The global norm against biological weapons cannot be maintained without youth voices being included in the multilateral discussions taking place in the framework of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). Youth perspectives are key to create innovative solutions and generate long-term engagement. There are particular benefits to including the perspectives of young people from developing countries, where most of the world’s youth is concentrated.

Organized by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs in Geneva in partnership with key international actors empowering youth in science diplomacy and global biosecurity, the Youth for Biosecurity Fellowship provides a unique learning and networking experience into multilateral discussions taking place in the framework of the Biological Weapons Convention in Geneva.

Launched in 2019 as a Biosecurity Diplomacy Workshop, the Youth for Biosecurity Initiative is for the first time in 2023 providing the opportunity for 15 young scientists from the Global South to join an online interactive training programme prior to a field visit during the meeting of the BWC Working Group on the Strengthening of the Convention in Geneva.

The Fellowship aims at allowing young biosecurity leaders from the Global South to:

  • Learn & lead -> deepen your expertise in biosecurity and disarmament to build leadership skills
  • Think & act -> engage in discussions with senior experts and make your voice heard in the margins of multilateral disarmament meetings
  • Engage with community -> connect with young experts, join an international youth network and enjoy a space for dialogue between young scientists and BWC practitioners including diplomats and experts.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to apply, prospective fellows must:

Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. The selection process will be guided by the need to ensure the highest quality of participants while maintaining a gender and regional balance.

Program Overview

The Fellowship runs over a 3-month period and requires a minimal time commitment to accommodate fellows’ work or academic schedules. Activities include:

  • An Online Biosecurity Diplomacy Workshop from 24 May to 28 June with approximately one session (two to three hours) per week
  • An online briefing on the Working Group on the Strengthening of the Convention in July 2023
  • A five-day field visit in Geneva from 7 to 11 August 2023 during the meetings of the BWC Working Group on the Strengthening of the Convention


  • Fully funded visit to Geneva during the Meeting of the Working Group on the strengthening of the Convention
  • One month of pre-Working Group online workshop in the lead up to the field visit
  • Small group interactions with leading experts in disarmament and nonproliferation, biosecurity, biosafety, and health security
  • Opportunities to meet, collaborate and network with fellow young scientists, diplomats, experts, civil society organizations and other international youth-driven networks
  • Be part of a growing network of early-career professional in biosecurity

Method of Application

1 – Once selected, we will get the ball rolling really quickly – make sure you know what you will be jumping into.

Take a look at the fellows’ expected commitment, workshop and field visit dates prior to filling out your online application. The fellows are responsible for obtaining the relevant authorizations from their employer or universities.

2 – Complete your application form.

Make sure you have the following documents ready to attach to your application [in PDF format]:

  1. A brief curriculum vitae (1-3 pages)
  2. A recommendation letter from someone who can attest your qualifications*
  3. A copy of your passport [pdf, jpeg or png]

Incomplete or improperly filled-out application forms will not be considered.

*If you need more time to obtain a recommendation letter, you can submit your application without attaching one and send it later to indicating “Y4B Fellowship” and your name in the subject line. All candidates will need to provide a recommendation letter to be eligible.

3 – The Youth for Biosecurity Fellowship is a selective programme. The UN Office for Disarmament Affairs establishes a shortlist of candidates based on eligibility criteria, geographical and gender balance. An international jury then examines all shortlisted applications. Selection criteria are related to the demonstrated interest and experience in biosecurity, biosafety, youth advocacy and/or disarmament and non-proliferation.

4 – Candidates will be informed of the result by email about three weeks after the application’s deadline.

Successful candidate will have one week to confirm interest and availability to join the Fellowship.

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage

Application Deadline: March 29, 2023