You are viewing a preview of this job. Log in or register to view more details about this job.

International Humanitarian Shelter and Settlements (HS&S) Research Fellowship

For questions related to the HS&S Fellowship, please send your emails to:


Since 2013, the U.S. Agency for International Development Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, or USAID/BHA, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity International and supported by InterAction, have sponsored graduate students through fellowship opportunities, helping boost their research and launch their futures in the humanitarian shelter and settlement sector.

USAID/BHA currently seeks to enhance its leadership efforts, improve its response programming in the humanitarian Shelter and Settlements (S&S) sector, increase the awareness of the sector in the U.S, and expand career options for those interested in S&S sector activities. USAID/BHA views S&S sector activities broadly to include not only provision of shelter to disaster/crisis-affected populations, but also the linked activities of settlements planning, disaster risk reduction, natural resource management, climate change adaptation, and proximate economic factors. USAID/BHA has also contributed to emerging humanitarian community interest in the Settlements Approach (integrated, multi-sector activities in socio-economically defined space), particularly in urban areas, and the linkage of this approach to follow-on recovery and reconstruction efforts.

Fellowship Description:
USAID/BHA seeks to motivate fellows to professionally engage in the humanitarian S&S sector by supporting the thesis or professional report writing efforts of at least five (5) fellows during 2024. Fellows will be U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are currently enrolled full-time in accredited graduate school programs in the U.S. or U.S. citizens studying abroad in disciplines like:

  • City, Urban, Environmental, or Regional Planning, and
  • Architecture or Architectural engineering
  • Civil or Environmental Engineering
  • International or Development Studies
  • Humanities or Social Studies
  • Or similar disciplines

Ideally, successful candidates would be first-year, Masters-level, graduate students, in the programs listed above, who are interested in commencing work on a thesis or professional report as a requirement for graduation. The topic of this graduate student research will take place in an INTERNATIONAL setting outside the U.S. Examples of possible research topics include, but are not limited to, any of the following research priorities identified by the Global Shelter Cluster:

  • The Longer Term, including Recovery- Managing the transition of crisis affected households to longer term recovery in conflict and disasters contexts.

Sample research questions include:

  1. Which evidence exists to demonstrate how best to support households who have lost their shelter and settlements in the longer term?
  2. What are the barriers to supporting households who have lost their shelter and settlements in the longer term?
  3. How are households themselves able to recover in the longer term?
  • Cash and Markets in support of Shelter and Settlements- How households effectively use cash to secure and support their shelter and settlements in conflict and disasters contexts.

Sample research questions include:

  1. Which evidence demonstrates criteria which indicate that cash programming will work well for those who have lost their shelter and settlements, in comparison with other modalities?
  2. What is the impact of cash programming for households who have lost their shelter and settlements, in comparison with other modalities?
  • The Wider Impacts of Shelter and Settlements- Measuring the contribution of shelter and settlements assistance to wider humanitarian outcomes in conflict and disasters contexts, especially with regard to livelihoods, physical and mental health, social cohesion, gender and society, risk from hazards and access to basic services.

Sample research questions include:

  1. Which evidence demonstrates the role of shelter and settlements in Gender-Based Violence -GBV/health/livelihoods/safety of households who have lost their shelter and settlements?
  2. How do the wider impacts of supporting households who have lost their shelter and settlements indicate how support is best provided?

Graduate work on any of the above topics could entail travel to Washington, D.C., USA, or to sites in other countries. Work could also be performed at the home universities of graduate fellows, but international field research is preferred and highly encouraged if it is safe to do so (provided there are no travel restrictions in place in the selected country and fellows should accomplish all needed vaccination and insurance requirements).

Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) is collaborating with USAID/BHA to support these graduate student fellowships. The home university graduate student research/professional report advisor will oversee and be responsible for the quality, progress, and completion of the research and final deliverables. Both USAID/BHA and HFHI will receive e-copies of approved theses and professional reports from graduate students, encourage fellows to publish work in peer-review journals and humanitarian publications, host an end-of-project presentation of the research work, and would welcome the opportunity to serve on thesis or professional report committees.

USAID/BHA anticipates a minimum of five awards of up to $19,000 each (made up of $10,000 for stipend and up to $9,000 for travel related expenses if necessary) to support graduate research. Awards will support fellowship research for approximately ten months and cover basic expenses that might include travel, lodging and research-related costs (e.g., medical evacuation insurance, visas, vaccinations, etc.). USAID/BHA, through HFHI, will provide basic administrative support for the graduate students. A final report and end-of-project presentation must be completed by February 28th, 2025.

If you are interested in applying, please complete the following survey by Thursday at 5:00 PM EST, March 14, 2024. The shortlisting process for applicants will take place in March. We expect to launch of the Research Fellowship in April 2024, and end in February 2025.