John Dillon Fellowship


Established in 2002 in recognition of Professor John L Dillon’s life-long commitment to agricultural research, the John Dillon Fellowship (JDF) is one of the flagship fellowship programs of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).

The program aims to develop the leadership and management skills of mid-career professionals, particularly scientists, researchers and economists working in agriculture research for development from ACIAR partner countries.

ACIAR responded to the 2020 global pandemic swiftly and is proud to be introducing a newly designed John Dillon Fellowship in 2021 that builds upon the program’s past success. The program will now be delivered in individual country cohorts of up to 15 participants with a strong focus upon cross-organisational collaboration and strengthening ties with Australian collaborators.

Developed and delivered by the International Development team at the University of New England, Australia, the new John Dillon Fellowship program will be adaptive to the differing needs and requirements of partner organisations and the agriculture sector in each region. The first round of the John Dillon Fellowship in 2021 will be run in the Philippines.

John Dillon Fellowship – Philippines 2021

John Dillon Fellows

The John Dillon Fellowship Philippines 2021 has been developed jointly by ACIAR and DOST-PCAARRD. The program is an outcome of the partnership agreement signed by the two agencies in December 2018, an agreement that itself built upon the 35-year strong collaborative relationship between DOST-PCAARRD and ACIAR.

John Dillon Fellows will receive training in crucial leadership and management skills including leadership in the face of a crisis/the-pandemic, partnership brokering, leadership communication, gender equity, diversity, and social inclusion. With input from DOST-PCAARRD, the program has been tailored to suit the specific needs of the Philippine partner organisations. As a result, particular emphasis will be placed upon delivering the skills required to create an enabling research environment as well as project collaboration.

In addition, awardees will have the opportunity to collaborate with one another and develop In addition, awardees will have the opportunity to collaborate with one another and design a project for possible funding by the JDF program. The project is a vehicle for Fellows to put to practice their skills and learnings from the program. As such, it must address a pressing development or leadership challenge within the context of research, extension, policy, communication, and organizational development that has real life application. 

Projects will tackle an important research, extension, policy, management or professional development problem. Projects that receive ACIAR funding to go ahead will be matched with an Australian collaborator who will support the professional development of the research team.

Key features of the JDF Program

  • Online Training Modules (16 weeks): Covering Leadership & Management, Modern Communication, Partnership Skills & Collaboration, Gender Equity, Diversity & Social Inclusion, and Project Leadership & Management.
  • Collaborative Project Pitch Development (4 weeks): Awardees are supported in developing a project pitch. Collaborative projects will tackle an important research, extension, policy, management or professional development problem. 
  • Collaborative Project Pitch: Awardees are given the opportunity to present their project to ACIAR and DOST-PCAARRD.
  • JDF Collaborative Project Execution (12 months): providing real-world experience and capacity development while also strengthening collaboration across organisations  in-country and with Australian collaborators.
  • Final Immersive Workshop in Australia: includes final training sessions, site-visits to Australian organisations and two days at ACIAR House in Canberra.

Application guidelines

Applications will be invited from the DOST-PCAARRD endorsed organisations (see list in guidelines) for the John Dillon Fellowship.  ACIAR and DOST-PCAARRD will select 3-4 Fellows per organisation. There is no public application process for the John Dillon Fellowship in 2021.

In line with ACIAR’s ongoing commitment to gender equality, applications are open to all genders with expectation that half of all Fellows will be women. 

If you are eligible to apply, the outline of the program and guidelines for application are available below. If you are unsure about your eligibility, the Guidelines provide full details of who is eligible.

Applications close at 11:59pm (Philippines time) on Sunday 9 May 2021.

Eligibility: John Dillon Fellowship Philippines 2021

To be eligible for this fellowship you must:

  • Be a mid-career agriculture research and development professional with potential to be an outstanding emerging leader.
  • Have personal commitment and enthusiasm to develop skills in research leadership and management. 
  • Have an association with ACIAR and its research projects (past, current or future).
  • Be currently employed by one of the John Dillon Fellowship Philippines target organisation. These are: Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD), University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), Visayas State University (VSU) or University of the Philippines Mindanao (UPMin).
  • Have your agencies support to release you for the full duration of the program.
  • Filipino citizen and resides/ work in the Philippines, holds a current passport and is eligible for an Australian visa  (tourist)
  • The fellowship is delivered in English. A minimum band score of 5 IELTS is required, however 5.5 in speaking or equivalent is highly recommended.

Key dates – Philippines round 2021

Applications for John Dillon Fellowship Philippines Open 19 April 2021
Applications for John Dillon Fellowship Philippines Close 9 May 2021
Applicants notified of the outcome 19 May 2021
Fellowship commences 14 June 2021

Fellow in the spotlight: Anne Shangrila Fuentes, Philippines

Anne Shangrila Fuentes - ACIAR John Dillon Felllow

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.

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.” 


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.