About the Program

The world is moving fast to a more plural distribution of power. Non-Western powers are increasingly bringing their perspectives into the global policy-making process, challenging European and other Western powers. They contribute their own interpretations of global norms to the discussion based on different interests and historical and cultural trajectories. As a result, policy-making on key global challenges ranging from security to humanitarian assistance to human rights to Internet governance becomes more contested.

There is a need for better academic understanding of the workings of multilateralism in an increasingly “post-Western” world. European scholars and policymakers alike stand to profit from deeper familiarity with the traditions, motivations, and worldviews of powers not traditionally regarded as part of “the West.” Conversely, scholars and policy makers from outside Europe are often not fully immersed into the diverse set of influences on Europe’s multilateral policies. In other words, there is a need for mutual learning and exchange. One way of achieving this is for European scholars to forge closer ties with researchers from countries not traditionally part of the West.

The aim of the Global Challenges Fellowship Program (GCFP) is to invite researchers and practitioners from nine emerging countries to the School of Public Policy at Central European University (SPP) and the Central European University Institute for Advanced Study (CEU IAS) in Budapest, Hungary and the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) in Berlin, Germany to foster new forms of collaboration. This serves the ultimate purpose of forging closer ties between Western and non-Western researchers and policy makers, offering fresh perspectives on some of the world’s most pressing public policy challenges, challenges which can only be resolved together.

The fellows spend a total of approximately 7-8 months as Global Challenges Fellows (GCF) doing analytical and empirical work in Budapest, and engaging with policy practitioners at GPPi in Berlin. While the exact timetable depends on the specifications of each research project, the majority of time (about 75%) is spent in Budapest.

The program supports up to two junior and two senior Fellows per year. During their fellowship, they publish journal articles and/or policy papers and participate in a series of small working group-style discussions and seminars. Fellows’ work is situated within one of the following focal research areas:

  • Development and governance
  • Internet Governance
  • Changing global institutions

The Global Challenges Fellowship Program is implemented with generous support from the Volkswagen Foundation.

Meet Current Fellows

Medha Chaturvedi is focusing on left-wing extremism and political participation in India. Hear about how her research can contribute to improved policy-making in India.

Mohammad Hassan Khani is researching how regional integration can bring about lasting peace and stability in the Middle East.

John Luiz focuses on institutions in developing countries, in particular how multinational companies adapt their strategies in environments where institutions are weak or underdeveloped.

Who Can Apply?

The GCFP brings researchers from emerging economies outside the “established West” to SPP and CEU IAS as well as to GPPi. The focus is on researchers (in particular those in the field of public policy) from Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, and Turkey. The researchers must be resident in these countries—Chinese or Indian nationals working permanently in the US, for example, are not eligible for the program.

Selection Criteria

The selection is based on good publication record, promising research agenda, relevance and feasibility of the proposed project, record of policy engagement and English language proficiency.


SPP, CEU IAS, and GPPi will continue to engage with the alumni of the program after their stay in Budapest and Berlin, building on a community of scholars that share the concerns of enhancing understanding and improving policy-making in a changing global environment. During the fellowship, the respective hosts support the fellows in building professional ties with the academic and policy research communities in Budapest and the policy research and analysis communities in Berlin to lay the foundations for lasting engagement and exchange.


GCF Partners

CEU Institute for Advanced Study
School of Public Policy at Central European University
Global Public Policy Institute


Please send any questions or comments about the Global Challenges Fellowship (GCF), including those regarding applications, to gcf@ceu.edu