Applicant Guide

SAR has created this guide in order to support individuals through the SAR application process and to help ensure that our eligibility criteria and application requirements are clear to those who may be seeking our support.

What support does SAR provide?

SAR provides at-risk scholars with short-term, temporary academic positions at SAR member institutions where scholars can resume their research and/or teaching in safety. These positions are provided and funded by member institutions and range in duration from 6 months to 2 years. During this time scholars have the opportunity to resume academic research and/or teaching and plan their next steps. 

See additional Frequently Asked Questions about SAR support

SAR eligibility criteria

All applications are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. In determining whether SAR is able to offer placement assistance to a scholar, we take the following into consideration:

  • Degrees: We are best placed to assist scholars holding a Ph.D., or other terminal degree from an accredited higher education institution that is the established standard among scholars from that country, educational context, and/or discipline.   
  • Academic Employment: We can assist those with current or recent (within 1 year) full-time academic employment at an accredited higher education institution. Candidates who have not held recent academic employment due to their risk situation are also considered
  • Publications: We are best able to assist applicants with recent academic publications in reputable journals that demonstrate the ability to conduct research on a host campus. Many (but not all) positions in the SAR network are academic research positions. 
  • Risk: We understand an applicant to meet our risk criteria if they are experiencing, or experienced very recently, direct risk, such as threat of violence/ harm to the individual, harassment/ intimidation, threat of arrest/ imprisonment, etc, or they are experiencing general physical risk from an active conflict in their country of origin. We seek documentation of all reported risk in order to consider this risk verified. 
  • Location: Applicants may be in their country of origin, or recently displaced from their situation of risk, with likelihood of resumed risk if they were to return to their home country. Applicants who have been displaced from their home country for more than 5 years are not eligible. 
  • Citizenship/residency: Applicants with citizenship or permanent residency in a safe third country are not eligible (for example, dual nationals with one nationality in a country where they wouldn’t be targeted/at risk). 
  • Language: Applicants must be able to conduct academic work in a language represented in the SAR network. The vast majority of SAR placements are at English-speaking institutions; other languages of the network including French and German are considered as well. 
  • Valid travel documents: The positions created by SAR network institutions usually require employment-based visas for the host country. Given this, the ability to travel, and valid passport documents, are required. If an applicant is already located in a country where SAR has hosting opportunities, this will be taken into account in the application review. 

We are not able to accept all eligible applicants, which means that even if an individual meets all of the above criteria, we may not be able to offer placement assistance. We carefully consider each application against current opportunities in the SAR network and move ahead with the applications of individuals for whom we are the most likely to succeed in creating a placement based on the applicant’s academic profile, discipline, and research background. We do this out of respect for all individuals seeking assistance.

Please note that as of June 2024 the network has very few opportunities for scholars of these disciplines: Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Science, English as a Foreign Language, Military Studies, Engineering,  Agriculture/Plant Sciences and Persian Literature. Given this, we may be unable to accept applications from scholars in these disciplines, even if these applicants meet SAR eligibility criteria. As opportunities in the network change, we will keep this page updated.

Overview of the SAR Application 

Checklist of required documents:

During the course of the application, the documents listed below will be requested. Applicants are strongly encouraged to prepare these documents before they begin the online application and to have them ready to upload at the time of submitting a SAR application. Applicants will not be able to save the application and return to it at a later time. Documents include: 

These documents are described in more detail below.

The SAR application contains 5 sections: (1) Eligibility Questionnaire, (2) Personal Information, (3) Academic Information, (4) Risk Information, and (5) an Attestation. The sections below provide guidance and considerations for each section of the application. 

Section 1: Eligibility Questionnaire

In order to help applicants easily identify if they are eligible for SAR placement assistance, we provide a short Eligibility Questionnaire to complete before embarking on a full SAR application. Each of these questions relate to an aspect of SAR’s eligibility criteria

After completing the Eligibility Questionnaire, those eligible for SAR support will be invited to begin the full application. Those who are not eligible for SAR support will be brought to an external resource page that contains other programs and fellowships that might be applicable to their situation. We are not able to consider applications of those individuals who do not meet SAR eligibility criteria. However, SAR maintains this list of fellowships and other opportunities relevant to scholars searching for options.  


Section 2: Personal information

In this section of the application, SAR is seeking basic applicant information, including contact information and communication preferences. We also ask about any dependents with whom an applicant may be traveling. Note: we ask about dependent age as visa regulations for many host countries restrict dependents based on legal recognition and/or age (for example, children over age 18 or 21 may not be admitted as dependents depending on the country). 

We ask applicants about any legal status (visa, residence, asylum or a related status) they may hold in another country. This informs SAR’s understanding of country placement options within the global network. For the same reason, we ask applicants about which countries they are willing to travel for placement. In general, the more open an applicant’s geographic preferences, the better able SAR may be to assist. See our list of member institutions on this page. Note: not all SAR members are able to host scholars. 

At times, an applicant may already be in contact with a SAR member institution about a potential placement. If this is the case, the applicant should note this in the application so that we may coordinate within the network. A prior connection with a SAR member institution is not required for consideration. 


Section 3: Academic information

In this section of the application, SAR seeks information on an applicant’s academic background, including earned academic degrees and academic employment history. This information helps SAR understand an applicant’s research and teaching background in order to consider whether there may be opportunities in the SAR network for the applicant. 


