Kabir Banerjee Predoctoral Fellowship

The Weiss Fund for Research in Development Economics invites eligible candidates to apply to the Kabir Banerjee Predoctoral Fellowship. The Fellowship seeks to expand the representation of researchers from low and lower-middle income countries in leading predoctoral programs. Successful candidates will receive Weiss Fund endorsement and may be invited by leading faculty to apply to pre-approved 2-year predoctoral research positions at leading universities. The Fellowship supports candidates with substantial interest and potential for success in an academic career in development economics who otherwise may have limited access to mentorship and training from leading economists.

About the Weiss Fund

The Weiss Fund for Research in Development Economics supports innovative research projects that aim to improve the lives of people living in developing countries. The Fund also aims to attract talented researchers to the field of development economics and support them in producing creative, rigorous evidence to address complex challenges affecting less-developed countries. The Weiss Fund strives to create links to policy and implementation for the most relevant and promising research.

Kabir Banerjee Predoctoral Fellowship Opportunity

The Weiss Fund seeks candidates interested in completing a predoctoral position. Predoctoral roles are intended to serve as a bridge between undergraduate and graduate programs for students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in Economics. The Kabir Banerjee Predoctoral Fellowship identifies promising candidates, endorses their applications to highly competitive predoctoral programs, and subsidizes hiring costs. Finalists from the previous rounds, for example, now work with Weiss Fund-affiliated faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, and Yale University. Placements this year may vary but Finalists may be invited by leading faculty to apply to pre-approved positions.

This Fellowship seeks to expand the representation of strong researchers from low or lower-middle-income countries, who may otherwise have limited access to mentorship and training from leading development economists. Applicants must have completed a relevant Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from an institution in a low or lower-middle-income country by June 2024. Alternatively, candidates who graduated from a secondary institution in a low or lower-middle-income country but continued their tertiary education elsewhere may also qualify. Candidates with research experience are strongly preferred, especially those with strong quantitative and programming skills in Stata, R, Python, or Matlab. Priority is given to applicants with limited access to academic experience or recommendations from leading development economists. While not strict criteria, factors such as educational background and professional experience are considered by our vetting team.

Why Apply to the Kabir Banerjee Predoctoral Fellowship?

The Kabir Banerjee Predoctoral Fellowship will recommend and subsidize successful finalists in their application to some of the most competitive predoctoral programs in the world. Affiliated universities will consider this rare endorsement in their selection process, increasing the likelihood that Fellowship Finalists will advance in the hiring process for predoctoral programs. If admitted into one of these pre-approved positions, Fellows will work directly with one or more of the world’s leading development economists. Finalists and Fellowship recipients will be featured in the Weiss Fund website, a unique platform to showcase their aptitude, experience, and interest in academia and economics.

The Benefits of a Leading Predoctoral Position:

Conditional upon acceptance to a predoctoral program, Kabir Banerjee Predoctoral Fellows will have the opportunity to

  •  Develop coding, research, and communication skills;
  • Learn the inner workings of research projects and gain management and field experience;
  • Explore a variety of research areas and feed their intellectual curiosity;
  • Receive mentorship and support for the Ph.D. application process;
  • Build a relationship with world-class faculty members who can guide their learning and convey their strengths to graduate schools;
  • Collaborate on research publications and potentially co-author papers.

Eligibility

To be considered for this opportunity, applicants must have: 

  •  A Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from an institution in a low- or lower-middle-income country (see list below). Candidates with a high school degree from a low- or lower-middle-income country and a university degree from a country outside the list will be considered on a case by case scenario;
  • A degree in Mathematics, Physics, Statistics, Engineering, Computer Science and/or Economics, or a related social science with an emphasis on quantitative analysis;
  • Working proficiency in written and spoken English;
  • A GRE quantitative score above 160 points. Selected applicants who have not taken the exam will be required to complete a similar test administered by the Weiss Fund team.

Preferred qualifications

Competitive applicants may have some of the following:

Experience:

  • Work experience in a research environment, with proven analytical and quantitative skills;
  • Experience conducting Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs);
  • Experience with statistical analysis packages such as R, Python, or Stata.

Competencies:

  • Strong interest in pursuing an academic career in development economics;
  • Commitment to and success in self-directed learning;
  • Track record of effectively working both independently and as a member of a team;
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills, including the ability to produce clear and compelling written materials geared towards technical and non-technical audiences;
  • Ability to balance multiple tasks and prioritize effectively to meet tight deadlines in a fast-paced working environment;
  • Ability to work efficiently with minimal supervision;
  • Excellent organizational skills and close attention to detail.

Other: 

  • A GRE quantitative score above 165 points would be preferred in later stages of the selection process.

2024 Fellowship Application Timeline

The application portal is CLOSED. Decisions to be released during the end of Spring.


Fellowship Award Terms

Successful applicants may be matched with a host institution following an independent vetting process by the university. The Weiss Fund will provide a subsidy to host institutions to partly cover hiring costs. Host institutions will be responsible for guaranteeing visa sponsorship, as well as other relevant benefits and compensation. Finalists may be invited to apply to pre-approved predoctoral positions at one or more leading universities. The Fellowship subsidy may not be used for purposes other than hiring a Kabir Banerjee Predoctoral Fellow.


Application

The application form for the 2024 Fellowship is closed. Decisions to be released during the end of Spring.

Required documents:

  • Resume/CV (required)
  • Transcripts (required)
  • Three references
  • GRE quantitative score (strongly encouraged. As mentioned previously if not available a similar exam will be applied by Weiss Fund staff at a later stages of the vetting process)

Applications must be completed in one session, so make sure to review all questions in advance.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please contact us at weissfund@uchicago.edu.


Low and Lower-Middle Income Countries*

See the full list by clicking “read more”

Afghanistan
Algeria
Angola
Bangladesh
Benin
Bhutan
Bolivia
Burkina Faso
Burundi
Cabo Verde
Cambodia
Cameroon
Central African Republic
Chad
Comoros
Congo, Dem. Rep
Congo, Rep.
Côte d’Ivoire
Djibouti
Egypt, Arab Rep.
El Salvador
Eritrea
Eswatini
Ethiopia
Gambia, The
Ghana
Guinea
Guinea-Bissau
Haiti
Honduras
India
Indonesia
Iran, Islamic Rep
Kenya
Kiribati
Korea, Dem. People’s Rep
Kyrgyz Republic
Lao PDR
Lebanon
Lesotho
Liberia
Madagascar
Malawi
Mali
Mauritania
Micronesia, Fed. Sts.
Mongolia
Morocco
Mozambique
Myanmar
Nepal
Nicaragua
Niger
Nigeria
Pakistan
Papua New Guinea
Philippines
Rwanda
Samoa
São Tomé and Principe
Senegal
Sierra Leone
Solomon Islands
Somalia
South Sudan
Sri Lanka
Sudan
Syrian Arab Republic
Tajikistan
Tanzania
Timor-Leste
Togo
Tunisia
Uganda
Ukraine
Uzbekistan
Vanuatu
Venezuela
Vietnam
West Bank and Gaza
Yemen, Rep.
Zambia
Zimbabwe

* As defined by the World Bank and including countries for which data was not available.