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Cornell University STAARS Individual Research Proposal Call, USA 2024

Application is now open for the STAARS Individual Research Proposal Call at Cornell University. Interested candidates are encouraged to send their applications in before the deadline date.

About Cornell University and Fellowship

Located in Ithaca, New York, Cornell University is a private, land-grant, Ivy League research institution. Andrew Dickson White and Ezra Cornell founded the institution in 1865. Since its establishment, Cornell has been a coeducational, nonsectarian university without racial or religious admissions restrictions.

Applications are now being accepted by the university for the STAARS fellows cohort of 2024! 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. STAARS Fellows 2024 are early-career researchers who do rigorous, policy-oriented research on the factors that contribute to asset accumulation, risk management, productivity and income growth, and rural employment in Africa’s agricultural and rural areas.


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 in scientific and policy conferences, educate them for professional growth, and create global research networks for them.

The STAARS Fellowship started in 2016 and to date has helped 70 Fellows from various backgrounds. Discover about past Fellows here.

Scope of Research and Geographic Focus

Potential STAARS Fellows are encouraged to create ideas for empirical research on Africa south of the Sahara in the following theme areas:

  • Utilization dynamics of agricultural inputs, technological advancements, and increased output.
  • A rural factor’s performance in the product market and its connections to metropolitan markets, such as financing, labor, and land.
  • Value chains and agri-food systems: their development and performance.
  • Links between nutrition, health, education, and food security.
  • Dynamics of poverty, risk mitigation, and shock resistance.
  • Sustainable management of natural resources.
  • Marginalized groups and gender.

Existing data, such as the Demographic and Health Surveys, the Living Standards Measurement Study – Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA), or comparable high-quality datasets from Africa south of the Sahara, should be used in the rigorous policy analysis conducted by STAARS Fellows. New data collection is not funded by STAARS.

Details about STAARS Individual Research Proposal Call at Cornell University:

Scholarship Sponsor: Cornell University, USA

Scholarship Value: Check Below

Number of awards: N/A

Study level: Fellowship

Host Institution(s): Cornell University, USA


The chosen candidates will be awarded financial aid to cover their expenses for travel and enrollment in a three-week mentoring program at the World Bank or Cornell University (depending on mentorship). The remaining training for professional growth and research coordination will be done remotely.

It is anticipated that fellows will devote a substantial amount of time to the suggested research and capacity-building projects. Each Fellow will receive a small honorarium.

The scholar’s time spent on this study will not be reimbursed by STAARS, and there is no availability of salary assistance. If chosen, a letter of support from the candidate’s present manager, supervisor, or adviser is needed, specifically stating that enough work time would be made available for full program participation. The program is unable to cover the expenses of collecting any fresh data.

Eligibility Criteria for STAARS Individual Research Proposal Call

Early career researchers are eligible to apply, including Ph.D. students in their last year before finishing their degree or, ideally, those who finished their degree no earlier than 2018. Researchers with ideas related to the above-mentioned research subjects, at least one degree from an African university, and plans to work professionally in low- and lower-middle-income countries are given priority. The fellowship especially wants qualified female researchers to apply. New Ph.D. graduates who can use mentoring and further training to become globally renowned and respected scholars are encouraged to apply to STAARS.

By December 13, 2024, fellows should have finished the intended project. By June 30, 2025, they should have submitted the draft working paper to conferences and/or peer-reviewed journals.

It is anticipated that researchers possess an interest in econometric analysis of high-quality data sets, be conversant with and have proven access to existing data sets, and have a solid working understanding of the relevant software, usually Stata and/or R. An advantage is being familiar with georeferenced data and the GIS tools needed to handle it. At the finalist level, candidates’ proficiency with R and/or Stata will be tested.

Application Process for STAARS Individual Research Proposal Call

Interested and eligible fellows should fill out the application form. From 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, December 12, STAARS will host an educational webinar. Kindly sign up here to attend the webinar.

Cornell University oversees the STAARS Fellowship application process in conjunction with PEP and the World Bank. By June 30, 2025, applicants must submit a maximum of 2,500-word research proposal that justifies the chosen research concerns and objectives, lists data sources and suggested methods, and includes a strong plan for project completion.

Projects that want to utilize data that aren’t openly accessible have to show that they already have access to the data. Every proposal needs to be written in English. Professionals from PEP, the World Bank, and/or Cornell will peer-review each proposal. Those who make the shortlist will have to pass a Stata/R assessment to determine their proficiency with statistical software, as well as a brief virtual interview with the STAARS leadership team and possible mentors. Shortlisted candidates will get further information at the time of announcement.

A study proposal must be submitted by January 19, 2024, at 11:59 PM New York time. Proposals should be completed and submitted by applicants via the STAARS online application site. You may find a worksheet here that lists the questions and can be used to gather responses before submitting them online. Those who are accepted will be informed by the middle of March 2024. After being accepted, they should start working remotely with their mentor and be ready to participate in launch activities right away. You can also visit the official website for further details.

The Application Deadline is: January 19, 2024

Not interested in this particular scholarship? See other USA scholarships here.