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John Dillon Fellowship

Scholarships for outstanding agricultural scientists or economists from our partner countries and Australia
John Dillon Fellows at ACIAR

Established in 2002 in recognition of Professor John L Dillon’s life-long commitment to agricultural research, the John Dillon Fellowship (JDF) supports the professional development of outstanding mid-career agricultural scientists, economists and researchers.  

From 2019, the JDF takes on two forms: 

  1. a professional development program for a group of up to 15 individual fellows, and; 

  1. i-JDF-Pacific, a brand new, innovative institutional program that provides support for the training of up to 15 fellows from a group of institutions in the Pacific region.  

Fellows from ACIAR partner countries, and two from Australia, who are currently taking part in or have recently completed an ACIAR research project, participate in a blended learning experience of industry networking, visits to relevant Australian institutions, and intensive professional training courses. 


A new initiative launched by ACIAR in 2019, the institution-focused John Dillon Fellowship-Pacific program will develop the capacity of ACIAR partner organisations in the Pacific region.   

This fellowship will bring together up to 15 colleagues who are strategically positioned to advance their institution in line with ACIAR’s strategic plan. Like the traditional JDF, fellows will take part in an intensive professional development program that combines training modules with industry visits, networking opportunities and strengthens their Australian linkages.  

The fellowship program is developed in consultation with the fellows’ institution to address organisational needs. The fellowship will ultimately strengthen the regions’ capacity to identify, create, design and implement successful agricultural policies and programs that will tackle the numerous challenges facing local agriculture and food systems.

Key features of the JDF Program

  • A 4-6 week residential stay in Australia 
  • A 1-week hosting period with an Australian organisation such as an Australian government department, university, or research centre (relevant to the individual JDF only)
  • Formal training in: leadership, media, communications, policy, and research management
  • Structured program of visits to engage with various Australian institutions across the government, public and private sector
  • Exposure to relevant researchers, industry experts and professionals to develop the fellows’ network and Australian linkages


The best way to understand the Fellowship experience is to hear from the past fellows themselves. Check out this video to hear from some of the JDF alumni about their 2018 ACIAR John Dillon Fellowship Experience.

Fellow in the Spotlight: Wilson De Sousa, Mozambique 

Wilson, a project coordinator and irrigation agronomist with Mozambique’s National Institute of Irrigation and the youngest of the 2018 JDF cohorts, learnt a lot from his ACIAR peers during the fellowship:

The fellowship brought people from a range of countries together, and we’ve learned a lot from each other. We shared our experiences and approaches to problem-solving, and many of the discussions did not end in the classroom.

Shortly after the completion of the fellowship, Wilson reflected on his experience, “I feel different, I feel like I can do more, be more and this is the result of the environment we had, the friendship we have created, it is unmeasurable, and it changed me. And I have to say classes were all interesting, and I’m trying to implement here what we have learnt.” 

Fellow in the Spotlight: Anne Shangrila Fuentes, Philippines

Shang, a Senior Lecturer at the University of the Philippines, found her experience as a JDF helped to broaden and strengthen her networks to create pathways for potential future research collaborations.

Like Wilson, Shang discussed her personal development through the fellowship experience, “There was so much learning in that time, not just in an academic sense but also on learning more about ourselves. It was quite a privilege.” 

You can view Shang talking about her experience here.

Application Guidelines

Are you currently engaged in, or have you recently completed an ACIAR project? Are you a mid-senior career agricultural scientist, economist, or researcher?

To experience the fellowship yourself, check your eligibility, follow the guidelines below and apply today!   

Please note, the John Dillon Fellowships are highly competitive. If unsuccessful in your first application, you are encouraged apply for future rounds. Please discuss this with your ACIAR Research Program Manager and Project Leader. 

ACIAR is an equal opportunity organisation. We encourage applications from persons of diverse backgrounds and do not to discriminate against any applicant on the basis of age, region, sex, disability, race, or religion. 

In line with ACIAR’s ongoing commitment to gender equality, a minimum of half of all successful candidates in the fellowship are women. 


To be eligible for this fellowship you must:

  1. Be currently working on or have recently completed an ACIAR project.
  2. Reside and work in an ACIAR-partner country.
  3. Be eligible for an Australian visa or be an Australian citizen.
  4. Be eligible for a passport in your country of citizenship.
  5. Be available for the full duration of the fellowship program, this includes a letter of support from your current employer.
  6. The fellowship is delivered in English: in order to participate, a minimum band score of 5 IELTS, with 5.5 in speaking or equivalent is highly recommended.


For the individual JDF, detailed application guidelines can be found here.  

Once you’ve checked the guidelines and eligibility criteria, please apply directly to ACIAR online. It is strongly encouraged that you discuss your application with your ACIAR Research Program Manager and Project Leader. 

Key dates – Individual Round

Application round opens for the next two rounds of the JDF program April 2019 
Application round closes 22 July 2019
ACIAR Training Committee selects successful applicants August 2019
Applicants notified outcome September 2019
Applicants date for accepting their letter of offer Mid-September 2019
Fellowships in-Australia November – December 2019; and February – March 2020