Research Grants


    Doctoral Research Grants



    The Al Qasimi Foundation's Doctoral Research Grants encourage scholars from a wide range of disciplines and professional fields to undertake research toward informing policymaking in the United Arab Emirates. The Grants are open to PhD students from all nationalities studying at an accredited university in the United Arab Emirates or abroad.

    Doctoral Research Grants financially support PhD candidates in the research phase of their dissertations. Currently, two awards are available each year for applied research projects that have Ras Al Khaimah as a primary site for data gathering and analysis. The Grant covers all student expenses associated with their field research in the United Arab Emirates, including return airfares, furnished accommodation for up to 12 months, a stipend to cover living costs, and research support. Recipients are expected to produce one to two policy papers as part of the Grant and record a podcast or make at least one presentation to the local research community.

    Please see the Past Grantee Database and Foundation Publications for samples of past research topics and working papers written by grant recipients.

    Grant Objectives

    • Provide opportunities for distinguished doctoral candidates to realize their potential in conducting innovative, applied research while making a positive impact on the Ras Al Khaimah community
    • Foster high-quality research that supports the development of the region's research capacity
    • Build a community of scholars and promote collaboration among highly recognized international universities and national institutions in the United Arab Emirates
    • Promote cross-cultural exchange that sparks curiosity and new ideas and also facilitates understanding

    Grant Eligibility

    The minimum eligibility criteria for prospective applicants seeking Doctoral Research Grants:

    • Applicant must be a current PhD student at an accredited university in good academic standing.
    • Applicant must have a minimum TOEFL iBT score of 85 or IELTS score of 6.5 if English is a secondary language.
    • Applicant must have all PhD coursework completed and be ready to conduct the field research component of his/her dissertation.
    • Applicant must have a research proposal that is approved (or is in the process of being approved) by the applicant’s advisor and graduate program. The approved proposal should include a literature review and significant detail on research methodology.
    • The proposed research must have Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from the applicant's home institution.
    • The proposed research must focus on the United Arab Emirates, and specifically the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. If the research proposal includes other locations, Ras Al Khaimah must be a significant focus for data gathering and analysis.
    • Proposed research must address an education, public policy, or closely related social science issue or question. Relevant topics (dependent on research question) may include areas such as education, urban planning/development, public health, economic development, food access, and energy or environmental policy.

      The following research areas do not qualify for Doctoral Research Grants because they are not considered policy-related: business or marketing, agronomy, engineering, IT or computer science, laboratory-based or scientific studies, and medical degrees.

    Selection Criteria

    If an applicant meets the minimum eligibility criteria noted above, he/she is encouraged to apply for a Doctoral Research Grant. The Grant is awarded based on merit as measured by academic performance and relevance of proposed research. The applicant’s intended field of study is also considered in the evaluation process, with preference given to those candidates pursuing a degree in education, public policy (such as urban planning, economics, public health, environment), or closely related fields. The Al Qasimi Foundation Directors and Advisory Board serve as the evaluation and selection committee.

    The Grant review process is competitive. While the Al Qasimi Foundation receives many excellent and high-quality proposals, only two Doctoral Research Grants are available each year. The proposals chosen for funding represent the innovative ideas that align best with the Al Qasimi Foundation’s overall mission to aid in the social and economic development of Ras Al Khaimah.

    Application Process

    Before applying, please review the grant handbook, as it contains important information for applicants and recipients.

    The 2024 research grant submission cycle, which includes Doctoral Research Grants, opens November 1, 2023, with a closing deadline of April 1, 2024. Prospective applicants should create an account in the Foundation’s grant management portal and follow the Doctoral Research Grant application instructions once submissions open. The online application form and all documents noted below must be uploaded and submitted in the grant management portal no later than April 1, 2024 to be considered:

    • Online application form in the grant management portal.
    • Two-page essay in the form of a cover letter outlining reasons why the applicant is interested in a Doctoral Research Grant. The letter should address (1) prior experiences, coursework, and skills relevant to the proposed field research; (2) how the proposed research aligns with the Al Qasimi Foundation's mission; (3) what the applicant hopes to gain from the field research experience; and (4) how the field research experience fits into the applicant's long-term academic and professional goals.
    • CV or resume outlining educational background, research experience, publications, work experience, honors and awards, and co-curricular activities.
    • Current official transcript of applicant's doctoral program (and official transcripts for all completed degrees).
    • Official copy of a TOEFL or IELTS score report (only necessary for applicants for whom English is a secondary language).
    • Copy of the approved research proposal or preliminary proposal. Please indicate specific facilities, special equipment, or other resources required to conduct the proposed research. The proposal should also include information on potential dates and duration of the field research component in Ras Al Khaimah.
    • Completed Doctoral Research Grant Budget Template detailing itemized expenditures and total grant request.
    • Official documentation of IRB approval for the proposed research from the applicant's home institution (or plans for gaining if not available at time of application)
    • Two letters of reference that address the suitability of the candidate. One letter must be from the applicant’s doctoral advisor, and the other should be from another academic. Both letters must indicate the length of time, extent, and nature of the recommending party's relationship with the applicant.

    All materials submitted for funding consideration will automatically become the property of the Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research and will not be returned to the sender.

    Application Deadline

    All required materials must be submitted through the grant management portal no later than April 1, 2024. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered. Review generally takes 6-8 weeks based on the volume of submissions received. Applicants should receive an update on the status of their proposal by the end of June 2024. Questions regarding Doctoral Research Grants, the application process, or submission status may be sent to