Dorcas Muthoni PhD Fellowship: Call 2020 for talented African female candidates

(Check the official page here)

The Dorcas Muthoni PhD Fellowship is a tribute to our Doctor Honoris Causa Dorcas Muthoni.

Dorcas Muthoni, a Kenyan engineer and entrepreneur, CEO and founder of the company Openworld, received our University’s highest recognition on 15th December 2017 for her significant work in the promotion of engineering studies among young women in Africa, the mentoring of young people, and her social commitment in the fight against poverty. All the details can be found here.

This scholarship is aligned with our university institutional commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), it aims to contribute to quality education and gender equality for African Women.

The first edition of this PhD Fellowship was opened in 2018. We are pleased to launch our second edition in 2020.

The main objectives of this fellowship are:

(i) to promote gender equality & contribute to reduce the gender gap in ICT; by facilitating more women pursuing scientific/technological/engineering careers and lowering the barriers women face when pursuing careers in STEM disciplines

(ii) to share excellent research with African female researchers during their PhD Studies.  Our ICT department consists of more than 20 research groups who are very active in international research projects (e.g. currently active in 38 H2020 research projects) and nationally we have the Spanish research excellence seal Maria de Maeztu). The Maria de Maeztu Strategic Research Program is a 4 year research initiative funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness to promote data-driven knowledge extraction research within the department.

(iii) to contribute to future social impact in African countries. The applicants are expected to return to their African home country after completion of their PhD studies in order to pursue a career related to ICT there.

This PhD fellowship seeks doctoral applications from talented African female students (only African nationality applicants will be considered) with strong research interests. Candidates for PhD positions must hold an M.Sc degree or equivalent.

The Dorcas Muthoni PhD Fellowship will be part of the Doctoral programme in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), that covers many of the most important research topics in the information society grouped into four main areas: cognitive and intelligent systems, audiovisual technologies, networks and communications, and computational biology and biomedical systems. More information on the DTIC PhD programme can be found here and all the admission requirements and documents necessary for the application to enter UPF PhD programme are listed here.


  • Please note that English is the main language for written and oral communication as part of the PhD programme.
  • This fellowship is considered as Predoctoral Research Contracts (PRC), in accordance with the Spanish law 14/2011 on Science, Technology and Innovation.
  • Please note, before applying, each candidate must identify one or several DTIC research supervisor/s with whom she would like to work and contact them to request a support letter. Support from a potential research supervisor is a compulsory pre-requisite to be able to enter the fellowship selection process. You can find a list of our research supervisors in this link.


Host institution:

Department of Information and Communication Technologies, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona.


Research Areas

Students will pursue doctoral studies in one of the Research Areas of the department which includes: Cognition, Computation and Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and Theoretical Computer Science, Natural Language Processing, Ubiquitous Computing, Information Retrieval and Data Mining, Cognitive Multimedia Technologies, Image Processing and Computer Vision, Image Processing for Enhanced Cinematography, Sound and Music Computing, Human-Computer Interaction, Graphics and Educational Technologies, Network Technologies and Strategies, Wireless Communications, Information Theory and Coding, Computational Neuroscience, Instrumentation and Biomedical Electronics, Computational Imaging and Computational Physiology, Analysis of Biomedical Data and Non-Linear Signal Analysis.


Application Period          

PhD application period: January 29th, 2020 to June, 4th, 2020

Resolution: July 6th

*The contracts of the people admitted on this period are envisaged to start at the beginning of October-November 2020.

Early applications are very much encouraged.


How to apply

We are listing below the two applications + motivation letter you need to complete when applying for this fellowship. Please note that both need to be completed at the same time:

  1. Application to the UPF ICT PhD programme
    • Please read carefully the Eligibility requirements in this link
    • It is compulsory to submit in your application a support letter from your potential supervisor in DTIC.
    • Please complete this application form to the ICT PhD programme


  1. Application to the Dorcas Muthoni PhD Fellowship


     3. Motivation letter

  • The applicant should explain her motivation to apply to this fellowship and the expected impact after the end of her PhD studies in terms of the ICT gender equality and social impact in Africa.

   4. Digital copy of your Passport



• For any queries, please contact: [email protected]


Duration of the fellowship (PRC- Predoctoral Research Contract)

Three years (with the possibility of one year extension), renewed annually.


Type of fellowship (PRC):

We offer a predoctoral contract with a minimum gross monthly salary of 1343€ for the first and second years, and a gross monthly salary of 1439€ for the third year.


Teaching. PRC includes a teaching assistance load of 45 hours per academic year.


Start-up Fund. The fellowship will also include a startup/Landing Fund to facilitate the fellow’s initial expenditure. The fund will be for the amount of 2000€.


We do not recommend to come to Spain accompanied by family members, since the scholarship offered has not been designed to include them and we cannot assure financial, logistical or administrative support to cover for the family members.


Fees covered by the fellowship (PRC- Predoctoral Research Contract)

The “Dorcas Muthoni” fellowships/PRC include the annual tutorship fees, but neither the administrative fees nor the fees for validations of degrees issued by a university outside the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) without homologation. Check here for further information. Fees covered by the fellowship (PRC)


Evaluation criteria

  • Excellent Academic record of the candidate
  • Motivation letter:
    • candidates expected contribution to the promotion of ICT gender equality
    • future expected social and economic impact (Africa)