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Diversifying economics: Resources for Black and other underrepresented minorities

Over 2011-2017, the top 20 economic departments in the US awarded PhDs to only 15 Black students. In 2017, only 0.6% of the doctorates in economics and 2% of the undergraduate degrees in economics awarded in the US went to Black women. The Institute for Fiscal Studies recently found that Black economists in the UK are 64% less likely to work in Russell Group universities than white economists. Out of the 7,567 papers published in the top 5 economic journals between 1990 and 2018, only 29 probed questions on race and ethnicity. In the climate survey conducted by the American Economic Association in 2019, almost half of Black economists reported having faced discriminatory and unfair treatment on the basis of their race. These are just some of the worrisome statistics about our field, but it has been clear for some time that economics has been a hostile and discriminatory environment for racial and other minorities. A recent study by Amanda Bayer, Gary Hoover, and Ebonya Washington based on surveys and interviews of underrepresented minorities in the field highlighted some consistent issues including bias, a hostile environment, lack of good mentoring, and the hidden curriculum problem, where students do not have critical information needed to enter and succeed in the field. To that end, we have put together a list of some of the resources out there that can be stepping stones toward diversifying economics.

Association for the Advancement of African Women Economists (AAAWE)

AAAWE was established in March 2012, is the first and only organisation that focuses on building the capacity and skills of African women economists. AAAWE engages in several activities; creating opportunities for networking and mentoring, assisting members to obtain grants, fellowships, and internships, and facilitating the creation and sharing of knowledge among members.

Type of opportunity: Mentorship, Professional

Target population: African women economists (but men and non-African economists can also become non-core members)

Requirements: Different fee grades for different levels of membership

The Black Economists Network

This organisation is dedicated to providing a platform through which professionals and students of Black African and Caribbean descent in economics can connect, collaborate, share ideas and support each other.

Type of opportunity: Mentorship

Target population: Economists or students of Black African or Afro-Caribbean descent 

DigiFI African Scholars Programme

Research funding and capacity building opportunity for African scholars 

Type of opportunity: Mentorship, Funding, Professional

Funding: Proposal Development Grants (up to US$ 10,000) and Pilot Grants (up to US$ 75,000). Targeted mentorship will be provided throughout the project. Register for the African Scholars database for matchmaking, MicroMasters scholarships, and to be added to the DigiFI mailing list.

Target population: Resident and non-resident African scholars

Requirements: Resident Africans need to have a PhD and be based in an African academic institution and non-resident Africans ought to have completed high-school in Africa, have a PhD, and be based in an academic institution outside of Africa

The Sadie Collective

The Sadie Collective addresses the pipeline and pathway problem for Black womxn in economics, finance, data science, and policy. It was established in 2018 and hosts skill-based and professional development workshops and conferences. It provides networking and mentorship opportunities and has a curated database of fellowships, scholarships, and career opportunities for its members. 

Type of opportunity: Mentorship

Target population: Black womxn (can be at any stage of their career)

Africa Initiative for Governance (AIG) Scholarship – Oxford

The AIG was founded by leading figures from business, academia, and government and is based in Lagos, Nigeria. Its objective is to improve the performance of the public sector in Africa. To this end, the AIG runs three other initiatives in addition to providing scholarships: a fellowship program, an award for public leadership and governance and is embarking on the compilation of statistical data to create an index for measuring public sector performance.

Type of opportunity: Funding

Funding: Scholarship for the Master of Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford.

Target population: Graduate students from Nigeria and Ghana

Requirements: Be a citizen of Nigeria or Ghana, have completed an undergraduate degree, and are between 25-35 of age (full eligibility criteria specified on the website)

The Ibrahim Leadership Fellowships 

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation, founded by Mohammed Ibrahim, a Sudanese-British businessman known for his work in the telecommunication industry, aims to support governance and leadership in Africa. The Foundation runs other initiatives including the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) and the well-known Ibrahim Prize for Achievement n African Leadership, awarded to former leaders from the continent who have exemplified exceptional leadership.

Type of opportunity: Funding, Professional

Funding: Opportunity to work in the executive offices of either the African Development Bank (Abidjan), UN Economic Commission of Africa (Addis Ababa), or theInternational Trade Centre (Geneva) with an annual stipend of $100,000

Target population: African nationals attending select institutions and disciplines outlined on the organisation’s website

Requirements: National of an African country; 7-10 years of relevant work experience; Master’s degree; under the age of 40, or 45 for women with children; any additional criteria as set by the host the ITC, AfDB, and ECA.

