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All Commonwealth Professional Fellowships in the 2021/22 round are in the thematic area of Girls’ Education.

Commonwealth Professional Fellowships are for mid-career professionals from low- and middle-income countries to spend a period of time at a UK Host organisation working in their sector for a programme of professional development.

Purpose: To provide professionals with the opportunity to enhance knowledge and skills in their given sector, and to have catalytic effects on their workplaces.

Intended beneficiaries: Mid-career professionals (with five years’ relevant work experience) working in development-related organisations in low and middle- income Commonwealth countries.


How to apply

Please note that all Commonwealth Professional Fellowships in the 2021/22 round are in the thematic area of Girls’ Education. All applicants must be professionals working on related issues.

Applications must be made using the CSC’s online application system. For further information please see the Completing application form tab. Applications will close at 16:00 BST on Monday 9 August 2021. The deadline for submitting references is 16:00 BST on Monday 30 August 2021.

All fellowships in this round will be tenable for three months from 15 January 2022.

Fellow eligibility

To be eligible for these fellowships, prospective Fellows must:

  • Be a citizen of or have been granted refugee status by an eligible Commonwealth country, or be a British Protected
  • Be permanently resident in an eligible Commonwealth country
  • Have at least five years’ full-time, or equivalent part-time, relevant work experience, in a profession related to the subject of the Fellowships programme, by the proposed start of the fellowship – voluntary work experience will not be counted towards this minimum
  • Be in employment at the time of application that they will return to upon completion of the fellowship
  • Provide at least two references, one of which must be from their current employer. Any applications for which references are not received by the reference closing date will be considered ineligible.
  • Not have undertaken a Commonwealth Professional Fellowship within the last five years (at the time of taking up the award)
  • Not be seeking to undertake an academic programme of research or study in the Academics are eligible to apply for the scheme, but only to undertake programmes of academic management, not research or courses relevant to their research subject
  • Be available to start their fellowship within prescribed dates

The CSC aims to identify talented individuals who have the potential to make change. We are committed to a policy of equal opportunity and non-discrimination and encourage applications from a diverse range of candidates. For further information on the support available to fellows with a disability, see the CSC disability support statement.

Completing Fellow application form

Applications must be made using the CSC’s online application system.

In the application form, prospective fellows will be asked to:

  • List all undergraduate and postgraduate university qualifications obtained (if applicable)
  • List up to 10 publications and prizes (if applicable)
  • Provide details of your employment history and explain how each job is relevant to the programme you wish to undertake in the UK (up to 100 words per employment)
  • Provide a statement on the relevance of your previous work experience to the proposed fellowship (up to 300 words)
  • List names and positions of three referees who are qualified to comment on both your capacity to benefit from your proposed Fellowship in the UK and your ability to deliver development impact afterwards. One of your referees must be your current employer.
  • Provide a Development Impact statement in 4 parts. In the first part you should explain how your proposed Fellowship relates to:
  1. a) getting 40 million more girls in primary and secondary school by 2025 and improving learning levels, so girls can achieve their full potential
  2. b) development issues at the global, national and local level
  3. c) development issues connected to the theme of girl’s education and the wider sector

(up to 200 words)

  • In the second part you should explain how you intend to apply your new skills once your Fellowship ends (up to 100 words).
  • In the third part you should outline what you expect will change in development terms following your Fellowship, including:
    a) the outcomes that you aim to achieve
    b) the timeframe for their implementation
    c) who the beneficiaries will be

(up to 250 words)

  • In the fourth part you should write about how the impact of your work could be best measured (up to 100 words).
  • Confirm what your award objectives are and how each of them will be met by the Fellowship programme
  • Confirm what your objectives are for the next two years and how each of them will be met by the Fellowship programme
  • Confirm what your objectives are in the longer term and how each of them will be met by the Fellowship programme
  • Provide a personal statement to summarise the ways in which your personal background has encouraged you to want to make an impact in your home country. You should indicate areas in which you have already contributed, such as having overcome any personal or community barriers to your chosen career (up to 500 words).
  • Summarise the ways in which you have engaged in voluntary activities and the opportunities you have had to demonstrate leadership (up to 500 words).
  • Provide a scan of your passport or national identity card

Eligible countries

Antigua and Barbuda
The Gambia
Papua New Guinea Rwanda
St Helena
St Lucia
St Vincent and The Grenadines
Sierra Leone
Solomon Islands
South Africa
Sri Lanka



Each fellowship provides:

