Commonwealth Professional Fellowships – information for prospective Fellows


Applications for prospective Fellows are now closed.

All Commonwealth Professional Fellowships in the 2022/23 round are in the thematic area of Clean Energy, Air and Oceans.

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 2022/23 round are in the thematic area of Clean Energy, Air and Oceans. All applicants must be professionals working on related issues.

Applications for prospective Fellows are now closed. 

All fellowships in this round will be tenable for three months from 22nd February 2023

Host organisation programmes

University of Strathclyde

The University of Strathclyde’s programme is based in the Chemical and Process Engineering Department and will offer fellows the opportunity to develop new networks and collaborations through existing host connections. Through this programme, Fellows will be immersed in the department’s research ambiance which will engender new concepts and ideas, proliferate collaborations and networks as well as reveal new knowhow to address challenges and fulfil COP26 vision.

Fellows can expect to develop skills in; ideas generation, collaborating and co-operation; debates; self-study and public speaking. The group has a wealth of ongoing research involving decarbonising of materials and processes, renewable energy generation through national research centres (PNDC, AFRC and NMIS) and innovation hubs (Glasgow City Innovation District). Upon return home fellows can build on relationships built during the fellowship to carry out collaborative undertaking to implement decarbonised process and products.

Find out more: Energy | University of Strathclyde

University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh’s programme is based within the Edinburgh Earth Initiative (EEI) and will provide a programme of interdisciplinary training and professional development to catalyse UK-India multi-faceted collaborations on respiratory health and climate change, and promote context appropriate interventions in urban India.

Hosted by the University of Edinburgh’s Earth Initiative – a flagship platform for accelerating global partnerships and research impact on clean energy, clean air and clean oceans – the Fellows will join a community of professionals and researchers working with South Asia partner institutions. Each Fellow will work with a University of Edinburgh mentor matched and paired on the basis of background experiences, disciplinary interests and specific interests. Fellowship activities will span issues around clean air, science, technology, innovation and public policy – with an underpinning focus on the intersection between access to clean air and gender.

The University of Edinburgh are seeking professionals working at the intersections of climate, health, and air pollution in India with varied areas of expertise in science, technology, innovation and public policy.

Find out more:

University of Salford

The University of Salford programme’s is based in the Energy House 2.0 project and focuses on the relationship between the built environment and climate change in Uganda with an emphasis on Clean Air and Clean Energy in public buildings (hospital and schools) and domestic dwellings used by Uganda’s poor. We will link organisations working in this very new field to Energy House; an exciting new development at Salford University, and in particular to a new program on Sustainable Building. By drawing together Fellows with experience in the field and exposure to key actors we will identify affordable and sustainable ways of improving the design of new build and potential adaptations to existing infrastructure to reduce energy consumption, increase use of renewable energy and water supplies and improve ventilation.

Find out more:

Knowledge 4 Change

The Knowledge 4 Change programme takes a holistic approach combining an interest in the impact of deforestation on climate change and the impacts of the use of wood and charcoal as the primary fuels used in cooking on human health and especially women and children. Changing the behaviour of the poorest in Uganda to encourage different approaches to daily cooking requires a multi-professional team focusing on awareness-raising of the health and environmental implications of current practices and identifying optimal and affordable devices (stoves). Fellows will work as a team to identify behaviour change and awareness-raising mechanisms and create an evidence base to promote alternative fuels and stoves.

Find out more:

Lifegate Outreach Centre

Lifegate Outreach Centre’s fellowship programme will be a continuous professional development course of work. Fellows will be exposed to a range of activities that will ensure the best opportunity for the transfer of knowledge, skills and experience. The approach will encompass desk-based research, tailored training, practical hands-on training/workshop (where applicable), conference participation, presentation of work progress, mentoring, knowledge exchange project plan development and secondment (i.e., practitioner to practitioner shadowing at relevant organisations).

It is expected that through this programme, Fellows will develop capacity to promote clean energy, air and oceans in their various spheres of influence through engagement with rural and urban communities, households, small/medium enterprises, environmentally-conscious Non-Governmental Organisations and local and national policymakers upon return to their home countries.

Find out more:

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 Person
  • 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 Fellowship 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 at an organisation that they will return to upon completion of the Fellowship
  •  If nominated for a Professional Fellowship, prospective Fellows will be required to provide at least two references, (one of which must be from their current employer). Prospective Fellows will be contacted directly by the CSC if required to submit references. The Host organisation Fellows are applying to might also contact them to request a reference when considering their application
  • 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. 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 and complete their fellowship within prescribed dates

In addition to the above, prospective fellows must ensure they meet any eligibility criteria set out by each individual host organisation.

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.

Eligible countries

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

Completing the application form

Applications for prospective Fellows are now closed. 

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

  • List all undergraduate and postgraduate university qualifications obtained (where 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)
  • Provide a Development Impact statement in 4 parts.

In the first part (up to 200 words) you should explain how your proposed Fellowship relates to:

  • reducing reliance on fossil fuels, lowering rates of air pollution or promoting marine conservation, in accordance with the aims of COP 26 and SDGs 7, 13 and 14.
  • development issues at the global, national and local level
  • development issues connected to the theme of climate change and the wider sector

In the second part (up to 100 words) you should explain how you intend to apply your new skills once your Fellowship ends.

In the third part (up to 250 words) you should outline what you expect will change in development terms following your Fellowship including:

  • the outcomes that you aim to achieve
  • the timeframe for their implementation
  • who the beneficiaries will be

In the fourth part (up to 100 words) you should write about how the impact of your work could be best measured.

  • 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)

You must also provide a scan of your passport or national identity card

    Financial Assistance

    Each Fellowship provides:

    • Approved return airfare from the fellow’s home country to the UK
    • Reimbursement of the standard visa application fee
    • Stipend (living allowance) payable monthly (or pro rata) for the duration of the award at the rate of £1,782 per month, or £2,197 per month for those at organisations in the London metropolitan area (rates quoted at 2021/22 levels)
    • 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 £972.59 (rates quoted at 2021/22 levels), including an element for warm clothing
    • For the Clean Energy, Air and Oceans programme a £1,000 travel allowance per fellow to facilitate attendance at events (administered by host organisations)
    • A maximum of £3,000 per fellow can be agreed by host organisations for short courses/conferences as well as travel to visit other UK organisations where this forms an integral part of the programme. 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 agreement stating that they will return to relevant employment in their home country within 5 days of the end of their fellowship 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 Work – Government Authorised Exchange 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, Scholars and Fellows to fulfil their role and responsibilities in a manner consistent with requirements for safeguarding.


      • 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 years
      • The CSC is committed to administering and managing its Scholarships and Fellowships in a fair and transparent manner. 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 CSC.


      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 Work – Government Authorised Exchange 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 Temporary Work visa 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 Temporary Work visa  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

      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 Temporary Work visa (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


      If you have any queries about Commonwealth Professional Fellowships, please email

      General enquiries about applying for Commonwealth Scholarships or Fellowships sent to this email address will not be answered; please use the Contact us form instead.

      To see a list of our previous Fellowship hosts please visit our Professional Fellowship Host Organisation page.