Japan Africa Dream Scholarship (JADS) Program

The JADS programme is a capacity-building project by the African Development Bank and Japan to provide 2-year scholarships to African graduates in selected priority development areas on the continent and Japan.

Type of opportunity: Funding

Funding: 2-year scholarship for tuition and monthly living expenses allowance 

Target population: African graduate students in two-year Master’s degree programmes in selected priority development areas on the continent and Japan.

The Harambe Yale Scholar Program

This program provides full tuition and fees for Africa’s entrepreneurial leaders wishing to pursue a two-year MBA at the Yale School of Management. 

Type of opportunity: Funding

Funding: full tuition and fees for a two-year MBA

Target population: Scholarship recipients must be current African passport holders and have exhibited entrepreneurial leadership in their field of interest.

Requirements: Have a BA or equivalent and have 2 or more years of work experience

The Research in Color Foundation

The Research in Color Foundation seeks to increase the number of PhD students of color in economics and economics-adjacent disciplines through mentoring and financial support for graduate applications.

Type of opportunity: Mentorship, Funding

Funding: Mentoring as well as funding to cover GRE and application-related costs up to $1,000.

Target population: open to POC undergraduate students, master’s students, research assistants, and anyone who is planning to complete (or has completed) their bachelor’s degree and is interested in a PhD in economics or an economics-adjacent discipline such as but not restricted to political science and public policy

Requirements: Be enrolled in a BA programme or have completed one

University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

This programme was established in 1984 to encourage outstanding women and minority PhD recipients to pursue academic careers at the University of California (UC). The current program offers postdoctoral research fellowships, professional development, and faculty mentoring to outstanding scholars in all fields whose research, teaching, and service will contribute to the diversity and equal opportunity at UC.

Type of opportunity: Mentorship, Funding

Funding: The 2020 annual award provides a salary starting at approximately US$ 53,460 depending on field and experience, and US$ 5,000 for research and professional development. 

Target population: women and minority PhD recipients

Requirements: Obtain the sponsorship of a tenured faculty member other than your PhD dissertation advisor who is willing to serve as your primary mentor.

PhD Excellence Initiative

The PhD Excellence Initiative drives diversity in the field of economics by offering rigorous, post-baccalaureate fellowships to high-achieving scholars of colour, setting them on the path to pursue doctoral degrees and research careers at the nation’s top institutions.

Type of opportunity: Funding

Funding: US$ 40,000 stipend over 12 months, and the opportunity to enroll for credit in up to two New York University classes 

Target population: POC 

Requirements: US citizen, BA degree (or expect to receive it in the academic year during which they apply), outstanding grades, strong writing and quantitative skills

Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Research Scholar Initiative in Economics and Economic-related areas 

Research scholars in economics (and life sciences) work with Harvard faculty member as a research assistant and received GRE prep support 

To make an application request by emailing minrec@fas.harvard.edu

Type of opportunity: Mentorship, Funding

Funding: Stipend, Tuition, health insurance, GRE prep support

Target population: Underrepresented minorities 

Requirements: BA and US citizenship or permanent residency

American Economic Association (AEA) Summer and Scholarship programme

The AEA summer programme is a prestigious program that enables students to develop and solidify technical skills in preparation for the rigors of graduate studies. As many as 20% of PhDs awarded to minorities in economics over the past 20 years are graduates of the programme.

Type of opportunity: Mentorship, Funding, Professional

Funding: Stipend of $3250 given after completion of the summer training program

Target population: The programme is designed for students who, by their background, life experience, and scholarship can show they will bring greater diversity to the economics profession. There are no formal requirements other than that an applicant does not already have a PhD in economics.

Requirements: Applicants be enrolled in or be a recent graduate of a degree-granting programme; have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) in relevant courses; have taken calculus, statistics, and microeconomics courses; have a strong interest in pursuing a doctoral degree

The American Society of Hispanic Economics (ASHE) Dissertation Award

ASHE is a professional association of economists who are concerned with the under-representation of Hispanic Americans in the economics profession. 

