration. This meeting is either a face-to-face meeting or a skype meeting. The proposal is submitted to ETH Global by the supervising ETH professor. The deadline is 31 August.

Concept note

  • – Subject of the proposed research is the development of methods, technologies, tools or products which are directly relevant for poor people in developing countries.
  • – The research topic is within the thematic scope of ETH Zurich.
  • – The candidate identifies a professor of ETH Zurich who agrees to give him or her support in elaborating the full proposal, if the concept note should be selected, and to supervise the candidate, if the full proposal is selected for funding.
  • The CV of the candidate, including transcripts with grades and three references should be provided.
  • – The outline of the research project must not exceed 3000 characters (including spaces).
  • – Relevant own publications or relevant earlier activities of the candidate should be indicated.

Full proposal

Per proposal a scholarship of CHF 175’000 can be granted for a period of three years (salary of doctoral student plus limited operational costs). The application in electronic form is submitted by the professor of ETH Zurich who has accepted to supervise the candidate.

The proposal of maximum 15 pages has to include the following elements:

  • – Cover page including executive summary
  • – Clearly defined and justified objectives
  • – Problem definition, state of research (own and others) and references (to be included into appendix)
  • – Project description, hypotheses, novelty of the research, research approach and methodology (including logical framework matrix).
  • – Description of the institutional framework and partnership, explaining the contribution of all involved partners
  • – Supervision and backstopping
  • – Work plan with milestones
  • – Critical assessment of chances and risks
  • – Expected results and strategy for their implementation (method or product to be developed and its relevance to end users)
  • – Detailed budget for each year of the scholarship, differentiating all funding sources including those of the ETH chair and partner contributions (financial or in-kind).


  • – Letters of support from all involved partner institutions
  • – Motivation letter with career intentions of the candidate
  • – CV of the candidate with references and latest qualifying certificate
  • – List of 5 independent reviewers
  • – Personal references
  • – Transcripts

Selection procedure and reporting

  • – The proposals will first be reviewed by independent scientists of the relevant field and then evaluated by the selection committee in December.
  • – The accepted candidates and their supervisors will be informed about the contractual requirements and reporting procedures.

Supervision and monitoring

  • – The terms and conditions between ETH Global and the supervising chair will be documented in a project agreement.
  • – After arrival of the candidate ETH Global will meet him/her and the supervisor for a briefing.
  • – During this meeting the supervisor informs ETH Global about the plan for the first year.
  • – The supervisor and the candidate sign a document of their mutual understanding that the scholarship may be terminated within the first year, if there is clear evidence that the expectations of the doctorate will not be met.
  • – The doctoral research plan, which will be submitted to the doctoral administration, has to be submitted to ETH Global as well.
  • – ETH Global offers regular meetings with E4D candidates.

Application Form (DOCX, 41 KB)

Send your concept note to

Deadline for Concept Notes is 31 March 2017

To Top
%d bloggers like this: