Faculty for the Future General FAQs | Schlumberger
General FAQs
Questions about the Schlumberger Foundation & the Faculty for the Future program


The Faculty for the Future grant program seeks to positively impact gender balance in science disciplines by reinforcing the presence and qualifications of women university teachers in developing and emerging economies. We firmly believe that better gender balance at the faculty level will encourage more women to study STEM disciplines.

When should I apply for a Faculty for the Future grant?

Each year, the application session for a grant opens in mid-September, and applications can be submitted up until approximately mid-November. As an example timeline, if you apply to a host university during 2019 and receive a grant (results announced at the end of March), it is valid until spring 2021, by which time you must have started your studies in the host university of your choice.

What disciplines are eligible?

Eligible applicants are preparing for PhD or postdoctoral study in STEM and related fields or crossdisciplinary studies involving the major STEM fields. Awards in the biological sciences are limited. Download a table of typical disciplines here.

How many grants were awarded for the 2017–2018 academic year?

Out of 613 applications submitted for the 2016-2017 academic year, 39 new grants were awarded.

What is the duration of a new grant?

The initial duration of the grant is for one academic year. The renewal of the grant is not automatic but is subject to a review of the academic progress and quality of references by the Schlumberger Foundation team.

Can the grant be renewed, and if so, for how many years?

Grants are awarded on a one-year basis and can be renewed through to completion of PhD or postdoc study, subject to performance, outreach, and collaboration initiatives and recommendations from supervisors (preferably host and home universities, respectively). The decision to renew a grant is left to the sole discretion of the Schlumberger Foundation, based upon consideration of the goals of the Faculty for the Future program. Considerations we take when candidates approach completion stages are

  • quality of the home reintegration plans and the follow-up to implement these plans as evidenced by job searches at home
  • collaboration, research, or publications with institutions at home
  • active participation in important discourse of relevance to the home country.

What language skills are required?

Applicants need to have an excellent knowledge of the language at the universities they wish to attend. They also need to have English skills sufficient for an interview in English as well as to enable Schlumberger Foundation’s mission to encourage creating an international community of woman leaders who act as change agents in their home countries.

May I change my research project or host university if I receive an award?

Applicants may not change their research project or choice of host university once they have submitted their application. If you are selected for an award, you may not subsequently modify your research project or host university without the prior approval of the Schlumberger Foundation.


You are eligible only if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • you are a female citizen of a developing country or emerging economy. You are not eligible if you hold dual citizenship of which one is citizenship of a developed country. (Note: If you have been awarded a grant and then obtain citizenship of a developed country, the grant will be discontinued as of the date of such additional citizenship)
  • you are preparing for PhD or postdoctoral studies in the physical sciences, engineering, and related disciplines; awards in biological sciences are limited to interdisciplinary research between physical and biological sciences (see this PDF for typical disciplines awarded)
  • you are currently enrolled, have been admitted to, or have applied to a host university or research institute abroad; if you are applying for a “sandwich” PhD, it is essential that the final degree is awarded by the host university abroad, not from the home country university
  • you have a proven track record of teaching experience
  • you hold an excellent academic record
  • you can demonstrate active participation in faculty life and outreach programs to encourage young women to pursue studies in the sciences
  • you are willing to contribute to the socioeconomic development of your home country and region by strengthening the faculties in your home universities, pursuing relevant research, or using your scientific expertise to address public policy matters.

Are Schlumberger employees eligible to apply for grants?


Is eligibility limited to women?

Yes. As described in our guiding documents, our long-term goal is to support role models and improve gender balance at the faculty level so that more young women are attracted to scientific disciplines.

Is there an age limit?

No. However, the selection process considers the remaining teaching years after the PhD or postdoc has been acquired.

Am I eligible to apply if I am already living in a developed country?

You are eligible if you are a citizen from a developing or emerging country but reside in a developed country to pursue your studies. You are not eligible if you hold dual citizenship with a developed country.

Am I eligible to apply if I have already started PhD or postdoc study? Yes.

Am I eligible to apply if I plan to pursue my PhD or postdoctorate in a university of another developing or emerging country?

The Faculty for the Future program aims to give the opportunity to scientific women from developing and emerging countries to pursue a PhD or a postdoc in the best universities abroad. If you've been accepted in a university of excellence, you are eligible to apply, even if the university is not in a developed country. However, the host university must not be in your home country, unless it is a sandwich program, in which case the final degree must be issued by the foreign host university.

Do I have to find a host university myself?

Yes. All applicants are responsible for finding a host university and a host university supervisor themselves.

Is there an accredited list of host universities?

No, but you are encouraged to apply to the best universities abroad in your discipline. The university that you are enrolled in will be considered in the decision process.

Am I eligible for a grant if I pursue postdoc research on my own?

One of the criteria of eligibility is that you have applied to, have been admitted to, or are currently enrolled in a university abroad to pursue PhD or postdoc research.

Is pursuit of an academic career mandatory? Is it mandatory to return to my home country? Am I eligible without yet holding a faculty position?

