Frequently Asked Questions

HEC Postdoctoral Fellowships Programme (Phase III)



1.            What types of scholarships are available under the Post-Doctoral Fellowship Programme?

Post-Doctoral Fellowship Programme has been designed for the PhD degree holders to equip them with advanced technologies from top-notch universities/institutions of the world. The project will provide 1000 Post-Doctoral Fellowships over a period of five years.          

2.            What are the objectives of this project?

It is aimed to address the issues of retention of qualified faculty members and researchers, by the capacity building of the faculty, and to develop further foreign linkages through placement of PhD students and other researchers at the host institution.

3.            What is the eligibility criteria for the fellowship?

Candidates must hold a PhD degree from an HEC-recognised local or international university before closing date of application submission.

Maximum age limit is 45 years on the closing date.

Candidates must be regular employee of public/private sector HEC recognized university/DAI or public sector R&D organization (recognized by Pakistan Council of Science & Technology (PCST)).

Candidates must not have availed any Post-Doctoral Fellowship before (the candidate will submit an affidavit in this regard).

Candidates must also have a valid acceptance/invitation letter from top 200 QS world ranked universities.

Candidates must also have five years relevant work experience in Pakistan after PhD from abroad. 

4.            What age is required for the fellowship?

The maximum age limit is 45 years on the closing date.

5.            I will turn up 45 one day before closing date. Can I get relaxation?

No. The Maximum age can not be relaxed for any applicant.

6.            Can an Afghan national studying in Pakistani university apply for this fellowship?         

No, only Pakistani /AJK nationals can apply for this fellowship.

7.            I am not an employee of a University or R&D organization, can I apply?               

No, you cannot apply for the fellowship until you are an employee of HEC-recognised public/private sector universities/DAIs or public sector R&D organizations (recognized by the Pakistan Council of Science and Technology (PCST)).

8.            I work in a public sector R&D organization but it is not included in the list published by PCST. Can I apply?               

No, you cannot apply for the fellowship until the status of your organization is confirmed by PCST.

9.            Who can apply for the fellowship?

Those who meet the eligibility criteria as explained in answer to Question No. 3 above, can apply for the fellowship.

10.          What qualifications are required for the fellowship?    

A Ph.D. degree from an HEC-recognised local or international university. The interested candidate must be in possession of an HEC attested Ph.D. degree (in case of local Ph.D.) or HEC Equivalence Certificate (in case of foreign Ph.D.).

11.          How to apply for the fellowship?           

On announcement in print and electronic media, applicants are required to submit only online applications (

A hard copy of applications and any other documents are not required initially.

Applicants have to deposit/transfer online/Bank Draft/Pay Order/ATM Transfer of Rs.1000/- (Non-refundable) as an application processing fee in favor of Director General Finance, HEC. The fee can be deposited in A/C No. 1742-79001334-01 of Habib Bank Limited. (The original bank payment record/slip should be kept safe because at a later stage it will be required by HEC.)

Please visit the "How to Apply" page for further details.

12.          I have completed a local Ph.D. recently but I am not employed. It is mentioned on the website that local Ph.D. degree holders can apply immediately after Ph.D. Can I apply? 

No. The fellowships are only available for regular employees of Universities or R&D organizations recognized by PCST.

13.          I work in a postgraduate college. It is affiliated with a Public/Private sector University. Can I apply?     

No. Please visit the following websites to learn about eligible Universities/Institutes:

Recognised Universities (

HEC recognized Campuses

14.          I already have an account at Do I need to sign up again of

No. You can sign in by using the same User ID and password.

15.          My profile/education/employment information is already filled in. How?

If you already have an account on then your personal, educational and employment information will be auto retrieved and displayed on

 16.         What is the process of submission of application?

Applicants should fill out and submit an Online Application at Once the applicant provides information of Host Supervisor. An email is sent to the supervisor for confirmation. The applicant can only proceed further after confirmation of details by the host supervisor. Once confirmation is received, the host supervisor's details can not be changed. The applicant is also required to upload documents as mentioned in the "How to Apply" page.