  • Approved return airfare from the Fellow’s home country to the UK
  • Stipend (living allowance) payable monthly (or pro rata) for the duration of the award at the rate of £1,704 per month, or £2,115 per month for those at organisations in the London metropolitan area (at 2020/21 rate)
  • If a Fellow declares a disability, a full assessment of needs and eligibility for additional financial support will be offered by the CSC. See the CSC disability support statement for more information
  • Arrival allowance of up to £22 (at 2020/21 rate), including an element for warm clothing
  • For the Girls’ Education programme a £1,000 travel allowance to facilitate attendance at events
  • Reimbursement of the standard visa application fee
  • Flat rate contribution of £800 to the costs of the Host organisation relating to the administration and support of the Fellow, setting up of appropriate meetings, any materials required, and incidental travel for the Fellow during the award (to be paid to the Host organisation on receipt of an invoice).
  • Fees can be agreed for costs associated with Fellows attending short courses/conferences as well as travel to visit other UK organisations where this forms an integral part of the Up to a maximum of £3,000 can be agreed for awards of three months (to be paid to the Host organisation on receipt of an invoice)

Full justification must be given for the amount being claimed.

Host organisations should bear in mind the restrictions set out in our guidance on claimable costs.


General conditions

  • A Commonwealth Professional Fellowship covers a contribution to the Host organisation costs, approved fares, and personal maintenance. Other Fellowships, awards, or bursaries that cover the same costs may not be held concurrently.
  • In order for the CSC to administer a Fellow’s application effectively and efficiently after they have submitted, it will be necessary to create a record in their name. The details of Fellows who are nominated to the CSC will be kept on file. Basic anonymised demographic data for all applicants will be kept for analytical research. The CSC is committed to protecting personal information and to being transparent about the information we are collecting about individuals and what we do with it. To find out more, see our privacy notice.
  • Fellows must submit a Health and Disability Form before a Confirmation of Award can be issued
  • Fellows will be required to  sign  an undertaking to return to their home country within five days of the end of their  award
  • Fellows are expected to start and complete their award on the dates stated in their Notification of Award. The CSC is usually not able to agree any changes to these dates after the Notification of Award has been issued
  • Fellows require a Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange visa (T5) visa to come to the UK for their award and must meet all relevant immigration regulations set by UK Visas and Immigration. These regulations are subject to change at any time. See immigration conditions for more information.
  • Fellows must reside in the UK throughout their award, and seek approval from the CSC in advance for any overseas travel, which will be granted in exceptional circumstances only
  • Fellows must not undertake paid employment during their award
  • The CSC cannot provide a letter of support for any Fellow to remain in the UK after their award
  • An award may be terminated at any time for reasons of unsatisfactory conduct, progress, attendance, or violation of visa conditions, or if the Host organisation decides it is unable to proceed with the fellowship for any reason before or during the award
  • Applicants and selected Fellows must adhere to the CSC’s Code of Conduct for award holders and Disciplinary Policy and Procedure which states:

As a Commonwealth Scholar or Fellow, you are an ambassador for both the CSC and your home country, and your actions and remarks will have an impact on the reputation of both. You are therefore expected to adhere to high standards of conduct and behaviour and to show respect to others and your surroundings at all times.

The CSC aims to enable a free exchange of ideas during all its activities in order to achieve the maximum potential impact for all participants. Recognising the diversity of backgrounds among our award holders – in terms of race, religion, gender, sexuality and cultural values – you are reminded to always be respectful to others.

The CSC is committed to proactively safeguarding and promoting the welfare of Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows, and to protecting all those with whom the CSC comes into contact. The CSC requires Commissioners, Secretariat staff, and Scholars and Fellows to fulfil their role and responsibilities in a manner consistent with requirements for safeguarding.

See the CSC safeguarding policy for more information.

Any complaints received will be taken very seriously and any behaviour that does not adhere to the above values and expectations will be addressed by the CSC.

  • In line with the UK Bribery Act 2010, any applicant convicted of bribery will be banned from reapplying for a Commonwealth Scholarship or Fellowship for a period of up to five
  • The CSC is committed to administering and managing its scholarships and fellowships in a fair and transparent For more information, see the CSC anti-fraud policy and procedure and the FCDO guidance on reporting fraud.
  • All terms and conditions of award are subject to UK local law and practices and are subject to change by the

For more information, see the Handbook for Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows. Please note that the conditions outlined in the Handbook at subject to change.


Immigration conditions

Commonwealth Professional Fellows require a Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange (T5) visa to come to the UK for their award, and must meet all relevant immigration requirements. All UK immigration regulations are set by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and are subject to change at any time. The CSC has no control over these regulations.

