The Netherlands Fellowship Programmes (NFP) promote capacity building within organisations in 62 countries by providing training and education through fellowships for professionals. The NFP is initiated and fully funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the budget for development cooperation.
The overall aim of the NFP is to help increase both the number and the competencies of skilled staff at a wide range of governmental and non-governmental organisations. You have to be nominated by your employer to be eligible for the fellowship. There also has to be a clear need for training within the context of your organisation.
After completing your training you return to your original workplace. This ensures the training is embedded within your organisation.
You will improve your knowledge and skills, learn about relevant global developments in your field and build an international network. The result is twofold: for your employing organisation, it represents a direct investment in staff development; for you as a professional, the training is a valuable asset in your further career.
The target group
The NFP target group consists of professionals who are nationals of and work and live in an NFP country. The chances of obtaining an NFP fellowship increase if you live and work in Sub-Saharan Africa and/or if you are a woman.
An NFP fellowship is intended to supplement the salary that you should continue to receive during the study period. The allowance is a contribution towards your costs of living, the costs of tuition fees, visas, travel, insurance and thesis research, as specified in the NFP Rules and Regulations for fellowship holders.
Highly competitive selection
Nuffic receives thousands of fellowship applications each year. Only a small percentage of these applications are eventually granted a fellowship.
The fellowships are awarded in a very competitive selection to highly motivated professionals with at least three years’ work experience who are in a position to introduce the newly-acquired skills and knowledge into their employing organisation.
Master’s degree programmes and Short courses
There are fellowships available for a selected number of master’s degree programmes with a duration of between 12 and 24 months. A master’s degree programme leads to a Dutch master’s degree.
In addition, there are fellowships available for a selected number of Short courses offered by Dutch institutions that provide professional training at post-secondary level. These courses have a duration of between two weeks and twelve months. The courses lead to a Dutch certificate or diploma.
All NFP courses are full-time courses, including a select number of e-learning courses. Consult our Studyfinder database for programmes and courses eligible for an NFP fellowship.
There are fellowships available for PhD research with a maximum duration of four years. You can follow PhD studies at one of 21 Dutch universities and institutes.
Alumni activities and Tailor-Made Training
In addition, there are separate funds for alumni activities and Tailor-Made Training.
The NFP target group consists of professionals who are nationals of and work and live in an NFP country.
NFP fellowships are awarded in a very competitive selection to highly motivated professionals with at least three years work experience. You can only become a candidate if you are nominated by your employer. After completing your training as an NFP fellow, you return to your original workplace to ensure the training is embedded within your employing organisation.
Your chances of obtaining an NFP scholarship go up if you:
- live and work in Sub-Saharan Africa;
- are a woman;
- belong to a priority groups and/or are from a marginalised region as defined by the Dutch embassy in your country.
You can find these priorities on the embassy’s website.
You must meet a number of criteria that support the aim of the NFP to be eligible for a fellowship.
- be a professional with at least three years’ relevant work experience;
- be a national of, and working and living in one of the countries on the NFP country list valid at the time of application;
- be nominated by your employer, who pledges to continue paying your salary and guarantees that you will be able to return to the same or an equivalent position at the end of your fellowship period;
- have been unconditionally admitted by a Dutch institution to one of the Master’s degree programmes or Short courses on the course list, or have agreed upon a PhD research proposal with the Dutch institution. This means that you must have met all the academic requirements set by the Dutch institution;
- not be employed by:
- a multinational corporation (e.g. Shell, Unilever, Microsoft);
- a large national and/or a large commercial organisation;
- a bilateral donor organisation (e.g. USAID, DFID, Danida, Sida, Dutch ministry of Foreign affairs, FinAid, AusAid, ADC, SwissAid);
- a multilateral donor organisation, (e.g. a UN organisation, the World Bank, the IMF, Asian Development Bank, African Development Bank, IADB);
- an international NGO (e.g. Oxfam, Plan, Care).
- have completed and submitted an NFP PhD study, master’s degree programme or short course fellowship application, including all the required documentation, before the applicable fellowship application deadline;
- be employed in a subject area to which the study will make a relevant contribution;
- have a clear-cut, work relationship with a relevant organisation and be in a position to introduce the newly acquired skills and knowledge into that organisation;
- be available full-time for the entire period of the programme or course and be physically and mentally able to take part in the entire programme;
- endorse the objective and the aim of the NFP and use your new knowledge and skills to support your employing organisation and your country. Nuffic urges you to return to your home country upon finishing the course or programme to meet the NFP aim in the most effective way.
