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 in applying to pre-approved 2-year predoctoral research positions at leading universities. The Fellowship seeks to support 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 is seeking 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 round, 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 will receive a list of 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 2022. 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.
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 Kabir Banerjee Predoctoral Fellowship Finalists will advance in the hiring process for predoctoral programs.
- If admitted into one of these pre-approved positions, Kabir Banerjee Predoctoral 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 top 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 your intellectual curiosity
- Receive mentorship and support for the Ph.D. application process
- Build a relationship with world-class faculty members who can guide your learning and convey your strengths to graduate schools
- Collaborate on research publications and potentially co-author papers
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, 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.
Competitive applicants may have some of the following:
- Work experience in a research environment, with proven analytical and quantitative skills
- Experience conducting Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs)
- Experience with a statistical analysis packages such as R, Python, or Stata
- 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
- A GRE quantitative score above 165 points would be preferred in later stages of the selection process
Fellowship Award Terms
Successful applicants will be awarded a Fellowship to be applied by the host institution to subsidize the cost of the position conditional upon receiving an offer of employment at one of a set of pre-approved predoctoral positions. The list of open and qualifying Weiss Fund pre-approved positions will be shared with Fellowship Finalists and will include predoctoral positions at one or more leading universities in the world. The predoctoral positions pre-approved by the Weiss Fund will provide visa sponsorship and other relevant benefits and compensation. The Fellowship may not be applied to other predoctoral positions or for purposes other than supporting a candidate who has successfully received an offer of employment from the pre-approved list of open positions.
The Weiss Fund Predoctoral Fellowship Application Process:
- Application round: Applications will be accepted from October 5 to December 5, 2022;
- Eligibility check: Selected candidates who have not submitted GRE scores will be contacted by the hiring team and asked to complete a quantitative exam in January, 2023;
- Interview round: Selected candidates will be invited to interview with the Weiss Fund team in January and February, 2023;
- Reference check: The Weiss Fund team will contact the references of applicants who complete the interview round successfully in March, 2023
- Endorsement announcement: Fellowship Finalists will be announced in April, 2023 and their profiles will be featured in the Weiss Fund website;
- Predoctoral applications: Fellowship Finalists will be provided with a list of pre-approved positions in the Spring and Summer of 2023. Finalists will apply independently to each position and the Weiss Fund will facilitate a matching system in cases where multiple offers are extended by host universities.
- Resume/CV (required) – Recommend using a format that highlights quantitative skills. Example: https://admissions.hks.harvard.edu/www/documents/MPP_AQ_Resume_Final.pdf
- Transcripts (required)
- Three references (required)
- Class ranking (required)
- GRE score (strongly encouraged)
- Summary of other training not included in the transcript (example: MIT’s micromaster’s, etc.)
If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Low and Lower-Middle Income Countries*
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Central African Republic
Congo, Dem. Rep
Egypt, Arab Rep.
Iran, Islamic Rep
Korea, Dem. People’s Rep
Micronesia, Fed. Sts.
Papua New Guinea
São Tomé and Principe
Syrian Arab Republic
West Bank and Gaza
* As defined by the World Bank and including countries for which data was not available.