Borel Global Fellowship

Borel Global Fellows

Aim and scope:
Made possible by a generous gift from Jim and Marcia Borel, the program provides opportunities for one to two students per year to complete an M.S. degree at the University of Delaware while conducting research in their home country in an area of critical need.

Current focus: In response to identified needs in Africa, focal areas are 1) plant breeding and genetics, 2) agricultural and resource economics, 3) soil science, 4) microbiology, 5) wildlife ecology, and 6) entomology. Of particular interest are projects that will lead to improvements in smallholder farm productivity.

Program: Students will begin their program at the University of Delaware during the summer to acclimate and begin involvement in research coursework (as much as three months in advance of the Fall semester). Students will spend the next 12 to 18 months at the University completing course work, developing research skills, and beginning a research project to be completed upon return to their home country. Students will spend six to 12 months in their home country completing their research. The faculty mentor will travel to Africa during this period to help prepare the student for their thesis defense.

  • African students with a B.S. degree (or equivalent) in plant science, agronomy, horticulture, agricultural economics, wildlife ecology, entomology, soil science or microbiology or related discipline.

  • Three to five years of work experience post-graduation in the agricultural or natural resource sectors.

  • A sincere and demonstrable passion to return to the home country and contribute to agricultural development, increased food security, natural resource conservation and/or agribusiness development.

  • A letter of commitment from an African research institute, or university pledging to provide the fellow with in-kind research support for the African portion of their fellowship.

  • English language proficiency at the college level in reading, writing, speaking and comprehension, including the ability to: construct meaning from oral presentations and text; analyze and critique the arguments of others; participate in academic discussions and formal presentations.

  • Acceptable scores on the GRE exam.

  • Acceptable scores on the TOEFL exam for students coming from non-English speaking countries.

  • Ability to obtain a student visa (F-1) and travel to the U.S. from the home country.

  • Access to the internet in the home country.

A two-stage application process is required for the program. 

Step 1: All candidates must be nominated by one of the four African research institutes, universities or non-profits listed on the nomination form. The nomination packet will include:

  • Letter of nomination (two pages maximum) 

  • Resume or curriculum vitae of the nominee

  • Undergraduate transcripts 

  • Personal statement from the nominee describing how the fellowship will aid in advancing their career goals (two pages maximum) 

  • Names and contact information for three references from individuals who can judge the scholastic capability and potential for research at the graduate level

  • A letter of commitment from an African research institute or university pledging to provide the fellow with in-kind research support for the African portion of their fellowship.


Step 2: Following the first stage evaluation by faculty and administration at the University of Delaware, candidates will be invited to apply to the University of Delaware Graduate College. This is done online at The fee for the application will be waived (select “Borel Global Fellows Program”).

When to apply: The deadline for nominations to the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources is December 1, annually. Nominees selected for further consideration will be notified by February 1.  

Each Borel Global Fellow will receive generous financial support, including: 

  • A stipend to cover living expenses while in Delaware of $26,667/year, paid bi-weekly;
  • Financial support of up to $5000 for the African “in residence” portion of the fellowship;
  • A full waiver of tuition for up to 33 credits (currently valued at ~$59,000);
  • Round trip airfare to/from the U.S. (economy class);
  • Computer allowance of up to $1,000 (to be purchased in Delaware);
  • Waiver of the UD application fee ($75), GRE exam (~$200) and TOEFL exam (~$200) fees; and
  • A $1000 honorarium for the Africa-based advisor for the student.

Students are responsible for purchasing their own health insurance upon arrival to the university; for details, costs and options, see

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