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ICTP-IAEA Sandwich Training Educational Programme


General Description and Goals

The Sandwich Training Educational Programme (STEP) aims at offering fellowship opportunities to Ph.D. students from developing countries in the fields of physics and mathematics.

The goal of the STEP is to strengthen the scientific capability of young scientists and researchers from developing countries to better contribute and serve the scientific, technical, and economic development of their home countries.


The STEP offers fellowships to candidates from the IAEA member States in the following fields:

  • atomic and nuclear physics
  • nuclear, isotope and laser techniques applied to:
    • human health
    • agriculture
    • biotechnology and biophotonics
    • water resources and environmental studies
  • synchrotron radiation and applications
  • medical radiation physics

with financial support provided by the IAEA Department of Technical Cooperation  through the IAEA Technical Cooperation Fund. The IAEA must receive an official endorsement for the fellow from the fellow's country.


Fellowships are also provided by the ICTP, within its scientific and technical competence, to candidates from developing countries in the fields listed below:

  • condensed matter and statistical physics
  • high energy physics
  • mathematics
  • earth system physics
  • applied physics (including micro- and nano-electronics, fluid dynamics)


Location of Training

Training and/or research work can take place in one of the following institutions located in the Trieste geographical area: the ICTP, Elettra Synchrotron Light Facility, Trieste Laser Laboratory, University of Trieste, IOM-CNR TASC Laboratory, INFN, Jozef Stefan International Postgraduate School in Ljubljana, International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA), National Institute of Oceanography and Applied Geophysics-OGS, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB),   Regional Agency for Environmental Protection of Friuli Venezia Giulia, and the hospitals of Udine and Trieste.

Training and/or research can also take place at the IAEA laboratories of Seibersdorf, Vienna and the IAEA Marine Laboratory in Monaco.


Structure of the Scheme

Applications are expected from students in developing countries who are enrolled in a PhD course at their home university. PhD students who are supervised by an ICTP Associate are encouraged to apply.

The programme aims at an equitable participation of fellows, and therefore especially welcomes applications from woman scientists.

Awards are assigned by the merit of the thesis proposed by the home country advisor, as decided by the STEP selection committee. Once a STEP fellow is selected, the ICTP will assign the fellow to the appropriate host institute with a designated co-advisor. The advisors from both the home and the host institutes will jointly supervise the fellow's research. The two advisors are expected to coordinate the research and training work of the fellow, which is concluded when the fellow student obtains the PhD at his/her home institute.

The fellowships are awarded for a period of at least three months to be spent by the fellows at host institutes during the first year. Pending the approval of the host institute and the two supervisors, the fellowship is renewable for up to two additional successive years.


Financial Support

The STEP fellowship includes a stipend of EU 1,400 per month during each stay at the host institute as well as the costs of travel and medical insurance.

It is understood that, during all other periods not covered by the STEP fellowship, i.e. when at the home institute, all support needed for continuing and finishing the fellow’s research work is provided by other funding sources.

Application Procedure

The STEP fellowship application forms can be downloaded herebelow. Applications should be submitted to the ICTP Office of External Activities (OEA).

Deadlines to submit applications are: 

  •   15 February
  •   15 August

 of each year, for applications to be considered at the Spring meeting and at the Fall meeting, respectively, of the STEP selection Committee.

Application forms:

Application form (Word)
Application form (pdf)


For further information please contact:
ICTP-IAEA Sandwich Training Educational Programme
c/o Office of External Activities
Fermi Bldg., Via Beirut, 6
34151 Trieste

Telephone no. +39 040 22 40 322
Telefax no. +39 040 22 40 443


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