Additional criteria per type of application.
If you apply for an NFP PhD fellowship, you must:
- not have accepted an NFP PhD fellowship in the past;
- pursue the PhD study following a ‘sandwich’ or ‘picnic’ model, which means that at least a quarter of the PhD study must take place in the candidate’s home country and/or region. A quarter of the PhD study is calculated from the start date of the PhD-study (research) until the end of the NFP-PhD fellowship.
If you apply for an NFP short courses fellowship, you must:
- not have accepted more than one NFP short course fellowship in the past;
- not have accepted an NFP short course fellowship in the year prior to the fellowship application.
If you apply for an NFP master’s degree programme (NFP-MA) fellowship, you must not have accepted an NFP master’s degree programme fellowship in the past.
Before applying for an NFP fellowship
It is important to realise and consider that:
- Applying for an NFP fellowship often takes time and effort and costs money, but might not lead to an NFP fellowship as Nuffic receives thousands of applications each year.
- Applying for a fellowship numerous times does not increase your chances of receiving a fellowship.
Before you start your NFP fellowship application you must do the following:
- Read all information available on the NFP webpages.
- Prepare and/or collect all the necessary application documents.
To be eligible for an NFP fellowship, you must be admitted to the master’s degree programme, short course or PhD study, for which you would like to use the fellowship.
Obtain academic admission
You must apply for academic admission directly at the Dutch institution. Your admission must be unconditional in terms of your education and language proficiency. Conditional admission may be granted only subject to you finding suitable funding for the programme.
You are strongly advised to seek academic admission as early as possible to allow the institution to process your application in time. Ask the Dutch institution what their deadline for academic admission is.
The academic admission process for a PhD study is an individual track. Ask the Dutch institution what the requirements and deadlines are.
You are only allowed to apply for one NFP fellowship per deadline.
Prepare your application for an NFP fellowship
If you are certain that you are eligible for an NFP fellowship and you have collected all the necessary information and documentation, you can start applying.
The application you submit to Nuffic must be complete with all the required documentation according to the required formats. The application must be submitted online through Scholarships Online (SOL) before the fellowship application deadline. Applications that are not submitted according to the required procedure and format will not be accepted.
After you have submitted your application you cannot make any adjustments or additions. Nuffic cannot accept any additional documents sent by email or regular post. These additional documents will not be taken into consideration.
Submit your application
You must submit your NFP application in Scholarships Online (SOL), our online application tool.
Each programme or course has a specific academic application deadline, set by the institution. These deadlines may change during the year. Before you apply always check the website of the institution to find out which academic application deadline applies for the course or study programme you are interested in.
Your application will be assessed. The outcome of the selection becomes available about 14 weeks after the fellowship application deadline. To help you follow the selection process this page describes the selection procedure.
There are a maximum of four steps in the assessment of a submitted application.
1. Academic status
First the Dutch institution will make your academic status known in SOL. This process will be completed about three weeks after the deadline has closed. A status of ‘no admission institute’ means:
- You did not apply for admission at the Dutch institution.
- You did not apply for the same course in SOL as the one you applied for at the institution.
- You were found to have been denied admission to the course by the Dutch institution
- The Dutch institution intentionally gives the status of ‘no admission institute’, although you are academically admitted to the course. This means you will not be eligible for an NFP fellowship but you can attend the course with other financial resources.
2. Eligibility check
After the academic admission your application will be checked on its eligibility. If your application does not meet the eligibility criteria it will be rejected regardless of any effort, time and money you put into it. Please make sure you meet the eligibility criteria before you apply! All applications from applicants who applied multiple times in the same deadline period will be cancelled. Applications will also be checked for possible fraud.
3. Assessment of eligible applications
If the status of your application is eligible it will be assessed by the Dutch institution and the Netherlands embassy on:
- your academic quality;
- the degree to which you fit into the target group of the programme, (see objective of the Netherlands Fellowship Programmes and the eligibility criteria);
- how well you would be able to implement the newly-acquired knowledge in your daily work;
- to what extent the knowledge will contribute to the development of your home country. If applicable, your application may be assessed according to any country-specific criteria an embassy may have set. If for example you submit an application for an NFP fellowship in the field of Health Sciences while Agriculture is a country-specific field of focus for the embassy in your country, your chances of obtaining a fellowship will decrease.
