Democracy Fellows and Grants Program

USAID Democracy Fellows and Grants Program

The Democracy Fellows and Grants Program (DFG), engages committed professionals and the research community to support USAID in advancing democracy, good governance, and human rights around the world.

Beginning in September 2012, the Institute of International Education (IIE) assumed management of USAID’s Democracy Fellows and Grants Program (DFG), under a five-year cooperative agreement with USAID’s Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance (DRG Center). Building on IIE’s established ties to US universities at the forefront of research in DRG sub-sectors and decades of experience managing fellowships and information exchange, DFG is designed to:

  • Develop a pool of committed DRG professionals at the junior, mid, and senior levels
  • Strengthen relations between USAID and academic, think tank, and research organizations in the DRG fields
  • Promote research and innovative solutions to DRG programs by accessing and applying the learning and innovation among DRG scholars, research institutions, and practitioners.

USAID’s Democracy Fellows Program was initiated first in 1995 to promote democratic practices in emerging and transitional democracies by placing experienced DRG professionals within USAID. The current iteration of the DFG program is the first to offer grants to research institutions, as well as fellowships to DRG professionals.

Please join DFG Mailing List to be notified of available Fellowships and Grants.

Theories of Change

(MSU) professors Dr. Erica Frantz and Dr. Jeff Conroy-Krutz facilitated the first Think Session of Phase II of the Theories of Democratic Change Research Initiative on December 9, 2016. Held at IIE’s offices, the Think Session brought together academics and USAID staff to discuss MSU’s first draft of their White Paper synthesizing and evaluating academic research on how small openings or liberalizations within authoritarian regimes can lead to paths away from authoritarianism. Learn more

Learning Agenda

On November 14, 2016, representatives from four multi-disciplinary research teams led by Northwestern University, the University of Denver, the University of Virginia, and Wayne State University presented to USAID staff their findings from literature reviews conducted in response to one of USAID’s 2016 Learning Agenda research questions. Learn more

Professional Lunch

On January 31, 2017, IIE hosted a Democracy Fellows luncheon, inviting a USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator to train Fellows in best practices for preparing and presenting deep technical knowledge for high-level policymakers. The DFG program schedules Democracy Fellow lunches on a quarterly basis as a way for Democracy Fellows to share experiences and network with each other.

Learn more


This program is sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This web site program page is made possible by the generous support of the American people through USAID. The contents are the responsibility of the Institute of International Education (IIE) and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.