The Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship provides opportunities for U.S. early and mid-career professionals and practitioners to serve in placements in a foreign government ministry or institution around the world. Fulbright Public Policy Fellows build mutual understanding and contribute to strengthening the public sector while cultivating public policy experience in their area of expertise. The Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship also includes an independent professional project that provides fellows the opportunity to interact with the local community and further their career goals. Professional projects may include workshops, public lectures, or other appropriate professional experiences.
The Fellows will have an opportunity to build their knowledge and skills, provide support to partner-country institutions, and promote long-term ties between the U.S. and the partner country.
- Participating Countries and Eligible Disciplines
Fulbright Public Policy Fellowships are available in three world regions: Africa (Botswana, Ghana, and Rwanda); Western Hemisphere (Colombia and Peru); and East Asia and the Pacific (Cambodia, Fiji, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam). All qualified applicants with skills applicable to public policy in any field are eligible and encouraged to apply. Preferred fields of interest and/or potential ministry hosts, along with language requirements, for each country are:
Fields: Public/Global Health, Information Sciences, Energy, and Agriculture
Potential Host Ministries/Focus Areas: Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje (SENA), Secretary of Culture, National Planning Department Public Innovation Team, Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Foreign Relations
Language: Advanced (superior) Spanish is required.
Fields: Combatting gender-based violence, social inclusion, anti-corruption, equality, integration, sustainability, dialogue and reconciliation, identity and diversity
Potential Host Ministries/Focus Areas: Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Energy and Mines, Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations, Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion, Ministry of Production, Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Transportation and Communications, Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Housing and Construction, Ministry of Labor, Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Mesa de Concertación de Lucha contra la Pobreza (a multiparty group that works on policies to fight poverty), and the National Council for Science, Technology, and Technical Innovation (CONCYTEC), among others
Language: Advanced (superior) Spanish is required.
Fields: Energy, Renewable Energy, Infrastructure development, Labor Relations, grassroots development, civil society governance, and advocacy to strengthen democracy and government accountability
Potential Host Ministries/Focus Areas: Ministry of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development; Ministry of Home Affairs; Ministries of Basic and Tertiary Education; Ministry of Youth, Sport, and Culture
Language: English is an official language
Fields: Lands and Natural Resources, Environment, Education, Communication/Information, Gender/Social Protection, Tourism and the Arts, Health/Public Health, Justice, Energy, Agriculture, Conflict Resolution/National Security, Labor Relations, Trade and Investment, Governance/Parliament/Legislature, Finance/Economics
Potential Host Ministries: Ministry of Health, Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture
Language: English is an official language
Fields: Public health, Infrastructure, governance
Potential Host Ministries/Focus Areas: Ministry of Health, Ministry of Infrastructure, Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion, Ministry of Local Government, Rwanda Social Security Board
Language: English is an official language of all three countries in Africa. For Rwanda, additional fluency in French or Kinyarwanda is helpful but not required.
East Asia and the Pacific:
Potential Host Ministries/Focus Areas: Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts
Language: English is sufficient, Khmer language proficiency is not required.
Fields: Education, Energy, Environmental Sciences, Agricultural Sciences, Economics, Public Health
Potential Host Ministries/Focus Areas: Ministry of Education; Ministry of Environment and Waterways; Climate Change Division, Ministry of Economy; Ministry of Agriculture; Ministry of Health and Medical Services; Ministry of Forestry; Ministry of Fisheries; National Disaster Management Office; Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources; Ministry of Infrastructure and Meteorological Services
Language: English is an official language
Potential Host Ministries/Focus Areas: Ministry of Public Health; Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation (MHESI); National Innovation Agency; National Vaccine Institute; Food and Drug Administration
Language: English is sufficient, Thai language proficiency is not required.
Fields: Public Health, Food Security, Infrastructure, Education
Potential Host Ministries/Focus Areas: Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Ministry of Public Works, Ministry of Higher Education
Language: Some Portuguese is encouraged although not required.
Fields: Education, Health, Environment, Social Work, Information Technology, Telecommunications, Electricity, Social Policy, Public Policy, Agriculture, Rural Development
Potential Host Ministries/Focus Areas: Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture
Language: English is sufficient, Vietnamese language proficiency is not required.
- Grant Details
The minimum length of the total grant is four months and the maximum is nine months. Eight to nine-month grants are preferred. Grants for the Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship have a flexible start date and also flexible timeframe of a semester or academic year (4-9 months), with sufficient time to carry out the goals of the project. Earliest start date is July 2024; latest start date is March 2025. See the Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship Award as listed in our Catalog of Awards for more information.
