Research Scholarship for the Study of Civil Society


Research activities for representatives of NGOs

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For members of non-profit organizations


Elite universities and science institutes in the USA


3-5-month stay


Official invitation from an American organisation


Application deadline: 5 December

About the Civil Society Program

The Bulgarian-American Commission for Educational Exchange “Fulbright” administers the program to Bulgarian representatives of non-governmental organizations for research and exchange of best practices at NGOs and counterpart organizations in the United States. These scholarships are awarded in open competition supervised by binational selection committees. 2-3 grants are awarded each year, depending on budget. Grants last  3 to 5 months. 

The scholarship includes round trip, monthly maintenance, settling-in allowance, health insurance. Applicants are required to provide an invitation letter from a U.S. NGO institution.  

Eligibility Requirements

Citizenship, degree, language competence

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  • Applicants must have Bulgarian citizenship. Green card holders and persons with dual (Bulgarian and US) citizenship are ineligible.
  • Applicants must hold at least a Bachelor’s degree.
  • Applicants must show proficiency in English, appropriate to the proposed research project.
  • Applicants must be in good health.

All candidates will be considered without regard to race, color, religion, or sex.



Application form, recommendations, diplomas 

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  1. Application form (please use the standard web-based Fulbright Visiting Scholar application at;
  2. Three letters of reference (can be submitted online or sent directly to the Fulbright Commission office);
  3. Letter of invitation from a prospective host institution (scanned and attached to the online application);
  4. Copies of original academic transcript and degree certificate from each university or post-secondary institution (scanned and attached to the online application).

More details

All items should be translated into English.

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All supplementary documents should be submitted as scanned attachments in the online application form. You can find detailed instructions on how to complete the online application form here.

The Fulbright Commission will advise applicants to submit a medical history and examination report if and when necessary.

Deadline for submitting applications for the academic 2024-25: December 5, 2023

Interviews of eligible candidates are conducted in person. Date and time are fixed.

Why should you apply


Invaluable experience at prominent institutions in the USA


Networking opportunities with leading specialists in your area of expertise


Intercultural exchange and new environment


Exchange of ideas


Professional and creative growth

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Fulbright Civil Society Grant cover?

The grant covers monthly maintenance in the amount of $2900 – $3500, depending on the destination. The grant duration is between 3 to 5 months, depending on the length of the project. The Fulbright Commission provides for travel expenses (return flight) and health insurance.  

How many grants are offered annually?

2-3 grants, depending on budget  

How do I receive an invitation from a US NGO and what should it include?

Write to your US counterparts with a proposition to host you for the grant period. It is important to emphasize that you are not looking for any funding, as you will be financed by your Fulbright grant. It is a good idea to approach US NGOs, working in fields closely corresponding to your own interests and practices.  

 The invitation letter should be issued by the organization on an official letterhead. It should confirm the US NGO agrees:  

  • to host the civil society scholar for the grant period (start and end date quoted)  
  • to provide access to libraries and sources of information 
  • provide working place 
  • to designate a counterpart   

    What starting date should I enter?

    The grants last minimum 3 and maximum 5 months. You can start your grant in August during the academic year you are applying for. If your visit starts in the Spring semester, it should be over before the end of July during the academic year you are applying for.  


    Is there an exclusive list of US NGOs the Fulbright program works with?

    The Fulbright Commission works with all accredited institutions and active NGOs on the territory of the U.S. This gives a chance to applicants to connect with leading specialist in their chosen spheres.  

    Is a language test required?

    No. The level of English language fluency is demonstrated by the application content and during the selection interview, which is held in English.   

    Are there any age limits?

    No. The only application requirement is that candidates should be in sound health.  

    How do I register referees?

    In the online form you will find a section “references” in the top left corner of the menu bar. Please select this section. In “register referees” please enter the e-mail addresses of your three referees and click submit. This will send electronic invitations with links to the online confidential recommendation forms to the e-mail addresses of your referees. Please make sure in advance that they agree to complete your reference. (In the rare case they do not speak English, they can upload both the Bulgarian version of the recommendation and an English translation into the electronic portal.) Your references will become accessible for review after you have submitted your entire online application. 

    Maria Kostova

    Maria Kostova

    Program coordinator for scholarship holders from Bulgaria

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