Fund Details
Wilbur G. Downs Fellowship
Award Amount
Competition Type

Brief Description:

The Downs Fellowship supports graduate and professional Yale students who undertake health-related research primarily in low- and middle-income countries. The Downs Fellowship provides opportunities for challenging experiences abroad as Fellows create and improvise in the face of unforeseen events, acquiring new perspectives on their responsibilities and capabilities as professionals. The Downs Fellowship Committee makes awards based on merit. Funding award of $4000.00 in addition to covered expenses related to round-trip airfare, visa and pre-travel health consult and vaccines.


The Downs Fellowship was started in 1966 by Wilbur G. Downs (1913 - 1991), MD, MPH, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine, renowned physician/scientist in the fields of tropical medicine and infectious diseases, mentor to many students and colleagues. The Fellowship supports graduate and professional Yale students who undertake health-related research primarily in low- and middle-income countries. The Downs Fellowship Committee awards Downs Fellowships based on merit.

Downs Fellows carry out research in the context of their host countries’ culture, health problems and resources. The Fellowship provides funds for transportation to and from overseas project sites, cost of visas, site-specific drugs, immunizations, evacuation insurance and a modest stipend. Although students may initiate projects, Yale faculty members provide intellectual support, practical assistance and links with host-country sponsors who serve as mentors during the Fellows time abroad. The choice of research topic and methodological detail are joint responsibilities of applicants and advisors. Any member of the Yale faculty may sponsor applicants. Downs Fellows present their research findings and experiences at the Annual Down Fall Symposium and Poster Session. Most Fellows further develop their studies into a thesis or dissertation.

Since 1966, the Downs Fellowship has provided opportunities for almost 400 students to live, learn, work and do research in overseas settings. Many projects supported by the Downs Fellowship have led to outstanding research projects, as well as oral presentations and posters at national and international health conferences. Through their work, Fellows have contributed to an increased understanding of epidemiological, genetic, biological, clinical and social patterns in health and medicine. Surveys have shown that past Fellows have been deeply influenced by their experiences abroad, which have helped them shape new perspectives on their responsibilities and capabilities as health professionals.

Accepted Fellow Responsibilities:

        • To conduct your study upholding the highest scientific and ethical standards
        • Adhere to the Fellowship rules and instructions as communicated by the Chair of the Downs Fellowship Committee 
        • Participation in International Pre-Departure Training workshop prior to departure. Date and time of scheduled sessions will be announced 
        • Welcome back social with Fellows and Committee members
        • Individual debriefing session with assigned Committee member
        • Submit a preliminary research report of your project. Criteria TBA upon return to Yale in the fall 
        • Present your project results at the annual Downs Fellowship Symposium. Each Fellow is required to present a research poster or give an oral presentation (associated costs will be covered directly by Downs Fellowship). 
        • Attend New Fellow Induction Celebration (spring)
        • Be willing to serve as a resource to students interested in applying for Downs Fellowship

        • Participate in new applicant events such as info sessions and project prep and/or pre-departure panels
        • Apply to sit as a student representative on the Downs Fellowship Committee for two academic semesters

Application Information:

Application for the Downs Fellowship is through this Student Grants Database. Materials which are required  will include, but may not be limited to, the following:
  • Biographical information including education background and prior experience abroad
  • Detailed research plan including: background and significance of proposed research; site description; hypothesis to be tested and long-term implications of the study; research design and methods; and, ethical concerns which pertain to this study
  • Projected budget
  • Personal health and safety assessment
  • Letter of support from a Yale faculty advisor (to be requested and uploaded via the Student Grants Database)
  • A letter of support from a host-country sponsor (to be requested and uploaded via the Student Grants Database)

Special Eligibility Requirements:

Please be advised that all recipients of the Downs Fellowship are required to have their proposals approved by both Yale and host-country IRB boards prior to the start of their projects.

Applications for the Downs Fellowship will not be accepted from students that are also applying for the Yale Collaborative Action Project (Y-CAP).

Contact Information:

For questions about this application, please contact Anjuli Bodyk at

Search Filters:

Current Year of Study
  • Master’s Student
  • MD
  • PhD Pre-Candidacy
    Term of Award
    • Summer
      Grant or Fellowship Purpose
      • Internship/Work
      • Project
      • Research
        Global Region or Country
        • Africa
        • Asia
        • Latin America and Caribbean
        • Middle East & Persian Gulf
        • Oceania
          Citizenship Status
          • U.S. citizens are eligible
          • Non-U.S. citizens are eligible
            Current FAS Graduate School Discipline
            • GS A&S Science - Epidemiology and Public Health
            • GS A&S Science - Forestry and Environmental Studies
            • GS A&S Social Science - Anthropology
              Current Professional School Discipline
              • School of Epidemiology and Public Health All
              • Yale School of the Environment
              • School of Medicine All
              • School of Nursing All
                Begin Accepting Applications Date:
                Deadline Date (EST Time Zone) :
                3/01/2024 8:00 AM