Candidates are required to upload only ONE Letter of Acceptance (maximum two pages) from the Top 200 QS ranked University/ Research Institute.  The letter should confirm the institutional commitment to the proposed project.

Hard copies of the application may be required "Through Proper Channel" at a later stage.

17.          I am unable to proceed after entering details of Host Supervisor and University?

Once the information of Host Supervisor is entered in the online portal, an email is sent to the supervisor for confirmation. The applicant can only proceed further if the Host Supervisor verifies the applicant's credentials online. Please contact your supervisor to expedite.

18.          Can I change the Host Supervisor details in case no response is received from the first one?

Yes till the time the application portal is open. However, the details can not be edited if it has already been confirmed by the host supervisor and the closing date of application submission has passed. In order to edit the details please click on the edit icon in the right corner of the section to edit the details of the host supervisor.   

19.          I am unable to change Host Supervisor details. Why?

After acceptance of your request from one supervisor, you will not be able to edit this section.

20.          Is there any important information related to fellowship?

Please carefully read all pages of the website. The candidates having local PhD degrees are encouraged to apply for post-doctoral fellowships immediately after completion of their PhD.

The foreign PhD degree holders are required to serve five years in Pakistan before applying for the fellowship.

Applicants must be regular employees of HEC-recognised public/private sector universities/DAIs or public sector R&D organisations (recognised by Pakistan Council for Science and Technology).

Applicants must not have availed any Post-Doctoral Fellowship before (the candidate will submit an affidavit in this regard).

In case of selection, the awardee must secure study leave from parent organization for the duration of the fellowship.

21.          If I am awaiting the result, can I apply for the fellowship?  

No. You cannot apply for the fellowship if your Ph.D. is not successfully completed by the closing date of application submission.

22.          Do I need to submit any research proposal?

Yes. You have to submit a clearly written research proposal as per format outlining how you intend to satisfy at least two of the five outcomes/deliverables identified below:

  1. Production of Books/Manuscripts for Publication
  2. Production of Papers in Peer-Reviewed High Impact Factor Journals
  3. Creation of Funded Research Linkages and Collaborations
  4. Access to equipment and high impact research collaborators not available in Pakistan
  5. Creation and Introduction of New Programmes and Courses in Pakistan.

23.          Is there any application processing fee?

Yes. At the time of submitting application, Rs. 1000/- only has to be deposited in HEC's HBL Account Number 1742-79001334-01 in favour of Director General Finance, HEC.

24.          How can I submit the application processing fee?

Original online deposit slip/ATM Transfer Slip of Rs. 1000/-(non-refundable) as application processing fee in favour of Director General Finance, HEC, in Account Number 1742-79001334-01 Habib Bank Limited, must be uploaded on HEC eportal at the time of applying. Keep the original slip with you for record please.

25.          In which university I can apply?               

Interested candidates can apply in a university that is among the top 200 universities in the QS World Ranking (list attached).

26.          In which "Research Institute" I can apply?          

A research institute that is affiliated with the top 200 universities in the QS World Ranking will be given the same ranking as that of the university. However, the applicant will be required to get an acceptance letter from the university as well. Following Research Institutes are also eligible:

  • Department of Health & Human Services, USA
  • Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), France
  • Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
  • Max Planck Society, Germany

27.          Can I avail two fellowships at a time?   

No, you can only avail one fellowship at a time.

28.          I will turn up 45 soon after the submission of application. This is my last chance of availing the fellowship. Will there be any preference for candidates like me?            

No. The decision of selection or non-selection rests purely on the quality of your application.

29.          Can I apply for a fellowship before being accepted into a university?   

No, you cannot apply.

30.          What is the maximum duration of the fellowship?        

The initial duration of the fellowship is nine months extendable up to another three months with strong recommendations from his/her host supervisor. The extension is only possible if the expenses of extended duration are borne by the supervisor or the scholar.  

31.          Can I apply in more than one university?         

No. The application will be processed for review for one university only.

32.          I have multiple invitation letters. What should I do?

You need to choose ONE that will be the best fit for your proposed research and career progression.