Type of opportunity: Funding

Funding: US$ 1,000 award to defray the costs of attending the annual ASSA (Allied Social Science Association) meetings to a newly minted PhD in economics or a closely related field, particularly if this achievement is in line with the goals of ASHE

Target population: Hispanic economists

American Society of Health Economists (ASHEcon)

The ASHEcon Virtual Mentoring Program provides students and early career researchers an opportunity to engage with seasoned health economists. In an effort to encourage participation by underrepresented communities, the American Society of Health Economists (ASHEcon) offers scholarships aimed at underrepresented minorities and/or individuals whose background or life circumstances indicate they have overcome substantial obstacles (e.g., disabled individuals, racial, ethnic and LGBTQI individuals, etc.) conducting research in health economics. While at the conference, the fellowship recipients will have the opportunity to formally network with each other and with members of the ASHEcon Board and Diversity Committee, recognising them, their accomplishments, and bright futures.

Type of opportunity: Mentoring, Funding

Funding: Scholarship only – US$ 500 award to defray the costs of attending the annual ASHEcon conference (Allied Social Science Association) meetings to PhD students close to their dissertation phase and early-stage investigators

Target population: Underrepresented minorities (scholarship only), mentorship is open to all ASHEcon PhD students and early-stage investigators. For both opportunities, applicants must be ASHEcon members.

Emerging Scholars in Political Science (ESPS)

The ESPS is a post-baccalaureate programme that provides participants the opportunity to explore their research interests and prepare for graduate school through intensive research, coursework, and mentoring.

Type of opportunity: Funding

Funding: Annual salary of US$34,375 and research allowance of US$1,500 per year to be spent on research-related expenses

Target population: Aimed at increasing the participation of underrepresented groups in PhD programmes in political science.  

Requirements: Have earned a BA degree

American Political Science Association Diversity Fellowship Program

This is a programme for undergraduate seniors, graduates, or students enrolled in a Master’s programme who are racial or ethnic minorities that plan to apply for a PhD in political science. 

Type of opportunity: Funding

Funding: Awarded fellows will receive US$4000 – US$5000, disbursed over two years. 

Target population: Undergraduate seniors, recent graduates, or other individuals (including students in terminal MA programs) in the process of applying for PhD programmes in political science. Spring applicants must be 1st or 2nd year PhD students in good standing in a political science programme

Requirements: Be a member of one of the following underrepresented racial or ethnic minority groups: African-Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, Latinos/as, American Indians or Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians; demonstrate an interest in teaching and potential for research in political science; be a US citizen, US national, or US permanent resident or covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) 

Paul and Daisy Soros Application for New Americans

The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans program is intended for immigrants and children of immigrants who are pursuing full-time graduate degrees at United States institutions.

Type of opportunity: Funding

Funding: 50% of tuition and fees, not including health and housing fees, up to US$10,000 per semester, or US$ 6,667 per quarter. The maximum PD Soros stipend is US$ 25,000 per year, capping all stipend awards at US$ 50,000 per year

Target population: immigrants and children of immigrants in the United States who are planning on starting or continuing an eligible graduate degree program full-time in the US. One can apply to the Fellowship while applying to graduate school, or after already enrolling in graduate school as long as they have not have started or passed the third year of the graduate program

Requirements: Be a US citizen, US permanent resident, refugee or asylee, or covered under DACA, and your birth parents must have both been born outside of the US as non-US citizens, and both parents must not have been eligible for US citizenship at the time of their births; Be 30 or younger as of the application deadline

William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fellowship for Minority Students

The Aspen Institute Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation (PSI) in Washington, DC offers the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fellowship to one student three times annually. The fellowship, which is based on academic excellence and need, is open to both undergraduate and graduate students of colour. 

Type of opportunity: Funding

Funding: Compensation based on an hourly basis in the fall, spring, and summer

Target population: Graduate or undergraduate students from communities of colour

Requirements: Be a US citizen, US permanent resident or covered under DACA, demonstrated interest or experience in nonprofit organisations, philanthropy, and the social sector

The Richard A. Horovitz Fund for Professional Development

This programme named after Richard Horovitz, a Ford Foundation programme officer who died in 1991, is dedicated to African artists and scholars in the humanities and social sciences. 

Type of opportunity: Funding

Funding: One-time award granted to one or two students for graduate study for a 12 month period. The amount of the award normally ranges from US$ 6,000 to US$ 8,000.

Target population: Citizens of sub-Saharan African countries who are graduate students, researchers or artist in a programme at an accredited US university, cultural or artistic institution (on an F or J visa); specialise in the humanities or social sciences

Requirements: In addition to the above, demonstrate financial need, outstanding performance, and not be funded by another established education grant such as Fulbright.