We do not require any document certifying that you will have a faculty position when you return to your home country upon completion of your studies. However, during the selection process (for both new and renewals), the reviewing committee closely examines evidence of the commitment to return home and the level of relationships with any home country universities, research, or other institutions in the relevant discipline. The quality of this evidence—and in the case of renewals in later years of the program of study, the actual effort—as evidenced by applicants’ initiative to find research, faculty, or other positions or to engage in various collaborative or significant outreach projects with home country institutions, has a significant impact on the likelihood of receiving and renewing an award.

Which home return plans should be demonstrated?

Depending on the study year you are applying for, you should demonstrate the following:

  • 3 years before graduation: show active links with home universities or other institutions
  • 2 years before graduation: collaborate and actively engage with home country communities
  • 1 year before graduation: show job offer, job applications, or comparable evidence of steps in furtherance of return to your home country.

Can I plan to study in my home country?

In some cases, “sandwich programs” are accepted where students spend only a part of the grant year in a university abroad. In these cases, the final PhD degree must be awarded by the foreign host university.

May I plan to study in another developing country?

Yes, you are eligible if you have been accepted to a university of excellence in another developing country.

Can I apply for postdoc funding if I have pursued my PhD in a developed country but wish to continue my postdoc research at the same university where I obtained my PhD?

Yes, but note that there is a statistically higher number of postdoc grants awarded to applicants for whom a postdoc research position would give international experience for the first time.

Why is my country not on the list when another source lists it as a developing country?

The determination or classification of a country as advanced, developing, or emerging is a complex process, requiring the analysis of numerous, often changing criteria. Schlumberger derives its eligible country list from several objective sources, including the multi-variable United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) including the Gender Development and Gender Empowerment Indexes, as well as indicators of adult educational levels. The list is reviewed every year and levels of development fluctuate, so a country may be on the list this year and not the next, or vice versa.

Selection Process

What is the selection process?

  • Round 1 is based on compliance with eligibility criteria, with consideration given to the applicant’s country, discipline of study, educational plans, and overall application quality. Noncompliant applications are eliminated.
  • Round 2 reviews the first shortlist based on
    • academic performance
    • quality of host university as well as knowledge of (future) research department in host university and evidence of interaction with host university supervisor
    • quality of references
    • scientific interest of research proposal
    • commitment to teaching
    • relevance of research to home country
    • commitment to inspiring or mentorship to young women and others to pursue studies in the sciences
    • outreach to communities in any areas demonstrating leadership and a willingness to be a change agent.
  • Round 3 is when the Schlumberger Foundation’s scientific committee reviews the second shortlist with a focus on quality of research proposal, scientific interest, and relevance to home country.
  • Round 4 is when Schlumberger Foundation Board of Directors members interview the final shortlisted candidates by telephone
  • Round 5 selects the grant recipients.

The final selection of award recipients always remains at the discretion of the Schlumberger Foundation.

How competitive is the Selection Process?

The selection process is highly competitive. Out of 613 applications submitted for the 2016–2017 academic year, 39 new grants were awarded.

Personal Considerations

Can my spouse and family come with me if I get an award? What about visas? What about financial support for family?

Your spouse and children can accompany you to your host country. However, the Schlumberger Foundation does not handle, or assume responsibility for, the visa process. The grant is intended to cover only the tuition fees and living expenses of the grant recipient and does not cover the financial costs of an entire family. An additional child care grant is available under certain conditions.

Will the grant support my family, too?

Faculty for the Future grants are based on actual expenses to be incurred by the student only. This typically includes university tuition and bench fees, accommodation costs, and a living allowance (e.g., food, a small allowance for books and supplies, medical insurance, child care, transport costs), in addition to a budget for initial travel to the host country, visa charges, as well as conference expenses. Grants can be up to USD 50,000 per year for PhD courses and a maximum of USD 40,000 for postdoc research programs. In addition, and at the discretion of the Schlumberger Foundation, an exceptional child care grant may be awarded (per eligible child) to a grantee when certain conditions are met. See the Financial section of the application form for more details.

Is there financial support for grantees' children?

At the discretion of the Schlumberger Foundation, an exceptional child care grant may be awarded (per eligible child) to a grantee where the following conditions are met:

  • the child or children are not older than 15 years of age (proof of age may be required)
  • the child or children permanently reside in the same household as the grantee in the host country
  • the grantee provides proof of reasonable and documented childcare costs. All daycare expenses must be supported by a formal letter from the daycare center, including the name of the child and an estimate of monthly charges.

The Foundation may award up to USD 3,000 per year per child under 6 years and up to USD 1,500 per year per child from 6 to 15 years. The total child care grant shall not exceed USD 10,000 per grantee in any grant year.

Does the grant cover school tuition fees for children?

The Faculty for the Future grant does not cover school tuition fees for children but covers a contribution toward preschool daycare costs and afterschool care costs.

What should I do if I need to interrupt my study for more than 4 weeks due to personal circumstances (e.g., health or family)?

You must inform the Foundation staff of the interruption and the reasons for it. When doing so, please explain how this affects your studies or research project and your plans to deal with this interruption as well as your host institution position during the interruption.

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