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2021 Coimbra Group Scholarship Programme

31 August 2021

The 21st edition of the Coimbra Group Scholarship Programme has officially closed, with very encouraging figures that reflect the success of the initiative. Despite the difficult period we are going through, both as regards the educational sector and international mobility, the Scholarship Programme has registered a very high rate of applications, about 42% more than last year, a sign of the willingness of professors and researchers to continue to carry out research periods abroad to deepen their studies. In particular, we wish to highlight the tremendous echo encountered in Latin America, which alone represents an increase of 95% in applications.

If we analyse each region in detail:

Latin America

The peak of applications (the eligible ones were 480) has been accompanied by a slight increase in scholarships (+35%), which is significant if we look at the figures from previous years, but still insufficient to meet the demands.


In 2021 the University of Coimbra has received the most applications, while more than 50% of candidates come from Brazil.


Regarding the age of candidates, 42% of them ranged between 31 and 35 years old, and  gender of candidates, 53% out of 480 were male (vs 47% females). Selected candidates were in majority males (63%), with an average age of 36, coming from Brazil. STEM disciplines were the preferred ones, with 64% of selected candidates carrying out research in this field.


Sub-Saharan Africa

This year’s applications decreased by 6% with respect to 2020, accompanied by a 3% decrease in scholarships available, notwithstanding the participation of one more university to the programme for Sub-Saharan Africa.


The University of Padova received 34 applications, followed by Coimbra (28) and Groningen (23). The large majority of candidates come from Cameroon and Nigeria. At the third place, we find Ethiopia.

The age of candidates who applied to the CG Scholarship Programme was equally distributed between the age groups 31-35 and 36-40, while males who applied represented and overwhelming 72%. 65% of the selected candidates were male, with an average age of 36, and whose field of study belonged to STEM.

European Neighbourhood

Eligible applications increased by 23% compared to 2020, yet one less scholarship has been awarded to EN, following the declining of the last years.

The university that received most applications was the University of Padova. Morocco and Georgia were the top countries of origin of the 91 eligible candidates.


A parity for candidates aged 26-30 and 31-35 was registered, both accounting for 45%. Females applied far more than males, representing the 67% of total applications. In line with these figures, female selected candidates were 53%, with an average age of 31. 67% of the selected candidates were doing research in fields related to STEM.



The Coimbra Group Office is grateful to its member universities for their kind contributions and for enhancing the visibility of the association in Africa, Latin America and the European Neighbourhood. The universities participating to this year’s programme were 19, with a total of 79 scholarships granted. With respect to 2020, we see the number of participating universities and scholarships increasing by around 6%, in line with the trends of previous years. Notwithstanding the great dedication of our partner universities, it is a fact that the number of applications continues to be much higher than the number of grants available. Therefore, we auspicate that the number of universities taking part to the programme, as long as the number of available grants, will keep growing in the following years to meet an even greater demand, also considering the fact the benefits of the Scholarship programme for the participants, evidenced by the regular testimonies of gratitude received from the beneficiaries. Similarly, the added value brought by the applicants to the host universities is reflected in the decision made by some CG members to open extra scholarships at the end of the selection process, given the high quality of the applications submitted.


The Scholarship Programme:

Since 1999 the Coimbra Group has offered young researchers from outside the EU the opportunity to carry out part of their research for a period of one to three months at a Coimbra Group University. This scholarship programme was initially established to assist scholars from disadvantaged areas in Central and Eastern Europe and it was modelled upon the Oxford Hospitality Scheme for Polish Scholars, which operated with great success throughout the 1980s and beyond. Having gained increasing popularity over the years, and following the needs brought about by a changed geo-political scene, these short-term research grants were extended to young researchers from the European Neighbourhood, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa.

For more information on the programme, visit our dedicated webpage.