International Sustainability Academy (ISA) Scholarship Program 2021 for Young Professionals (Fully Funded to Germany)

International Sustainability Academy (ISA) Scholarship Program 2021 for Young Professionals (Fully Funded to Germany)

Deadline: June 30, 2020

The International Sustainability Academy (ISA) Scholarship Program 2021 is open for applications. The International Sustainability Academy (ISA) is a 9-month program, where 12 Young Professionals come together in Hamburg in order to find solutions for the greatest challenges of the planet earth.

The ISA program supports committed people in their projects and research into the implementation of global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The scholarship is sponsored by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and is aimed at interested parties in emerging countries and economies on the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list.

During the period of sponsorship until 2022, the ISA offers up to 12 students and professionals every year an 8-month research stay in Hamburg, together with a further month of sponsorship in their home country in order there to complete and customize the results of the research report. The primary focus is on the close exchange of know-how amongst the scholarship holders during their individual research work. Further focal points of the program are training courses and internships developed together with the scholarship-holders, visits to Best Practice companies and institutions. Students will be supervised and supported in the subject matter by the ISA and selected universities and research centers.

Program Details

The start of the 3rd ISA program was originally planned to be March 4th, 2021 in Hamburg. Due to the current Corona pandemic the start of the third program will be postponed. Following today’s information (May 2020), the program is likely to start mid May 2021 in Hamburg: 
15 May 2021 to 15 February 2021, 8 months in Hamburg, Germany and 1 month project implementation in the country* of origin.

The ISA is a 9-Months program with two-phase.

  • Phase 1 is completed in the first 8 months of the program within Germany.
  • Phase 2 is completed in the 9th month of the program in the country of origin.

Each participant has an individual program based on the chosen research or business project. The main focus is on the close exchange amongst the scholarship holders during individual research work. Program modules are practical training sessions of weeks or days in companies and institutions, Best Practice visits in Hamburg and elsewhere in Germany, Master Classes by international networked speakers and cooperation with selected universities. A 10-week German language course rounds off the program.


  • The costs for accommodation in gender-mixed flat-sharing communities, the workplace, the costs for outward and return flights, the foreign health insurance and a German course are covered.
  • In addition, each scholarship holder receives a sum of money for the research work.

ISA covers the following cost:

  • € 1,300 per month expenses (includes own research and as applicable, excursions and internships)
  • Health insurance
  • accommodation (private, furnished flat-share room (ca. 12m²) with shared bathroom and kitchen)
  • return flight (Economy Class (max. three stopovers, flight from home country airport) (airport transfer in home country may be granted under justified circumstances)
  • airport transfer in Hamburg with public transport
  • season ticket for the use of public transport in Hamburg
  • costs of group excursions
  • BMZ sponsorship regulations apply 


The program is aimed at people who are already involved in activities in connection with SDGs. These could be students or career starters or Start-up founders. Those taking part come from countries which are on the so-called DAC list (Development Assistance Committee of the OECD).

  • Applicants must come from countries or regions on the DAC list in Africa, Asia, Europe and America
  • Evidence of English skills of at least B1 or better
  • Evidence of university degree and/or relevant professional experience
  • Applicants must already be working on a project or research in their home country, ideally on the theme of climate protection which they can further consolidate in Germany. It is important that the benefits to the home country can be seen
  • The project must be attributable to one or more Sustainable Development Goals (SDG ́s)
  • You must apply for a visa at the Germany Embassy in your home country
  • There is no age limit for applicants.

Please note that If you are selected for the second round,  you will have to upload the following application documents as PDFs. We would like to recommend that you start promptly with a detailed description of the project and its potential implementation, possibly apply for a new passport, and clarify the necessary approval from the employer!

  • Proof of training, work experience, diploma, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or equivalent training
  • Passport copy. 
  • Letter of motivation, 1,000 characters
  • a 3-4-page curriculum vitae with date and signature, formulated in full
  • English language certificate (min. B1) (not applicable for native speakers and those who completed their higher degree in English language 
  • Detailed project description following the ISA template 
  • Authorization for a study leave (authorization from the employer)

Selection Criteria

Selection is based on the following requirements and the dimensions deduced from them:

  • INTELLECTUAL ABILITIES – Specialist qualification – general education/ open-mindedness and interest/ creativity;
  • VALUE ORIENTATION / RESPONSIBILITY – standpoint and tolerance – independent thinking
  • GENERAL environment policy commitment – volunteer activities taking into account own artistic or scientific performance
  • PERSONALITY – motivation – potential – personal presentation – social competence


  • Applications are to be made using the form on this website that will be released about 10 months before the beginning of each of the courses. Documents required for the application can be uploaded directly into the template.
  • Please note that only complete application documentation can be taken into account
  • During the applications phase the project team is available for your questions per e-mail, phone or video conference. Closing date for applications as a rule is 6 months beforehand.
  • A telephone interview will be conducted with interesting candidates. In the selection process not only Project Leader and Educational Specialist take part but also two independent representatives, for example, from a company or an educational establishment.


  • Evidence of educational qualifications, diploma, Bachelor degree or equivalent
  • Letter of motivation, 1,000 characters
  • A typed or word processed, formulated, 3–4 page curriculum vitae with date and signature (not tabular, written on one side only and not tacked together)
  • Evidence of English skills (min. B1)
  • Project description, 1,500 characters
  • Eligibility for a stay abroad (matriculation, authorization from employer)

Click here to apply.

For more information, visit ISA Scholarship.