Number of Awards Available:
Approximately 10 globally, depending on individual grant lengths and overall global budget
Other Required Activities:
Pre-Departure Orientation Fellows will participate in a virtual pre-departure orientation in July 2024. Fellows to Botswana, Ghana, Rwanda, Cambodia, Fiji, Timor-Leste and Vietnam will also participate in Fulbright regional PDOs in June/July 2024.
- Webinar – Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship Overview
|February 2023||Launch of Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship competition. Application opens|
|September 15, 2023||Application Deadline|
|November/December 2023||Peer Review Committee reviews applications and makes recommendations for further consideration by U.S. Embassies or binational Fulbright Commissions in the host country|
|December 2023||U.S. Embassies or binational Fulbright Commissions overseas review recommended applications, interview candidates (virtually), and consult with host government ministries on candidates. Successful candidates are nominated for selection|
|January 2024||Recommended candidates reviewed by the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board for approval|
|February/March 2024||Scholar selections announced, following U.S. Embassy host ministry placement negotiations|
|July 2024||Pre-departure Orientation (PDO) takes place|
|July 2024 - March 2025||Scholars depart for host countries|
Successful Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship candidates will include early to mid-career entrepreneurial and self-starter professionals with a graduate degree in a public-policy related field (e.g., JD, MPA, MPH). Candidates must have a minimum of three years of full-time work experience and demonstrate how their work experience (5 years is preferred) has prepared them for a technical specialist role, along with how the position will fit into their career trajectory. Postdoctoral candidates and practitioners active in the academic, public, or private sectors with a record of experience and accomplishment in a public policy related area are encouraged to apply. Candidates with field-specific backgrounds applicable to public policy (e.g., Energy, Agriculture, Engineering) are preferred.
Ph.D. is not required. Doctoral degree holders are eligible as long as they have three to five years of public policy relevant experience – as a professional/practitioner outside of the classroom. Candidates enrolled in a Ph.D. are eligible as long as they have a MA degree AND three to five years of experience. Candidates who have gone directly from undergraduate to Ph.D. and have completed the Ph.D., but do not have any work experience are not eligible.
For questions about eligibility and complete policies for the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program, visit our Eligibility page.
Only U.S. citizens are eligible to apply for an award through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. If you are not a citizen of the United States, please visit the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program.
To begin the process, go to the application.
Fulbright Public Policy Fellows will be hosted by ministry officials as “technical specialists” and spend approximately 80% of their time carrying out ministry-directed projects. Approximately 20% of their time will be dedicated to their independent professional project.
All Fulbright Public Policy applicants are required to complete short essay questions to explain your specific strengths as a candidate and motivation for participating in the Fellowship to reviewers and potential hosts. You will be asked to address your experience and skills, what you are proposing to do, why it is important, why you, and what impact you hope to have. Your essays must be clear and compelling to audiences both inside and outside your field. Guidelines regarding the essay questions are below:
Experience and Skills (up to 3,000 characters, including spaces and punctuation):
What knowledge and experience do you bring to this fellowship, including specific strengths, academic training, and relevant work experience, and how will they be transferable and beneficial to your potential host ministry?
- Describe how you have supported and assisted policy related projects. Be specific about the public policy challenge you addressed, the outcome, and how you worked with others to address it.
Career Trajectory (up to 2,000 characters, including spaces and punctuation):
- What is the trajectory you have followed, and what are your plans for the future? How does the Public Policy Fellowship fit into your career path and future goals? This is separate from the facts presented elsewhere in the application and may address your personal history, background, development, and the opportunities to which you have, or have not been exposed.
Country Selection, Preparation and Impact (up to 3,000 characters, including spaces and punctuation):
- Why have you selected this country?
- What experiences have prepared you to work in this country? Include any prior experience(s) living or working in a foreign culture or culture different from your own.
- What needs and interests of the host ministry and host country will you address?
- What challenges do you expect to face as a foreign national working in the host country government? How will you adapt, address, or manage them? Provide examples of your familiarity with the culture and chief public policy challenges of the country/region for which you are applying.
Professional Project (up to 3,000 characters, including spaces and punctuation):
- What do you propose to do?
- What is the anticipated impact and benefit your project would have on your host community? Please be specific and also consider outcomes with the potential to be broad and sustainable. What facilities and resources do you plan to utilize in the host country?
- What is the anticipated impact your participation would have on your professional development and career?
All applicants must include their resume which details their relevant professional experience.
- List employment history, including relevant public policy and other professional experience.
- If including publications, use full citations.
- List items chronologically, starting with the most recent.
- Refereed publications should be listed separately from non-refereed publications.
- Up to 5 pages, single spaced, 12-point or larger font size; 1-inch margins
- Headers and/or bullets to organize and convey key elements
- File type: Adobe PDF or Word document
- Include page numbers
- Only Latin alphabet characters are allowed (i.e., do not include any words or phrases that contain non-English characters)
- Letters of Recommendation
The application requires two letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendations evaluate your professional work, including the abilities and expertise you bring to your project; your ability to adapt; and the merits of the project.