The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), which provides the CSC Secretariat, acts as the Tier 5 sponsor on behalf of the CSC.

In accordance with immigration regulations, sponsorship duties relating to record keeping, monitoring, and reporting of Fellows must be completed. While the ACU (on behalf of the CSC Secretariat) is responsible for assigning Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) and submitting reports to UK Visas and Immigration, Host organisations are required to assist in these activities as per the Host organisations’ obligations below. Failure on the part of the Host organisation to provide the ACU with the required documentation and to report relevant details may result in the loss of the ACU’s Tier 5 licence and ability to sponsor Fellows’ visas. Host organisations will be sent a document setting out their and the ACU’s responsibilities in this regard, which must be signed and returned.

Fellows’ obligations

Commonwealth Professional Fellows must provide the following documents before the ACU (acting on behalf of the CSC Secretariat) will assign a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS):

  • Visa information form
  • Award acceptance form (signed)
  • Copy of passport personal details page

The CSC Secretariat will send the details of the assigned CoS to the Fellow by email, to enable them to make their visa application, and will keep a copy on file.

After a CoS has been assigned, Fellows must provide copies of the following documents to the CSC Secretariat:

  • UK visa, before they travel to the UK
  • Passport entry stamp and/or a used boarding pass and checked baggage receipt, at the end of their fellowship and every time they travel outside the UK during their fellowship

Host organisations’ obligations

Host organisations must provide the following documents before the ACU (acting on behalf of the CSC Secretariat) will assign a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to the Fellows:

  • Signed Memorandum of Understanding
  • Signed host agreement form
  • Detailed programme information
  • A completed UK work locations form

Once a Fellow has arrived to the UK, host organisations are required to verify original immigration documentation. This must be completed immediately following the Fellow’s arrival to the UK and before the Fellow commences their fellowship. The following documents must be provided to the CSC Secretariat within 24 hours of the Fellow’s start date in the UK:

  • Copy of passport biometric page
  • Copy of UK visa and date of entry stamp
  • UK lodging address and telephone number(s)
  • Change of circumstances form, if Fellow arrives late (including if they miss a flight or if there are visa delays)

Host organisations are also required to monitor a fellow’s attendance whilst they are in the UK and inform the ACU immediately of any changes in a Fellow’s circumstances – for example, early homeward departure, change or addition of work sites in the UK, absences from work (including authorised absences), and/or changes to contact details. When required, the ACU will be responsible for submitting reports of these changes to UK Visas and Immigration as detailed below.

Reporting to UK Visas and Immigration

Once a Fellow has been issued with a CoS and while they are in the UK, the ACU is required to report to UKVI within ten working days if:

  • The Fellow does not arrive to start the programme on their expected start date. This includes if the Fellow misses a flight and will be arriving at a later date agreed by the host organisation.
  • The Fellow is absent from their work location. The ACU requires details of all absences; however, only unauthorised absences of ten working days or more will be reported to UKVI.
  • The fellowship finishes before the end date stated on the CoS (e.g. if the Fellow withdraws, has their fellowship withdrawn, or finishes their programme early).
  • The Fellow defers their fellowship.
  • The Fellow no longer requires sponsorship under Tier 5 (e.g. if they switch to a different visa type).
  • There are any significant changes to the Fellow’s circumstances (e.g. a change of work location, passport details, etc).
  • There is any information which suggests that the Fellow is in breach of the conditions of their visa (including engaging in criminal activity).

Travel outside the UK during the fellowship

Commonwealth Professional Fellowships are tenable in the UK only, and Fellows must seek permission from their Programme Officer and Host organisation if they wish to travel outside the UK for any reason.

Further information

This information is subject to changes in UKVI policy guidance and the immigration rules which is available on the UKVI website. UKVI may make changes to the terms and conditions of visas at any point.

Further information can be obtained from the CSC’s Senior Welfare and Immigration Officer, at


Previous hosts

The following organisations were approved by the Commission to host Professional Fellowships in 2021.


  • British Geological Survey
  • Cardiff University, The Phoenix Project
  • Central & North West London NHS Foundation Trust
  • Conciliation Resources
  • Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospital NHS Trust
  • Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London
  • Justice Defenders
  • Knowledge for Change
  • Liverpool John Moores University
  • Meriden Family Programme
  • Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
  • Sheffield Hallam University
  • Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust
  • The Law Society of England and Wales
  • The Royal Veterinary College
  • UK Statistics Authority
  • University of East London- School of Health, Sport and Bioscience
  • University of Salford


For more information please open this link

Commonwealth Professional Fellowships – information for prospective Fellows

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