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USAID’s PEER Women in Science Mentoring Program 2018

USAID’s PEER Women in Science Mentoring Program 2018

Deadline: March 16, 2018

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is now accepting applications for the 2018 Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) Women in Science Mentorship Program. The program is designed to help retain women researchers by establishing mentorship cohorts in which women in senior academic positions can support and advise junior female researchers who will benefit from their knowledge and experience.

The program is currently inviting applications from interested groups made up of one senior-level female mentor and 2-4 junior-level female mentees from selected countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa. The program will support a one-year mentorship experience, including professional training for both the mentors and mentees, with potential follow-up in the form of seed grants for the mentees following the year-long program.


While there are likely many interacting factors that prevent postdocs and junior women faculty from advancing their careers in science and applying for international research awards, the PEER Women in Science Mentoring Program has been created to help retain women in science, build self-confidence, and teach early career scientists to write successful international research awards. This new mentoring program, will allow time and space for cohorts of mentees (postdocs and junior faculty) and mentors (senior faculty) to build personal and professional development in topics such as work-life balance, networking, research proposal writing, and publishing research papers.

Following the mentoring program, the participating mentees (junior faculty and postdocs) will be eligible to apply for competitively reviewed awards that will provide funds for them to conduct a pilot research project.

Cohort Structure

  • Cohorts should be made up of one woman senior faculty mentor and 2-4 women mentees (postdocs and/or junior faculty).
  • Junior faculty would be defined as assistant professors and/or non-tenured faculty members.
  • Senior faculty must hold PhDs in a STEM field.
  • MDs with a focus on research are qualified to apply.
  • Junior faculty/postdocs and senior faculty cohorts do not have to be from the same scientific field, but cohorts with similar research interests are encouraged.
  • Cohorts must be located at the same or nearby universities in their countries of citizenship/permanent residency, and be able to meet regularly in person.
  • There will not be any travel funds provided to support cohort meetups, and videoconferencing is not encouraged.


Mentorship Training and Seed Grants


  • Receive a $2,000 USD honorarium (paid to the individual) for creating and following the mentor plan for mentees as created during their mentor training. Mentors will receive $1,000 after the mentoring plan is submitted following the COACh workshop. Mentors will receive final $1,000 after the final report is submitted at the conclusion of the year-long program.
  • Receive mentor/mentee training by COACh Global. COACh will also recognize and feature the mentors during the training in panels/conversations about successes in funding and publishing. Mentors will be recognized for their successful mentorship with a certificate and may be highlighted in blogs and other public facing media throughout the year.


  • Receive mentee/mentor training by COACh Global.
  • Opportunity to compete for small seed grants ($10,000 USD) following their participation in the year-long mentoring program.
  • Terms of Seed Funding for Mentees:

o    Mentees will be invited to submit a proposal for a hypothesis-driven, one-year long research project and a plan for mentoring two postdocs, graduate students, or undergraduate students with a maximum budget of $10,000 USD, to be paid to the higher education institution where the mentee is employed. Funds must be managed by the institution in accordance with standard regulations governing the use of USAID funds.

o    The research project should be a pilot, using existing equipment at the university. The funding can be used for supplies and other small expenses but not large pieces of equipment.

o    Mentees should draw heavily on their new, collaborative networks for a successful pilot project.

o    Data collected during the pilot project should be used as leverage when applying for larger international and national grants and funding.

o    Mentees are encouraged to think about how to best showcase their pilot research at an international research conference following completion of the award.


  • Mentors and mentees must be permanent residents or citizens, residing in their home country, from any of the following countries to be eligible.

o    Sub-Saharan Africa: Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia

o    Arab States: Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, West Bank/Gaza

  • Mentees must hold PhD’s.

o    If a mentee is a postdoc, they will have a PhD, and are qualified to apply.

o    Junior faculty with Masters degrees are qualified to be a mentee if they are a faculty member.

o    University research scientists are only eligible to be mentees if they have PhDs and are faculty members.

  • Mentors must have PhDs and be in a senior faculty role.
  • All applicants must be in the country of their citizenship or permanent residency for the entirety of the mentoring period.


Mentors and mentees must apply as a group, as PEER is unable to match participants. Mentor and mentee cohorts should gather their application materials together and the mentor should submit one application on behalf of the cohort into PEER’s online application system. 


Each mentor should include the following items in the application packet:

  • CV/Resume

o    Please make sure to also include information on international collaboration and success with international research awards.

o    Note where research projects/publications have been led by, or included, junior faculty, postdocs, graduate students or undergraduates.

o    Include relevant training in mentoring, leadership, career and professional development, etc, if any.

  • Statement of interest that includes the following points. Statements should no more than 3,500 characters in length (approximately  500 words, or one page, single spaced).

o    The role of mentors in your career development.

o    Why you would like to be a mentor in this program.

o    How you plan to help grow the careers and networks of your mentees.


Each mentee should send the following items to the mentor to include in the application packet:

  • CV/Resume
  • Statement of interest that includes the following points. Statements should no more than 3,500 characters in length (approximately  500 words, or one page, single spaced).

o    Why mentoring is important to you.

o    Why you would like to be a part of this program.

o    How you see this program contributing to your growth as a scientist and future mentor.

o    What skills would you like do develop that will allow you to be a mentor in the future?

NOTE: You submit one application for each cohort. There is space in the online system for two to four mentees to input their information.

Please direct any questions to the PEER team at peer@nas.edu.

Click here to apply.

For more information, visit PEER.

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