CV: Applicants should provide a copy of their CV that includes: 

  • The applicant’s highest academic degree, including 1) the granting institution, 2) the field of concentration, and 3) the date the degree was awarded. 
  • The applicant’s academic employment at higher education institutions, including any teaching and research experience. For each listed position, the CV should include
    • the institution
    • position title
    • whether the position is/was full-time or part-time employment
    • dates of employment
  • A full publication list (if applicable). Please also note any work that is available in English.
  • Guidance on formatting a CV can be found on this site


Academic Statement: SAR requests an Academic Statement in order to understand what type of academic work the applicant would seek to do while in a SAR placement. 

The Academic Statement should include: 

  • The applicant’s current focus of research and/or teaching 
  • The type of academic work that an applicant seeks to do at a higher education institution 
  • The skills the applicant seeks to gain/improve while hosted at a higher education institution 
  • The applicant’s ability to conduct academic research and/or teaching in English. Note: We ask about English as it is the most represented language in the SAR network at present, though the network and the languages represented within it continues to grow. Applicants who are comfortable working in another language are invited to indicate this in the application. 
  • Guidance on crafting an academic statement can be found on this site


Work samples: We request 2 recent academic publication samples from applicants. Recent publications that best represent the applicant’s current academic interests are strongly encouraged. Applicants are invited to upload any abstracts or summaries of their work that may be available in English. 

Language test scores: We ask about any available English language test scores because English is the most represented language in the SAR network at present. However, the network and the languages represented within it continue to grow. Applicants with language test scores in languages other than English are invited to upload these.

Information uploaded to this section can include IELTS, TOEFL or other test scores from within the past 5 years. Applicants without language scores are invited to provide other language confirmation, including confirmation that a degree was obtained in a particular language or a link to an academic presentation given in a particular language.

Letters of recommendation: Applicants are asked to provide letter(s) of recommendation if they have these available. Letters should be written within the last 12 months and should describe the applicant’s academic and/or professional accomplishments. While applicants are encouraged to submit letters of recommendation with their application, we are aware that letters may not be available for a number of reasons. We invite applicants to indicate this in the application by selecting the appropriate response from the list of options. 


Section 4: Risk information

This section of the application gathers information to help SAR understand whether an applicant’s situation meets our risk criteria. The first question asks applicants to indicate the type of risk they are facing – multiple options can be selected, if needed.

Risk statement: In writing a risk statement, applicants are encouraged to consider and include the below information: 

  • Has the applicant experienced direct, targeted risk personally? By whom and for how long? Please include specific information, including dates and locations and any applicable media links that can verify these incidents.  
  • Has the applicant been targeted for belonging to a particular group or institution? By whom and for how long? 
  • Is the applicant at risk due to a current conflict in their home country? 
  • Is the applicant at risk due to their academic work, or due to their status as an academic? 
  • Is the applicant concerned about a developing situation in their home country that may impact them directly in the future?


Risk corroboration: Applicants are invited to upload any available corroboration of the risk situation mentioned in the risk statement. Corroboration might include court documents, police reports, media articles that confirm an applicant’s situation, or other documents that an applicant believes may assist SAR in understanding the threats experienced. As with all information provided to SAR by applicants, risk information is treated as confidential and used in accordance with the SAR privacy policy. Note: if your case is accepted by SAR, application information you provide, including the risk statement, may be shared with a host institution on a confidential basis in order to attempt to secure a placement.

Importantly, after completing the Risk section of the application, applicants will not be able to change prior answers. Applicants are encouraged to carefully review all prior answers before moving to the Attestation page. 


Section 5: Attestation

In this final section of the application, applicants are asked to answer a few brief but essential questions. Applicants are asked if they have ever been convicted of a crime. We are aware that scholars may be wrongfully accused of crimes in their countries of origin, and because of this, an applicant answering “yes” to this question would not be precluded from being considered for SAR assistance. In accordance with our values as a network, applicants are also asked if they have participated in violence or human rights abuses against any individual and/or group. 

We also ask applicants to confirm that all information provided in their application to SAR is accurate, and to enter their name. Once the name is entered, applicants will need to hit the blue “Submit application” button at the bottom of the screen. Applicants will see a screen with “Application Submitted” at the top which will confirm an application has been successfully submitted. The screen appears as:

Application submitted

Please accept this notification as confirmation of SAR’s receipt of your application. Due to a high volume of email and applications, SAR is not able to reply to individual emails inquiring about your application status. Therefore, you will not receive a separate email confirming receipt. You should expect to hear from SAR within 4 weeks following your application, including information about the next steps in the process. Until then, we ask for your kind understanding that SAR is not able to offer immediate assistance or emergency relocation.

What to expect after an application? When will a decision be shared? 

We aim to review all applications as quickly as possible. Due to a large number of applications, the SAR team is unable to reply individually to application queries but applicants should expect to hear from SAR within 4 weeks of submitting an application. All applications are reviewed by the SAR team. After an application is reviewed, a staff member may reach out to an applicant for additional information including: 

-Risk information and incidents reported in the risk statement

-Reference information, if a letter of recommendation was not already provided 

-Clarifications of information provided in the application 

-A request for a call to discuss the information provided in the application


What if SAR cannot offer me placement assistance? 

If SAR is unable to offer you placement assistance, we will share other resources that may be relevant to you including this Global Resource list which is frequently updated with opportunities. 

See additional Frequently Asked Questions about SAR support