- how well your plans for the time after returning to your employer are described and how easily they can be implemented.
4. Preliminary selection
Based on this assessment a preliminary selection will be made around ten to fourteen weeks after the deadline has closed. The assessments will lead to a ranking of all eligible applications, giving priority to applications from female candidates. Half of the available budget for fellowships is allocated to candidates from Sub-Saharan Africa.
For PhD applications Nuffic and the Netherlands Embassy will assess applications on additional criteria. Priority will be given to applications that:
- propose that the research project be co-supervised by an institution in an NFP country,
- have a proven link with other activities financed by the NFP or other Dutch government-funded activities or a proven link or work agreement in the research area between the employing organisation and the Dutch institution.
If needed, Nuffic will repeat this process once in order to replace candidates that have declined. The preliminary selection is subject to change. You cannot claim a fellowship from the fellowship offer. However, Nuffic will not defer an awarded fellowship under any circumstances.
If you are one of the few preselected candidates you will be asked by email if you accept the NFP fellowship that is offered to you. The status of your application would then be needs confirmation. You have one week to react to this offer by clicking the applicable button in SOL. If you decline or do not react in time you will not receive a fellowship. You can apply again in a later deadline period.
If you accept the fellowship offer you will be awarded the fellowship under the conditions of the Rules and Regulations.
If you withdraw your participation in the course after having accepted the fellowship there will be restrictions when applying for an NFP fellowship in future. This is in accordance with the NFP eligibility criteria*. The fellowship is subject to the NFP Rules and Regulations (www.nuffic.nl/nfp) which you accepted when applying.
- If you accept this NFP-SC fellowship and you have already accepted/ received an NFP-SC fellowship in the past, you cannot apply for an NFP-SC fellowship in the future after accepting this fellowship.
- If you accept this NFP-SC fellowship and you have not yet accepted/ received an NFP-SC fellowship in the past, you can only apply for an NFP-SC fellowship a year after this fellowship application.
If you accept this NFP-MA fellowship, you cannot apply for an NFP-MA fellowship in the future.
If you accept this NFP-PhD fellowship, you cannot apply for an NFP-PhD fellowship in the future.
Nuffic will make the final selection within four weeks after the preliminary selection. Candidates will be informed about the outcome of the selection by email.
Please note that applications can still be cancelled and awarded fellowships can be withdrawn with costs claimed back from the applicant, if at any point in the process it becomes clear that information provided in the application is incorrect or if an applicant becomes ineligible during the process without notifying Nuffic.
Monitor the selection process
You can keep track of your application in SOL. During the selection procedure the status of your application will change. You will be notified by email if the status of your application changes.
After the selection
You will be informed about the outcome of the selection by mail or email The outcome of the selection will also be visible in SOL. The selection is final and there is no list of reserve candidates.
If your application is successful, the Dutch institution will contact you by mail or email to make all necessary (logistical) arrangements.
We pay your fellowship to the Dutch institution, as described in the Rules and Regulations. The institution will manage your fellowship and make payments to you for the duration of your fellowship.
Scholarships Online (SOL)
You must submit your application for an NFP fellowship online through Scholarships Online (SOL).
Applying in SOL
Before you prepare your application you must have:
- studied all the information available on the NFP website about the NFP, the application procedure as well as the SOL manual;
- checked the applicable fellowship application deadline of the master’s degree programme, short course or PhD study you want to apply for;
- checked the applicable academic application deadline for the programme you are applying for. You cannot use SOL to obtain academic admission. You must arrange this directly with the Dutch institution.
Please note that each sub-programme has its own application form in SOL. Use the quick links on the right-hand side of this page to go to the SOL area of the sub-programme you are interested in.
Start ahead of time
Take your time to submit your application correctly and make sure you have a reliable internet and power supply. The application deadlines are fixed and cannot be extended. Applications that are not submitted according to the required procedure and formats will not be accepted.
You need several documents to complete your application in SOL. Check which documents you need on the How to apply page. Nuffic cannot accept any additional information or documents sent by email or regular post. These additional documents or information messages will not be taken into consideration.
For more information, please visit official website: www.studyinholland.nl.