Facebook Emerging Scholars Research Fellowship   

The Facebook Fellowship is a global programme designed to encourage and support promising doctoral students who are engaged in innovative and relevant research in areas related to computer science and engineering at an accredited university.

Type of opportunity: Funding

Funding: Two years of paid tuition and fees, and a US$ 42,000 annual stipend to cover living and conference travel costs

Target population: The programme is open to students in any year of their PhD study. People of diverse backgrounds and experiences are encouraged to apply, especially those from traditionally under-represented minority groups

The Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Programme

Funded by the Government of Japan, this programme funds nationals from developing countries and Japan to complete graduate degrees in development-related fields. It is one of two World Bank Scholarship programmes for graduate studies in development, the other being the Robert S. McNamara Fellowships Program (RSMFP) listed below. 

Type of opportunity: Funding

Funding: Scholarships for select Master’s programmes in development at partner schools in the US, Europe, Africa, and Japan 

Target population: Nationals of World Bank member developing countries with 3 years of work experience in development

Requirements: No dual citizen of developed country; hold a BA earned at least 3 years prior to the application deadline date; have 3 years or more of recent development-related work experience after earning a BA (or equivalent) degree

 

Other opportunities

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) International Scholarships 

The AAUW is a nonprofit organisation that aims to advance gender equity for women and girls through research, education, and advocacy.

Type of opportunity: Funding

Funding: Master’s/first professional degree – US$18,000; doctoral – US$ 20,000; postdoctoral: US$ 30,000

Target population: Full-time study or research in the US to women who are not US citizens or permanent residents. Both graduate and postgraduate studies at accredited US institutions are supported.

Requirements: Demonstrated commitment to women and girls

Applicants residing in their home country at the time of application, from developing/emerging countries, or from an underrepresented group in any region, will receive special consideration.

American Economic Association Initiatives for Diversity and Inclusion 

Includes an undergraduate economics essay prize, travel grants for underrepresented minority students among other opportunities.

Type of opportunity: Varies, based on the initiative

Funding: Varies, based on the initiative

Target population: Underrepresented minority students, early-stage economists, untenured faculty, and departments implementing DEI initiatives

Requirements: Based on the initiative; affiliation with a US-based institution; US Citizen, Permanent Legal Resident, DACA or Eligible Non-Citizen (as defined by FAFSA)

AEA Committee on the Status of Minority Groups in the Economics Profession (CSMGEP) Mentoring Program 

Matches African-American, Latino, and Native American economics PhD students and new doctorates with mentors in the field, and also facilitates networking between more senior economists and students at all stages of the educational and early-career pipeline.

Type of opportunity: Mentoring, Funding

Funding: Travel and research funding of US$ 1500 (can be as high as US$ 2000)

Target population: African-American, Latino, and Native American economics PhD students 

Berkeley Economists for Equity 

Berkeley Economists for Equity is dedicated to increasing women and other traditionally underrepresented groups in economics; opportunities include mentorship, community building, small grants to support research among others.

Type of opportunity: Funding

Target population: Women and underrepresented minorities

Promoting Diversity and Achievement in Economics 

University of Maryland Economics Department mentoring program that is open to the University of Maryland (UMD) students. Its goal is to increase the participation of students whose identities are underrepresented in economics in graduate school and related careers.

Type of opportunity: Professional development, Mentoring, Networking

Target population: Current UMD undergraduate students typically juniors. Freshmen cannot apply.

Requirements: UMD undergraduate applicants should have declared their major in Economics or be planning to; UMD applicants must have completed Econ 200 and Math 140, or Econ 200, 201, and 305/325 or 306/326

The Economics Transformation Project (ETP)

A project that is currently being put together by J-PAL to build a bridge between two communities: students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in economics, and senior economists who know what is needed to enter, progress, and succeed along the economics pipeline. The project will leverage mentorship from J-PAL’s expansive research network and collaborate with local high schools, colleges and universities, college access nonprofits, and other partner organisations. Together with these partners, ETP will run introductory and more advanced workshops, mentorship programming, and networking opportunities to broaden participation and support the work and well-being of underrepresented voices in the field.

Type of opportunityMentoring, Networking

Target population: High school students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in economics including Black, Latinx, Native American, first-generation, low-income, and female students

The Foreign Policy Interrupted – Bard Fellowship 

The FPI-Bard Fellowship is for mid-career women in foreign policy (i.e. work at a university, a think tank, in government, in the private sector, at an NGO, at a multilateral organisation) who are eager to share their expertise and engage in policy discussions. The fellowship offers a six-week online workshop that provides training in op-ed writing, editorial story pitching, and pubic speaking.

