open society foundation’s civil society leadership awards

The Civil Society Leadership Awards (CSLA) provides support doctoral students and university faculty to undertake academic projects that will enrich socially-engaged research and critical scholarship in their home country or region.

The awards look to support academic research conducted within any field of the social sciences and humanities, but will prioritize research which specifically addresses pressing societal issues within the following themes, broadly defined:

  • Defence against rising authoritarianism.
  • Sustainable development, climate action, and mitigating the effects of climate change.
  • Economic justice and worker rights.
  • Information democracy.
  • Addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on an applicant’s home country or region.

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Civil Society Scholars are selected on the basis of their outstanding academic record as well as their active engagement with local communities, their potential to champion open society values in their home regions, and their ability strengthen critical scholarship and academic networks within their fields. Proposals may include international travel, but this is no longer required.

All eligible applicants will be reviewed by an international selection committee. The proposed field of study should be logical for the goals expressed, and the application itself should be well-organized and complete. Compelling candidates will be interviewed by a selection committee comprised of university representatives, CSLA staff, and partner organization representatives, such as the German Academic Exchange Service.

The Open Society Foundations and Scholarship Programs are committed to equal opportunity and exercise that policy in relation to all admissions processes. Civil Society Leadership Awards does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, colour, sex, religion, sexual orientation, or disability.


  • Applicants can request funding up to $15,000.
  • Selected grantees may be invited to attend a participant conference during the grant period. Travel costs and accommodation for this event will be covered by CSSA.


The awards are open to the following academic populations:

  • Doctoral students of eligible fields studying at accredited universities inside or outside of their home country
  • Full-time faculty members (must have a minimum of a master’s degree) teaching at universities in their home country.
Eligible Regions: Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Haiti, Kosovo, Laos, Libya, North Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Myanmar/Burma, Nepal, Palestine, Rwanda, Serbia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Yemen.

Application Process

  • Applications must be submitted by July 22, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Interested applicants must complete an online or paper CSLA application and submit along with supporting documentation to be considered for CSLA support.
  • Online Application
    All candidates are strongly encouraged to apply online if possible using the Open Society Foundations grant portal, an online platform. To apply online, please register on the portal and then follow instructions from the Apply Now link.
  • Paper Application
    Paper applications may be accessed in the Download Files section of the page. Please download the application form before completing or printing, and review the accompanying materials before submitting the application.
  • Check the official website for detailed information about the application process.

Looking for fully-funded opportunities, install the Youth Opportunities Android or iOS App here.

Application Deadline: July 23, 2020 (17 Days Remaining)

Apply nowOfficial link

For Further Queries

For more information please visit the official wbesite
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