- Applicants must register their recommenders in the online application and are responsible for ensuring their letters are submitted by their recommenders via the online system by the application deadline. Recommenders cannot submit their letters outside the online system
- Applicants can track the status of the letters of recommendations on their online application and can send reminders to recommenders to submit their letters of recommendations by the application deadline.
- Letters of recommendations can be submitted by your recommenders before or after you submit the application but must be submitted by the application deadline.
- All recommendation letters must be in English.
Who may serve as a recommender?
Letters should be from those who know you and your work well and can address the points below, as listed under the “For Recommenders” section:
- One letter from a colleague or supervisor at your current place of employment. If your institution or employer recently changed, one of the letters should be from someone at your previous institution or employer.
- One letter from a colleague within your discipline. This can be someone outside of your current place of employment and can include colleagues with whom you have collaborated on research in the last several years in the U.S. or abroad.
Who cannot serve as a recommender?
- Relatives; representatives of U.S. Embassy posts or Fulbright Commissions in the country of application; representatives of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) at the U.S. Department of State; representatives of the Institute of International Education
- Anyone who serves as a recommender may not also provide the applicant with an invitation letter
- Anyone who serves as a recommender may not also provide the applicant with a language evaluation
- Please see these instructions for those providing letters of recommendation.
- Up to 3 pages
- On letterhead and signed (recommended)
- Only Roman characters are allowed.
- File type: Adobe PDF (recommended) or Word document
Please retain an electronic copy of your submitted recommendation.
- Language Proficiency
Fulbright Public Policy Fellows will be required to carry out a position in a foreign government ministry effectively and seamlessly. Meeting the language requirements is critical for completing the daily requirements of the professional placement. For research grant activity, language fluency sufficient to complete the research project is required. For applicants without local language proficiency, feasibility of conducting research must be demonstrated in both the project statement and the language self-evaluation form of the Fulbright application. Non-native speakers who have local language abilities will be asked to also register an external evaluator within the application.
The award description in the Catalog of Awards indicates the required level of language proficiency and which evaluation(s) are needed for each participating country.
The language component of the application has two parts detailed below. Requirements vary by country per the award description.
The Language Skills page in the application displays the award’s foreign language skills requirement and contains the self-evaluation. You can list up to three languages relevant to the proposed project and indicate your level of proficiency for each. Following that you will then respond to short questions regarding your proficiency, including past experience and planned study.
The Recommendations and Language Evaluations page in the application is where you register a qualified foreign language evaluator. This component is required for applicants to Colombia and Peru.
- A qualified foreign language evaluator should be an instructor in the language or otherwise qualified to evaluate language proficiency.
- Anyone who serves as a language evaluator for your application cannot also provide a recommendation letter for your application.
- For applications where proficiency in multiple languages may be necessary, the application will allow for up to two external language evaluations to be submitted.
For those providing the foreign language evaluation, please see these instructions.
- Professional Project
What kinds of activities are considered professional projects?
Professional projects should be an independent, public policy focused proposal that identifies and addresses the needs and interests of the host ministry and host country; demonstrates potential to advance knowledge, and to establish lasting connections and ties with the host country. A smaller component of the Fellowship (20% of total time), the independent professional project must be carried out in consultation with the ministry, on a schedule that meets the ministry project timeline/goals/etc. for your specific assignment. Applicants should create projects that may include studies, practical experience in actual operations, visits to organizations in their professional field, workshops, public lectures or other appropriate professional experiences. Their project plans should include a concrete description of the planned activities during the grant period as well as the expected benefits for completing the project for their professional field.
Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship Review Criteria
As reviewers take into account the basic objectives of the Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship, they apply the following criteria:
- Suitability of the applicant: Professional record in a relevant public policy sector as evidenced by the previous three to five years of work experience. Relevant and appropriate expertise to complete the proposed activities successfully.
- Need for residence in host country and fit for proposed ministry.
- Potential impact: ability to identify and address the needs and interests of the host ministry and host country; potential benefit to the host country, applicant, and their discipline; potential for outreach to the public in host and home country, and to establish lasting connections and ties with the host country; ability to carry out the project and impact your sector/specialty area.
- Record of service to the field and/ or the home institution.
- Ability to serve as an unofficial cultural ambassador for the United States, including, but not limited to personal attributes of collegiality, cultural adaptability and sensitivity, a strong service orientation and high degree of versatility, resourcefulness, and creativity.
- Foreign language proficiency as specified in the award description for the relevant proposed host country, or commensurate with the requirements of the proposed project.
- Preference will be given to early or mid-career academics, applied researchers and/or professionals with research experience in the public, non-profit, or private sectors.