World Forest Institute International Fellowship 2020


The application period for the 2020 World Forest Institute International Fellowship Program is open from July 1 to October 15, 2019.

The World Forest Institute International Fellowship Program hosts natural resource professionals from around the world at the World Forest Institute’s campus in Portland, Oregon, for 6 months. Applicants propose a research topic to focus on during their Fellowship, and WFI uses its extensive network of public and private forestry and natural resource professionals to assist Fellows in gaining the knowledge and exposure they seek. (Look at past and current Fellows’ projects to get an idea of the research approach and the variety of research topics per year!!)

Oregon is an ideal learning ground for the program because of its rich natural resources, innovative history in forest management, an important timber sector, and academic centers of excellence in both forestry and urban forestry, as well as green building and sustainability. Fellows leave the program with a solid understanding of how the US forestry sector operates and who the key players are. Additionally, Fellows gain valuable cultural experience. Over 140 Fellows from more than 45 countries have participated in the program over the past two decades

The Fellowship is a Blend of Research, Networking, and Cultural Exchange

There are three main components to the program:

1. Conducting a Project

40% of your time is spent on your own research project.

Fellows propose a research topic in natural resources that will:

  • take advantage of people and organizations knowledgeable in the proposed topic located in the Pacific Northwest, and
  • benefit their careers when going back to their countries of origin to apply the learned knowledge.

2. Networking with public and private forestry organizations in the US, especially in the Pacific Northwest

30% of your time will be spent on group and individual study tours and meetings.

Networking is largely accomplished by site visits to forestry agencies, research labs, universities, public and private timberlands, trade associations, sawmills, and corporations. The program manager will organize approximately one group study tour per week for all Fellows to participate in. These trips are a required part of the program and can be very diverse in scope. Fellows will need to arrange their own individual meetings and site visits to fulfill their specific research project needs.

3. Educational Outreach

30% of your time is spent on research presentations, in-house events, and public outreach (synthesis and result interpretation).

Who Can Apply

 Fellowship candidates should meet these minimum qualifications:
  • Bachelor’s degree in the field of forestry, natural resources, or other related degree (i.e. Architects working with wood products) and 3 to 5 years of relevant work experience.
  • Proficiency in English, both written and spoken, able to comprehend, communicate, present on a professional level in English using natural resources technical vocabulary.
  • At least 21 years of age.
  • Submit an initial project/research proposal with the following components:
    • A clear research topic, example: urban forest inventory, biomass supply-chain, carbon policy, forestry regulation, conservation finance…
    • Identified essential questions the project/research will address, example: how to collect data in an urban forest, how to quantity biomass production, how to work with key stay holders, how to map decision making processes, how to identify successful projects and funding…
    • Organizations and people proposed to meet and/or collaborate with in the Pacific Northwest to answer the project/research questions.
    • A plan to implement lessons learned, example: host a seminar, write and/or publish a paper, start a new organization, method…)
  • Ability to be self-motivated, to work independently towards a clear research goal or output, and to work with colleagues from diverse backgrounds.

Cost and sponsorship

The 6-month Fellowship Program fee is $10,000 USD.  A matching grant is available to cover 50% of the Fellowship program fee, so the cost to the applicant is $5,000 USD.

Once you are accepted into the WFI Fellowship Program, a formal letter of acceptance will be emailed to you along with an invoice for the program. You are required to pay a $250 USD non-refundable deposit within two weeks (14 days) of your acceptance into the program. Please read the Fellowship Fee Payment and Refund Policy document for details of fellowship fee payment to WFI.

The Fellowship Fee goes towards paying your monthly stipend and full program operations. Fellows receive a monthly salary of approximately $1,600 USD pre-tax (this is only an estimate and is different for everyone based on taxes). The salary is generally sufficient to cover rent for shared housing, cell phone, and food on an average budget. Individual lifestyle differences may result in higher or lower costs. You will also receive a public transportation 6-month pass for the Portland metro area. You can read more about this in our WFI Fellowship Program Basics document.

You must have a Social Security Number to receive your monthly stipend. You can apply for a number upon arrival in the US, but it may take anywhere from 2-4 weeks before your number is sent to you. Please bring enough funds to cover at least your first months’ living costs until you can be put on payroll to receive your stipend.

Learn how to apply to the program and about costs and sponsorship.

How to Apply

  1. Download Application or Fill out Online Application Form. All sections must be completed including the financial section. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. If you are unsure whether a project you have in mind would meet our criteria, please email us with a short description of your intended project before submitting an application.
  2. Submit WFI Application, CV/Resume, and 2 Letters of Recommendation in English. Email your completed application along with your CV and letters of recommendation to WFI International Fellowship Program Manager, Shadia Duery, Please do not send a CV or letter of interest without a completed application form. It is free to apply.

    • CV/Resume Guidelines: Please ensure the following information is included in your CV/Resume if applicable:
      Name of post-secondary institutions
      Location of post-secondary institutions (city and country)
      Exact dates attended (month/day/year)
      Are you currently enrolled? Degree received and date received, or date degree is expected (month/day/year)
      Work Experience
      Company name and address
      Exact dates worked (month/year of start and end dates)
      Hours per week
      Job title
      Description of the work you did (include your duties and responsibilities)
      Exact dates (month/year of start and end dates) and average hours per week
      Name and location of company
      Description of the work you did
  3. Interview with WFI. Once your application has been reviewed you will receive notice of whether or not you have been selected for an interview. Interviews are conducted via Skype and last approximately 30-45 minutes. The interview is intended to be a conversation about your goals for the program and for us each to determine if WFI is the right fit.
  4. Confirm Acceptance. If you are accepted into the program, you will receive an email notifying you of your acceptance. A formal acceptance letter will be attached to that email along with an invoice. You will need to confirm your acceptance by replying to that email.  The WFI Fellowship fee invoice and payment instructions will be sent via email.  Please review the refund policy are found here.
  5. Submit Visa Application. Once you have been accepted, you will begin the process of applying for the J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program, if you are a foreign citizen. This application process is lengthy and requires a different application form and additional documentation. There are fees associated with applying for the J-1 program. Please visit our Costs and Sponsorship page for more information on visa program fees and the visa application process.

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