Projects and scholars submitted to the CADFP are evaluated through a three-tiered review process.

  • Tier One--Technical Review:  This process is conducted by IIE staff and confirms that the host institution and scholar are eligible to participate in the CADFP, and that all application materials have been submitted.  Incomplete applications may be given time to submit required materials.
  • Tier Two--Discipline and Regional Review:  Eligible project-scholar packages are assigned to committees made up of scholars representing an array of disciplines, all of whom have experience working in academic systems in Sub-Saharan Africa.  Disciplinary committees either recommend applicants for final selection, or do not recommend them, in which case the project goes no further and will not be funded.  Notifications are sent to all hosts and scholar applicants informing them of the recommendation status of their submissions.
  • Tier Three--Advisory Council Selection:  The Advisory Council of the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program reviews all recommended projects and scholars and makes the final selection of which projects will receive CADFP funding.  IIE makes notifications to all projects and scholars that had been recommended as to the final status of their applications.

Review Criteria

  • Quality of proposed project
  • Evidence of mutual benefit for host institution and scholar in proposed project
  • Appropriateness of time proposed for project visit
  • Fit and quality of proposed scholar match
  • Potential for impact
  • Host institution cost share

From the review criteria posted on the program website, a summary of what to look for follows:

Quality of proposed project

  • Specific and relevant activities are proposed to collaborate on research, curriculum co- development, and/or graduate student teaching, training and mentoring.
  • Strong project concept and rationale are provided; project demonstrates innovation and is practical.
  • Project Request clearly indicates what has been done by the institution on the proposed topic(s), the committed resources of the host institution, the host institution’s need(s)/problem(s) to be addressed, the goals of the project and what will change/ improve in order to meet the need(s)/solve the problem(s) and the anticipated specific role of the Diaspora Fellow in the proposed activities.
  • Clear mission of what the host institution wants to accomplish through project visit is articulated, and justification is provided on reasons to partner in the effort with a Diaspora scholar.
  • Project contributes to the overall CADFP goal of strengthening higher education in the continent.

Evidence of mutual benefit for host institution and scholar in proposed project

  • Mutual benefits are clearly outlined.
  • Concerted effort is demonstrated to include, engage and provide benefits to host institution and scholar home institution.
  • Home institution has experience, linkages and demonstrates commitment to support diaspora initiative.

*Partnerships between established and upcoming universities are encouraged.

*Applicants are encouraged to apply to host institutions whose status is equivalent to their home institutions.

Appropriateness of time proposed for project visit

  • Time proposed is sufficient to accomplish the specific objectives for the project visit. 
  • Project is feasible in time proposed for visit; project activities are focused and not too broad for the project visit time period.
  • Proposed project fits into longer term collaboration and goals of the home and host institutions.

Fit and quality of proposed scholar match

  • The proposed scholar’s discipline, subfields, areas of expertise and professional experience and motivation for applying are well-suited to the success and impact of the project.

Potential for impact

  • Project forms or builds on a strong base for continued partnership.
  • Evidence of sustainability of project is presented.
  • If potential impact of longer term project will take more time to be realized or evaluated, explanation is provided on how initial impact of project visit will be measured or how it is expected to contribute to larger goals.
  • Projects which include curriculum development provide the actual or anticipated course titles and number of courses to be evaluated and developed, and how the host institution plans to staff teaching of new curricula. Collaborative research includes anticipated publication titles and academic journals for publication, where applicable. Projects in graduate student teaching and mentoring indicate the number and type of graduate students who will be taught and/or mentored (name, if possible) and the nature of the relationships (i.e. course instruction, thesis/dissertation advising, dissertation committee, research methodology training, etc.).

Host institution cost share

  • Host institution demonstrates commitment to project activities by offering cost share for lodging and/or meals.  Host institution commits to host, support the fellow and to report on the fellowship visit.
  • Host institution will arrange for transportation from/to the airport in Africa, provide food and lodging. 


Reviewers rate each project request and proposed scholar match, using the following scale:

  1. Highly Recommend (HR)
    Project quality is considered outstanding, with clear evidence of mutual benefit, an appropriate timeframe and high potential for impact. The proposed scholar’s expertise, experience, and motivation for applying are extremely well suited to the success and impact of the project. The host institution demonstrates capacity for hosting and commitment to the project activities by cost sharing lodging, meals and local transportation between the airport and lodging.
  2. Recommend (R)
    Project quality is considered to be at a sufficiently high level to meet the program goal and purpose, explains mutual benefit, proposes an acceptable timeframe and shows promising impact potential. The proposed scholar’s expertise, experience and motivation for applying fit the needs of the project. The host institution demonstrates some ability to cost share lodging and/or meals.
  3. Not Recommended (NR)
    Project lacks sufficient quality, does not demonstrate mutual benefit, is not considered feasible in time proposed or shows little potential for impact 
    and/or the proposed scholar’s expertise, experience or motivation for applying are not considered a good fit for the success and impact of the project.
  4. Recuse (RE)
    Unable to review due to conflict of interest
    Reviewers will not review scholar applications from their home institution. Reviewers will also recuse themselves from reviewing a project request or scholar application submitted by a member of their family or from someone with whom they have worked closely, for example, co-taught or co-published.
The CADFP is made possible by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York.