Last Call for Applications: Four fully funded PhD scholarships in tax and development



Host Organization

The International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD)

Target audience

Africa and South Asia

Application Deadline: 15 March 2023

Fully funded PhD scholarships in tax and development

The International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD) is a research centre aiming to improve tax policy and administration in lower-income countries through collaborative research and engagement. The ICTD’s primary base is the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), at the University of Sussex in Brighton (UK). The ICTD is funded by the British and Norwegian governments and by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The ICTD will fund up to four PhD students from countries in Africa and South Asia to start in September 2023. Students will receive fully funded PhD scholarships including university fees, a stipend in line with UK research council funding (currently 17,668 GBP per year), and other benefits such as funds to attend conferences, to cover visa costs and part of relocation expenses.

In addition to financial support, successful applicants will benefit from being fully embedded in the ICTD team and networks. As such, they are expected to play an active role in the life of the Centre, for example by participating in team and research meetings, external events, and by contributing to blogs or papers for ICTD publications series.

Successful candidates will be based at IDS or a department of the University of Sussex. At least one of their supervisors will be an ICTD Fellow. They will be expected to spend at least the first and third year at IDS/Sussex in person, to facilitate connections with the ICTD team and participation in training opportunities.

To be eligible for funding, PhD projects should focus on taxation in African and/or south Asian countries. Within the broad area, candidates can focus on any issue of their own interest. While projects do not need to fall within one of our existing research programmes, candidates may find it helpful to review the research portfolio of the ICTD and its individual Fellows on the ICTD website. The ICTD is a multidisciplinary centre: as such, suitable proposals can take any disciplinary or interdisciplinary approach, including those coming from economics, political science, anthropology, amongst others. We expect this scholarship to be very competitive.

Applications will be evaluated on the basis of:

  1. Academic quality of the research proposal. Some of the elements that the reviewers will consider, amongst others, are: is the topic relevant to policy and research? Is it sufficiently linked to existing knowledge? Are the methods appropriate and robust? Is the proposed study feasible?
  2. Candidates’ profiles, including skills and experience. Preference will be given to candidates with relevant work experience. A good result in a Master’s degree is also essential for admission to the PhD programme at Sussex/IDS.
  3. Fit with supervisors’ and ICTD’s research interests. Availability of supervisors with relevant research interests and knowledge of relevant methods. We will also consider how projects complement ICTD’s research portfolio.

To be considered, both the applicant’s nationality and the main focus of the project should be countries in Africa or south Asia, though it is not necessary for projects to have a single-country focus.

IDS is committed to eliminating discrimination, and to embedding and supporting equality, diversity and inclusion among our workforce, in our work and in all our activities. We welcome applications from all sections of the community, irrespective of background, belief or identity and particularly encourage applications from groups which are underrepresented at IDS.

How to apply

Applications for the ICTD fully funded PhD scholarships should be submitted using the dedicated form by 15 March 2023 (deadline 23.59 BST). Applicants are not required to have submitted an application for a PhD place at the University of Sussex before applying for the ICTD fully funded PhD scholarship, nor to have identified a potential supervisor. Shortlisted candidates will be encouraged to do so between 31 March and 8 May 2023.

To facilitate candidates’ planning and the preparation of supporting documents, here below is a tentative timeline for the selection process.

  • Initial deadline to fill in the ICTD form: 15 March
  • Shortlist decisions and comments on proposals: 31 March
  • Revised applications through Sussex: 8 May
  • Final decisions: 31 May

Full list of documents required:

Now (deadline 15 March)

  • CV
  • Research proposal (1500 words)
  • Personal statement

If shortlisted (deadline 8 May)

  • CV
  • Research proposal (2000-3500 words)
  • Two academic references
  • Degree certificates and transcripts
  • English language qualification (where applicable)

*If English isn’t your first language, you will need to meet the University of Sussex English Language requirements (‘Advanced’ level score).

Please apply by 15 March 2023, using the online form.


In case of further questions, please contact Susanne Schirmer on 


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