Vera Thiess Fellowship for Women Guidelines and Application


The International RiverFoundation’s Vera Thiess Fellowship for Women gives women the opportunity to gain valuable work experience through the IRF and its partners, with the goal of advancing women’s participation in water and river management. This fellowship goes not only towards supporting the successful candidate, but towards continuing the important work of bridging the gap in women’s participation in river basin management.

Awarded in the name of the late Vera Thiess, a long-time supporter of the IRF, the Fellowship recognises Vera’s and the Thiess family’s long-time philanthropic support and commitment to forward-looking initiatives of the International RiverFoundation. Through the Fellowship, we honour Vera’s legacy by supporting women’s involvement in river basin and water management. We also acknowledge the inspirational role of the Thiess family, whose story began with five brothers who started a small earthmoving business that then grew into a globally respected establishment that overcame hardship, broke boundaries and forged new ground. Read more about the late Vera Thiess here.

Fellows will have the opportunity to undertake beneficial activities with the IRF and its alumni and partners worldwide. Unlike a research fellowship, this is a unique opportunity to gain valuable work experience with IRF and its partners through developing and implementing solutions to real-world issues.

The award

  • A one-year Fellowship with the International RiverFoundation (valued at up to AU$40,000)
  • Project work and funding to work with the International RiverFoundation’s global partners
  • Funding to attend and present at the 20th International Riversymposium and Environmental Flows Conference in Brisbane, Australia (18-20 September 2017), where the fellowship will be formally awarded, and to attend and present at the 21st International Riversymposium (date and location TBC).


  • A minimum of 10 hours’ commitment per month to working with the International RiverFoundation.
  • A minimum of 160 hours of work (approximately 4 weeks full-time) with at least one of the International RiverFoundation’s global partners. This may be divided into short-term, project-based segments or be conducted over a longer period of time.
  • Availability to attend the 20th International Riversymposium and Environmental Flows Conference in Brisbane, Australia from 18-20 September 2017.
  • Availability to attend the 21st International Riversymposium (date and location TBC).


  • Personal and professional development through interaction with world-leading river basin management practitioners
  • Experience in putting ideas into action in the workplace and on-ground
  • The chance to provide personal insights while gaining further exposure in the river community, by writing for the International RiverFoundation’s forthcoming blog
  • Access to valuable International RiverFoundation networks to build beneficial linkages in the global water sector
  • The ability to continue to encourage women’s involvement in river basin management by actively participating in the IRF’s Women and Water event each year


Applicants must:

  • Be female
  • Be a recent graduate or in the first five years of their career
  • Have a demonstrated interest in the water sector, preferably in sustainable river basin management
  • Be able to travel internationally throughout 2018
  • Submit their application by 11:59pm GMT, Sunday 30 July 2017

Application process

Applicants are required to submit the following by Sunday 30 July:

  • A completed online application form (below)
  • An up-to-date resume with references
  • A one page cover letter demonstrating commitment and passion for the water sector and/or sustainable river basin management, and describing how the fellowship will help achieve individual and global goals
  • A photograph (to be used for communication purposes only, if selected as a finalist)

Finalists will be announced Tuesday 1 August and will be required to reach out to IRF partners, and produce an itinerary and budget detailing proposed activities undertaken over the year, by Friday 18 August.

The winner will be announced Monday 21 August, with the official award to be made on 19 September, during the 20th International Riversymposium in Brisbane.

Judging criteria

Applications will be judged on:

  • Demonstrated passion and commitment to the water sector and/or sustainable river basin management
  • Proactive utilisation of opportunities to advance river knowledge, management and restoration
  • Achievements in river knowledge, management and restoration
  • Academic achievement
  • Demonstrated efforts to further women in river management
  • Anticipated outcomes of the Fellowship

Apply for the Vera Thiess Fellowship for Women

Need assistance? Contact us.


Applications close:
Sunday 30 July
(11:59pm GMT)

Finalists notified:
Tuesday 1 August

Finalists’ program plan due:
Friday 18 August

Winner notified:
Monday 21 August

Winner to present at Riversymposium:
18-20 September