DPIR to host Chevening Gurukul Fellowship for another three years


The Department is delighted to announce that it has been awarded the contract to deliver the Chevening Gurukul Fellowship for Leadership and Excellence until 2025 with a likely extension until 2027

The programme is funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), and has been running for over 20 years. FCDO invites competitive bids from leading UK universities. DPIR’s first bid was successful and we have run programmes since 2017, with a break during the pandemic years. Richard Briant will continue as the Director of the programme, with DPIR’s Professor Stephen Whitefield as Academic Director.

The University of Oxford has run successful Chevening Fellowship programmes annually over the past twelve years, building strong bonds with South Asia, the British High Commissions in India and Sri Lanka, the FCDO and the Chevening Secretariat.

Professor Stephen Whitefield commented: "It has been a great pleasure to welcome Gurukul Fellows to Oxford and to DPIR in recent years and we are delighted that we have been asked by the FCDO to continue to host Gurukul over the next years.

"Our success is based in large part on the quality of the academic, leadership and cultural programme that we are able to provide in Oxford. Those who have met the Fellows will also know how much they bring to us. They are a simply outstanding group of people with deep commitments to using their skills and experience, and what they learn in Oxford, to the development of India and particularly to its poorest citizens. Truly, the Fellows can be inspirational.”

The Gurukul Fellowship is for mid-career professionals from diverse economic sectors, professions and geographies (in India). The Fellowships are highly competitive with a 3 stage selection process. Previous Fellows have included everyone from civil servants and police inspectors to academics and aerospace engineers.

Under the new agreement, a total of 12 Fellows will be selected annually to come to Oxford for an intensive 11-week residential course. Gurukul Fellows have a collegiate affiliation with St Cross College and are academic visitors to DPIR.

During their Fellowship, they have a robust teaching schedule covering diverse global challenges and are tasked with using the Fellowship to either create a business plan, funding proposal, or undertake an academic project. They also undertake a one-week trip to Scotland to learn about the UK and devolution and embark on a varied cultural programme to integrate them into the academic and cultural life of the University and Department.

The interview process for the next cohort will take place in May this year, with the Fellowship commencing in September 2023.


“The last few weeks at Oxford University as an academic visitor freed up some space for me to reflect on an assortment of issues that are shaping the world we live in. We had professors and practitioners talking to us – a diverse set of Fellows selected from different disciplines – about their work and concerns around politics and international governance, net zero emissions, gender intelligence, disruptive innovation, the future of food, and eudaimonia [well-being] to name just a few.”
AKILA RADHAKRISHNAN, Gurukul Fellow 2022