Central Asia and Afghanistan Research Fellowship (CAARF), Mountain Societies Research Institute, University of Central Asia, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan


The University of Central Asia (UCA), through its Mountain Societies Research Institute (MSRI), is offering fellowships to strengthen the capacity of researchers from Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and the Kyrgyz Republic to conduct original research that is focused on learning from and informing sustainable development in mountain areas. This includes mountain societies in the Tien Shan, Pamir, and Hindu Kush mountain ranges. The topics of research projects supported by the Fellowship include four interconnected themes related to mountain economies:

· Environmental change and natural resource governance associated with land degradation,

· climate change, biodiversity loss, and natural hazards;

· On-farm livelihoods such as agro-pastoralism and all aspects of food security;

· Off-farm livelihoods such as small and medium-sized enterprise development, mountain tourism, and labor migration;

· The economic, social and environmental impacts of large-scale mountain development relevant to mountain societies. This includes hydroelectric development, mineral extraction, landscape-scale conservation, and other large development initiatives.

The Central Asia and Afghanistan Research Fund (CAARF) provides substantial financial, technical and mentorship support to selected fellows. The fellows will be able to advance their research careers through collaboration with peers and mentors. They will write and publish an academic journal article through a peer-review process. The findings of their studies will be disseminated in a policy-relevant format. Awards of research grants of USD 5,000-20,000 will be made to the selected social and natural science scholars.


1. The Fellowship is open to nationals of Afghanistan and nationals and residents of Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic.

2. Applicants must hold a postgraduate degree. Those with an MA or MSc (completed no longer than 10 years before) may also be considered if they can demonstrate the capacity for independent research and are either in their final stage of a PhD or are organising their PhD research (or aspirantura). A doctorate or a local equivalent (kandidat nauk) is highly desired.

3. Researchers from all disciplinary fields are welcome to apply, but research must be focused on the thematic and geographic areas specified above.

4. Candidates are expected to be proficient in English (preferred) and/or Russian and will be expected to write and publish an academic article of high quality in either of these languages as the main output of their fellowship. Research proposals in Russian will be considered.

5. Such proposals must include an abstract in English. Mountain Societies Research Institute 138 Toktogul Street, 720001 Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, Tel.: +996 (312) 910 822 www.ucentralasia.org

Application procedure

Applications must be made online. The online application form as well as all supporting documents

should be submitted via online application system at http://msrihub.ucentralasia.org/CAARF/application-form

Applicants are required to submit the following documents (only full applications will be considered): 

1. An online application form

2. A current CV (including a complete list of publications)

3. A personal statement detailing the applicant’s ambitions and purposes in pursuing the

4. Fellowship (no more than 500 words).

5. A research proposal detailing an original research proposal with clear relevance for development implementation and/or policy. The proposal should be no longer than 2,500 words and must contain an abstract of maximum 250 words. It should clearly specify sources of data and methods that will be used. If research will be conducted involving interviews or other research methodologies with people, the proposal must contain a brief ethics statement about the appropriateness of the research and how this will or will not affect people’s rights and welfare. Preference will be given to the proposals that indicate how the grant will support their institution in strengthening its ability to do research or other work that is valuable for the region. Applicants are encouraged to demonstrate regional partnership(e.g. cooperation of two research institutions in the region) in their proposals. Interdisciplinary research proposals will be given preference. A bibliography of the most relevant sources informing the project concept must also be included the proposal and should not exceed 5 pages in length (and is not included in the total word count).

6. A one-page budget appendix detailing the expected research activities and the estimate of their costs. Budgets may be from USD 5,000 but no more than USD 20,000. Institutions are encouraged to propose budgets including matching funds. Joint grant applications from individuals from two or more research institutions based in the countries of operation of CAARF are also highly desirable. Budget may include requests for research equipment, travel for research activities, travel and registration for presentation at conferences, participation in workshops, publication fees and the activities that are directly related to conducting and completing research, particularly those that foster regional collaboration. The CAARF grants cannot be used to pay salaries. The budget may be prepared in a local currency with an approximate cost in USD. A timetable for completion of all activities from 1.5 to maximum 2 years after receipt of the grant must also be included.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to visit the UCA MSRI page (http://msri.ucentralasia.org/) and

the MSRI Knowledge Hub (http://msri-hub.ucentralasia.org/) for more information that may help to

frame proposals.


All applications are due on Tuesday, 15th of October, 2013 by 5pm (Bishkek time, UTC+6 hours).