33.          What if I upload multiple acceptance/invitation letters?

The section titled "Fellowship Details" has space for only one Host Supervisor. The details that will be entered by the applicant will be verified by that supervisor. Even if you upload multiple acceptance/invitation letters, your application will be assessed for only that supervisor who has confirmed your application.  Therefore, it is advised to please choose ONE university that will be the best fit for your proposed research and career progression.


34.          My host supervisor's CV comprises more than 100 pages. I am unable to upload documents. What should I do?

The Curriculum Vitae of the host supervisor and the applicant should be of a standard form (maximum two pages) and must include the following information:

      • Full Name
      • Position/Title
      • Institution
      • Professional Training/Education
      • Chronological List of Positions
      • List of up to five publications related to the proposed project, in standard citation format
      • List of up to five activities related to the proposed project.  These activities may include:  current or previous grants; teaching; collaborations; leading workshops/conferences; community outreach or engagement; consulting; etc.

35.          I have availed HEC scholarship in the past. I do not know who to contact. Please obtain my NOC from the concerned section as it is an internal matter of HEC?          

The process for issuance of NOC starts with the submission of application from the scholar in the relevant scholarship section. We will try our best to provide updated information about current officials. However, submission of NOC via email to by the closing date is the responsibility of the applicant.

36.          Why do I have to submit NOC for availing HEC research grant? 

The HEC research grant winners are not allowed to proceed abroad for a postdoc for a certain period. Therefore, NOC from R&D Division is necessary.

37.          I availed the scholarship/grant in the past but I am waiting for NOC from relevant section. Can I submit application as it is the last date?             

You can submit application, however, it will not be processed further. You are required to send an explanatory email to keeping relevant section in cc that you have applied for NOC but its issuance is awaited. Please note that all such emails will be responded after closing date.

38.          What is the format of NOC?              

There is no format. The relevant section can simply send an email to that it has no objection to processing your application for HEC postdoctoral fellowship.

39.          What do I have to mention in the box "Lab Experimentation Cost"?

The Lab Experimentation Cost or Bench Fee is the fee that Host University/ supervisor may charge to accept you for postdoctoral research. The acceptance/invitation letter from Host University should clearly indicate whether you will be charged with any fee or not as it has an impact on assessment of your application.

40.          What do I need to mention in the box "Financial Waiver"?

The maximum limit that HEC can pay for Lab Experimentation Cost or Bench Fee is US$ 6000/- for entire duration of the fellowship. In case the Host University is charging no fee or any amount less than US$ 6000, you can write the difference (as explained below) in the Financial Waiver section. Please indicate the amount is US$ only. However, if you have received partial waiver, but the charged amount is still in excess of or equal to US$ 6000/-, it will not be treated as waiver.


If the host university is not charging any fee, the Lab Experimentation Cost will be filled with "0" and in the Financial Waiver section you will write "6000"

If the Host University is charging £3500 Bench Fee. Then the Lab Experimentation Cost will be filled with "4835" (£3500 equals US$4835 at present rate) and in the Financial Waiver section you will write "1165" (6000-4835=1165)

41.          Can I take admission in any field of study?

Post-Doctoral Fellowship will be available in all disciplines. The researchers are encouraged to take up researchable issues of Pakistan to work with. 

42.          My "Education" is locked. How can I change it?               

If you have already processed your degree(s) for attestation/ equivalence, it can not be changed.

43.          Will I have to appear in the university examination (entry test) for admission if required?               

The Post-Doctoral Fellowships are different from other admissions. However, the applicants will have to meet international university requirements, if so desired by Host University.

44.          I completed my foreign Ph.D. 5 years ago but the system is not allowing me to proceed further?

A candidate is required to have recognized experience of 5 years after completion of a foreign Ph.D. If you have not served for the required duration, you can not apply even if your Ph.D. completion dates back to 5 years or more.  

45.          How will my work experience be verified?

During initial scrutiny, the applicants having foreign Ph.D. degrees will be requested to forward their experience certificates to The applicant will be required to forward experience certificates within 07 days of receipt of the email. In case of no response, the application will be rejected without further notice.