Type of opportunityMentoring

Funding: No cost; 6-week online fellowship for 5 fellows

Target population: Mid-career women (over 30) in international relations, foreign policy, national security, anything global — in traditionally male-dominated fields. They should also be eager to publish an op-ed. 

Requirements: Open to both US citizens and non-US citizens, fluent in English.

 Fulbright Programme

The Fulbright Programme is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the US government. It provides participants-chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential – with the opportunity to study, teach, and conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Grants are available for US citizens to go abroad and for non-US citizens with no US permanent residence to come to the U.S. 

Type of opportunity: Funding

Funding: Depends on country and particular award given 

Target population: The US programme only accepts US citizens; various countries have Fulbright programmes for their nationals that enable them to study or conduct research in the US. See the Fulbright Foreign Student Program website for more information.

Requirements: Have a BA.

Chevening Scholarship

Chevening Scholarships is a UK Government awards programme that enables outstanding emerging leaders from all over the world to pursue fully-funded one-year Master’s degrees in the UK.  

Type of opportunity: Funding

Funding: Scholarships for one-year masters at any UK university

Target population: Citizen of Chevening-eligible country with a BA and at least 2 years of work experience. Other criteria listed here.

Commonwealth Scholarship

Commonwealth Scholarships are funded by the UK Government with the aim of contributing to the UK’s international development aims and wider overseas interests, supporting excellence in UK higher education, and sustaining the principles of the Commonwealth.

Type of opportunity: Funding

Funding: Scholarships for masters and Phds as well as medical and professional fellowships

Target population: Most offer scholarships to citizens from low- and middle-income Commonwealth countries but there is one PhD scholarship for high-income countries. See website for full details on each scholarship.

National Science Foundation – Graduate Research Fellowship Programme

This is a programme by the National Science Foundation (NSF) that recognises and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported STEM disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited US institutions.

Type of opportunity: Funding

Funding – Five-year fellowship includes three years of financial support including an annual stipend of US$ 34,000 and a cost of education allowance of US$ 12,000 to the institution

Target population: Underrepresented minorities are encouraged to apply

Requirements: US citizen, US national, or US permanent resident; intending to pursue a research masters or PhD in STEM

The Robert S. McNamara Fellowships Program (RSMFP)

A World Bank fellowship program that enables PhD candidates from developing countries to undertake research at institutions abroad.

Type of opportunity: Funding

Funding: 6–10 months of funding up to US$ 25,000 to conduct PhD research in a World Bank member country other than the Fellow’s home country or country of residence. This programme is currently being restructured, and no call for applications is planned at this time

Target population: Developing country nationals who are PhD candidates in developing countries

Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship

The Ford Foundation fellowships seek to increase the diversity of the nation’s college and university faculties by increasing their ethnic and racial diversity, maximise the educational benefits of diversity, and increase the number of professors who can and will use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students.

Type of opportunity: Mentorship, Funding

Funding: Annual stipend of US$ 27,000 for three years as well as mentoring

Target population: U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, and U.S. permanent residents, refugees and asylees

Requirements: Be enrolled full-time in a program leading to a PhD or ScD degree in an eligible, research-based (dissertation-required) field of study in the social sciences

The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) Scholarship

The OPEC Fund Scholarship Award supports outstanding young individuals from developing countries so that they are able to pursue graduate studies in a development-related field.

Type of opportunity: Funding

Funding: Not available in 2020; updated information will be released in 2021. In the past, the award has covered the full cost of tuition; one round-trip flight between the student’s home country and the university, health insurance, a relocation grant to help with moving costs, and a monthly allowance for one year. 

Target populationMust be a national of a developing country except for OFID Member Countries (Algeria, Ecuador, Gabon, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela) 

Requirements: Have a BA and be between the ages of 23-32 at the time of submitting the application

Authors’ note: We have listed as many opportunities as we could find but understand that this list is not exhaustive. We intend for it to be a live document and would encourage you to reach out to us at mail@theigc.org with any other opportunity that you would like us to add here.

We would also like to thank Chinemelu Okafor, Odichinma Akosionu, Chinekwu Osakwe, and Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman for their immense contributions.

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