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Netherlands Fellowship Programmes (NFP)

The Netherlands Fellowship Programmes (NFP) promote capacity building within organisations in 51 countries by providing training and education through fellowships for professionals. An NFP Fellowship covers all costs associated with completing a Master of Science study programme at UNESCO-IHE.

2016 NFP Application Deadline Passed

The UNESCO-IHE NFP application deadline for MSc programmes starting in 2016 passed.


Eligibility and how to apply

First check if you are eligible for an NFP Fellowship, you:

  • must be a national of, and working and living in one of the countries on the NFP country list;
  • must have an employer’s statement that complies with the format Nuffic has provided. All information must be provided and all commitments that are included in the format must be endorsed in the statement;
  • must not be employed by an organisation that has its own means of staff-development. Organisations that are considered to have their own means for staff development are for example:
    • multinational corporations (e.g. Shell, Unilever, Microsoft),
    • large national and/or a large commercial organisations,
    • bilateral donor organisations (e.g. USAID, DFID, Danida, Sida, Dutch ministry of Foreign affairs, FinAid, AusAid, ADC, SwissAid),
    • multilateral donor organisations, (e.g. a UN organization, the World Bank, the IMF, Asian Development Bank, African Development Bank, IADB),
    • international NGO’s (e.g. Oxfam, Plan, Care);
  • must have an official and valid passport;
  • must not receive more than one fellowship for courses that take place at the same time;
  • must have a government statement that meets the requirements of the country in which the employer is established (if applicable) Check if for your country such a statement is required (download document).

If this is the case, the next step is to apply for academic admission for one of the MSc programmes of UNESCO-IHE. You can only apply for one MSc programme/specialization for one academic year. Choose the programme/specialization that best suits your academic background, work experience and future plans and apply by clicking the apply button at the upper right corner of the webpage of your preferred specialization. Read and follow the instructions carefully and arrange all the papers that you need to upload, before you start the application.

You have to upload your employers' statement and your personal motivation for NFP Fellowship nomination with your application for academic admission. You have to upload both these documents in the field Employer Statement, when you are preparing your online application for admission.  If you are not able to do so, you can also send the employers' statement and personal motivation for NFP Fellowship nomination later, but no later than 21 January 2016, 23.59 CET. Statements received after 21 January will not be taken into consideration for nomination.

Requirements for employers' statement for NFP Fellowship nomination

download document 

It isextremely important to ask your employer to carefully prepare the employers' statement. Beside your academic background, this is an important first criterion for UNESCO-IHE to decide on your nomination for an NFP Fellowship and for the embassy to score your application for fellowship. When preparing this statement keep in mind that the aim of NFP is that the successful completion of a study programme should help you to further develop and strengthen the organization at which you work.

Motivation student for NFP Fellowship nomination:

download document

It is important that you pay utmost attention to your motivation for studying. We advise you to read the eligibility criteria of the embassy and take care that you answer all questions in such a way that it will lead to a positive assessment of UNESCO-IHE and the embassy for selecting you. Your motivation should not be general, but UNIQUE. You have to impress both UNESCO-IHE and the Netherlands representative. The information in your motivation should differ from what others complete. Pay attention to all different questions and do not give the same answer to the different questions.This document is very important for the embassies when they evaluate your application and cannot be underestimated.

Procedure after application

From all applicants, UNESCO-IHE nominates a selected group for an NFP Fellowship and informs Nuffic about their nomination.

After we have received your application for academic admission, you will be informed within four weeks if you meet the academic admission requirements. If your employers' statement is uploaded with your application for admission, receipt will be confirmed as well. If it is not uploaded, you can still send it by e-mail until 21 January 2016, 23.59 CET at the latest. The same applies for results of English language test. In order to take part in the nomination procedure, we need to be in possession of your sufficient English test results before 21 January 2016, 23.59 CET at the latest.

The admission and fellowship officer will check if the applications and submitted documents of applicants from NFP countries meet the minimum requirements for nomination. If your application meets those minimum requirements, you will be requested via e-mail (after 8 February 2016) to register your application in an online registration system called Atlas. A web link with account will be provided to those applicants. Do NOT share this weblink with others! The ultimate deadline that you should have registered in Atlas is 25 February 2016. Applicants from NFP countries, who do not meet these minimum requirements will be informed and will be advised to look for other sponsors.

After 26 February 2016 the programme committee at UNESCO-IHE will consider all applicants who meet the minimum nomination criteria for possible nomination for an NFP Fellowship. You have to be aware that a request to submit your documents in Atlas does not mean that you will be nominated and selected for the fellowship. UNESCO-IHE will only be allowed to submit a certain number of nominations in Atlas. Even if UNESCO-IHE will nominate you for the NFP Fellowship, it will depend on the evaluation of nominated applicants done by the embassies, if you will be selected for a fellowship.

About the eligibility check of the embassy.

The Embassy will decide if your application is eligible for a fellowship.

If your application does not meet the eligibility criteria it will be rejected regardless of any effort, time and money you put into it. If your application is eligible it will be assessed by the Netherlands embassy on:

  • Your personal motivation to follow the programme: it needs to be unique and should impress the embassy!
  • The degree to which you fit into the target group of the programme
  • 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. Your application will be assessed according to the country focus 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 focus, 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. 

There are always many interested candidates and the number of fellowships is small. Therefore you are always advised to apply for other possible sponsors as well. The chances for final selection are limited, even after we have nominated you for a fellowship.

The final list of selected candidates, will be known at the end of May 2016. We will inform you by e-mail if you have been selected.


For further tips and possible questions about the NFP application procedure see also our Frequently Asked Questions

NFP and MSP Fellowships for Short Courses

Click here to get more information about NFP and MSP Fellowships for Short Courses.