46.          I submitted my application successfully but it has been rejected on the basis of insufficient work experience. Why did the system allow me to proceed? How is that possible?

During application submission the system can not verify the employment dates, hence there is a chance that you may submit an application even if the recognized experience is less than the required yardstick. However, HEC reserves the right not only to reject such an application but also to impose penalties on misstatement (if any).

47.          Do I need to submit an application through proper channel?

You are required to upload NOC from the employer by the closing date, therefore, you should obtain approval from your organization as well.

48.          My degree program/campus/department is not visible on the academic tab of my profile. What should I do?

Please use "Search and Add Missing Degree Program" option to search or add a missing degree program, department in your education tab. The option is available in education tab of your profile. Alternatively, the list of focal person is available on HEC website (

49.          I am receiving the following errors. What should I do?

a)      Service Maintenance Page error

This happens when we are doing some deployment, normally we place a maintenance page; but if you are already logged in you may experience an error. Deployment takes around 1 hour and is done in non-working hours. If you are continuously getting the maintenance page message for an hour, please clear your browser cache or change your browser.

b)      Error 500 or unauthorized access error message

Please use the link The extra part after .pk/... is creating the issue for you. If the issue persists, please clear your browser cache or change your browser.

c)       "Ask/Get permission from the System Administrator" error

This is an idle session time out message. Which means that the session was left idle for 20 Minutes or more. Please refresh your browser and log in again.Please use the link The extra part after .pk/... is creating the issue for you. If the issue persists, please clear your browser cache or change your browser.

d)      Upload error, Error Retrieving documents, Document creation error, contact server administrator

 Please wait for 15 minutes before retrying. If the problem persists please clear your browser cache or change your browser. If the issue persists for more than 1 hour; please drop an email at

e)      Error in entering the qualification level

Your degrees should be added in chronological order.

50.          I have completed PhD but system is not allowing to proceed further?

Please ensure that you have selected "completed" status on Doctorate, MS Leading to PHD education in your education

51.          I can not find my "Parent Organization" in the application portal. Why?

Please check your selection. If you are faculty member of a university, you should have following:

Organization type: "Academic",  

Sector: Public/Private,

Category: University (must only select "university" in category drop down, must not select "other" in category and employer drop down)

For public sector R&D organizations:

Organization type: Professional,

Sector: Public,

Category: R&D (must not select "other" in category and employer drop down)

* Category and Employer name must not be selected as "Other" in applicant's employment details.

52.          Can I change Host University during studies?    

After departure, change of university or supervisor will only be possible in case the supervisor has passed away or has moved to another institute. The ranking of new host institution should not be lower than original university in this case as well. The awardee will ensure that fellowship funding will not exceed the prescribed duration of 09 months.

The new host university and supervisor will confirm that the same research will be carried out (the research title will be mentioned in the letter). The parent organization will also provide "No Objection Certificate" to change of host university/supervisor.

53.          How can I change Host University after selection?

The change of university will only be allowed on the basis of genuine compelling reasons that too before departure. The scholar will be required to submit a written request (via email to with necessary documents. The new host university must be at the same or higher ranking (QS world ranking of the same year) than the old university for which the scholar was selected.

Please visit "Selection Process and Procedures" page for further details.
54.          If my studies extend beyond the stipulated time period, will HEC pay my stipend?

No. HEC will not pay any stipend if your studies are extended beyond the stipulated time.


55.          I have been provisionally selected but my parent organization is not relieving me/ not granting study leave to avail fellowship. Can I resign to avail HEC postdoc fellowship?           

No. By doing so the eligibility criteria will be violated, therefore in case of resignation/termination from service, the offer will automatically stand withdrawn.

56.          I have been invitation letter from a University of Maryland/Texas A&M university system. Will the ranking for one university be applicable to other universities in the system?           

No. The ranking is for ONE university, not for the system. Therefore, the ranking of one university will not be applicable to other 10 or 15 universities in the system.

57.          Who can I contact in case of any queries?               

Ms. Sara Siraj Abbasi

Assistant Project Manager

Faculty Development Programme (Overseas Scholarships)


UAN: 051-111-119-432