1 December 2017

Commonwealth Doctoral Scholarships 1960 – 2015

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File #1: Full report - full details of our analysis (2MB)

The CSC is extremely proud of its support for doctoral research and of the thousands of Commonwealth Alumni who have obtained their PhD as a result. This review, completed in 2017 looked at the Commonwealth PhD Scholarship programme from 1960-2015 by which point over 7,500 individuals from 60 countries across the Commonwealth had taken up these PhD scholarships.

The purpose of the review was to better understand both the historical and contemporary context related to these awards, as well as more in-depth policy and operational issues. It provides a comprehensive summary of the Commission’s support for PhD study, as well as presenting evidence of the outcomes and impact of this support and identifying areas that merit future investigation. Beginning with a brief description of the history of the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan, as well as the broader global context related to doctoral study, the review goes on to describe the demographics of the Commonwealth PhD Scholarship scheme over fifty-five years. The report then focuses on Alumni outputs using data sourced from Alumni through surveys and interviews before broadening the approach to look at evidence gathered from their UK-based PhD supervisors.

The report concludes that there is evidence, both quantitative and qualitative, demonstrating that the Commonwealth PhD Scholarship programme continues to meet the core objectives set out by the Commission, as well as the priorities of its funders. It also identifies several areas for further investigation and development by the Commission. Overall the report forms a part of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission’s ongoing portfolio of monitoring and evaluation work, contributing to the growing body of evidence demonstrating both the relevance and effectiveness of scholarship programmes to development.