Program Guide

KRF Program Guide

Ministry of Science and ICT & National Research Foundation of Korea

Korea Research Fellowship helps you build the successful research career and will make your dream come true in South Korea.


  • Korea Research Fellowship (KRF) invites outstanding postdoctoral researchers to achieve a excellent performance in their early-mid stages of their professional careers.
    The program provides high-potential young & overseas researchers with a chance to carry out creative and emerging fields of projects ; and supports them to grow as research leaders of tomorrow.


  • To develop global research leaders and strengthen Korea-friendly networks worldwide.
  • To create the open research environment by conducting collaborative research and opinion exchanges with researchers in Korea.
  • To impact the development of society and benefit the wellbeing of humanity through R&D activities.

Fields of Research

  • All R&D fields of sciences and technologies

Fellow Eligibility

  • Ph. D. degree with less than 5 years of postdoctoral training
  • Proficiency in oral and written English or Korean
  • A citizen of a country that has diplomatic relations with Korea
  • Candidates with superior academic record and academic performance may be preferred.

Eligible host institutions include the following

  • Government-supported/National/Public research institutes, University and university-affiliated research institutes, corporate research institutes
  • Proficiency in oral and written English or Korean
  • A citizen of a country that has diplomatic relations with Korea
  • Candidates with superior academic record and academic performance may be preferred.
  • Contact NRF( with any questions regarding institutional eligibility

Application & Selection Procedure

Application & Selection Procedure
1st selection The host institutions(research institutions or universities) will draft selection standard based on the criteria provisioned by KRF, and will recommend qualified applicants according to its respective standards.
2nd selection The KRF evaluation committee will select the most successful candidates from the pool of applicants recommended by host institutions via document and panel review results
3rd selection The steering committee of KRF program will evaluate the final candidates and will notify the selected applicants.
  • Research proposal have to be made jointly by the candidate and their host in Korea. (Korean researchers will act as a mentor of the fellow.)

Evaluation criteria of document and panel review

  • Research plan and impact of the research project.
  • The capability and career prospects of the postdoctoral researchers
  • The plan and infrastructure of the host institutes

Support grants

  • Inclusive of travel expenses and all taxes, duties, or any other charges levied to the postdoctoral researchers.
    (the amount of support grants can be differentiated from by the job experience and annual performance report, standard of the host)

01. Procedures

  • 01

    Notifying selected KRF fellows
  • 02

    Fellows’ entry into South Korea and agreement conclusion
  • 03

    Commence Research
  • 04

    Annual Evaluation
  • 05

    Final Evaluation

02. Major details

Notification of selection results and discussion of invitation requirements:

  • Within 7 days from the date selection results are notified, host institutions shall submit the results of the final discussion to NRF regarding invitation conditions between the host institutions and fellows (Host institutions →NRF)

Submission of the agreement Report and concluding agreement

  • Contract between fellows and host institutions following the fellows ’ entry into South Korea, and conclude agreement with NRF.
  • Agreement Report- the contract between the fellows and host institutions, and the fellows ’ certificates of entry (passports, etc.) must be attached at the time the agreement with NRF is concluded.

KRF funds and commencement of fellowship:

  • Following the conclusion of the agreement, KRF funds will be deposited into host institutions’ account, and the fellowship will start accordingly ※ Entry into South Korea and the initiation of fellowship must be commenced within 3 months from the date selection results are notified
    (Delay of initiation research over 3 months will lead to the withdraw of the fellowship.).

Conducting fellowship and managing & executing research expenses:

  • Fellowship will be conducted in accordance with program guidelines and research plans.
  • Should any important changes in the plans occur, they must be reported to the NRF for approval.

Annual evaluation:

  • Fellows ’ research outcomes and sincerity and host institutions’ support will be evaluated
    (Any unsatisfactory results of the annual evaluation will lead to the suspension of support, and the agreement for the following year will not be renewed.).

Adjustment of research expenses:

  • The records of research expenditures used shall be reported to NRF and adjust costs within 3 months after the KRF agreement ends.

Reporting and evaluation outcomes:

  • Host institutions and fellows will submit outcome reports within one month after the KRF agreement ends, and NRF will evaluate the outcomes.

03. Roles and responsibilities of each party

  • Each party is obligated to observe the following roles and responsibilities.
Roles and responsibilities of each party
Classification Roles and responsibilities
Host institutions
  • Supervise overall affairs, including support for and achievements of fellows.
  • Designate exclusive staff in order to support settlement of fellows
    (e.g. entry into Korea, residence, education, living conditions, etc.)
  • Retrieve and return KRF funds in the case of fellowship renunciation or agreement cancellation.
  • Obligated to manage appropriately the fund provided under the fellowship, taking strict care to avoid improper use or expenditure.
  • Find and invite overseas postdoc fellows with outstanding capabilities, enhance their capacities, and support them by hiring as full- time employees, etc.
  • Secure matching fund in order to support fellows ’ research expenses (Direct research expenses).
Host Researchers
  • Manage the diligence, working attitude, progress, and achievements of fellows.
  • Manage research expenses, and overall research performance.
  • Support joint research systems with fellows in Korea and enhance their capabilities.
Managing Organization (NRF)
  • Examine and manage fellowship progress, PR activities and support fellowship policy.
  • Conduct annual and final evaluations and follow-up management of fellows and their achievements.

04. Management, etc. of KRF fellows

Work conditions:

  • Fellows are required to engage in full-time research at host institutions during KRF tenure.

Lecture and research performance:

  • Upon obtaining approval from the head of the competent host institutions and host researchers, fellows may undertake university lectures (up to 2 subjects) or in another R&D project related to the research project under the KRF program (Up to 30 % of participation rate).

Paid leave:

  • Up to 20 days per year (Based on the fellowship period set under the agreement)
  • The number of days for paid leave only includes business days (excluding national holidays and host institutions’ holidays), and if the number of days used as paid leave exceeds the allowable number, personnel costs corresponding to the amount exceeded, calculated on a daily basis, must be returned.
  • If the fellowship is withdrawn during the period of the fellowship tenure, the number of days for paid leave will be recalculated based on the actual period of the fellowship.

Overseas business trips:

  • Up to 20 days per year (base on the fellowship period set under the agreement)
  • If the accumulated number of days spent for overseas business trips exceeds 20 days per year, or if the number of days for one business trip exceeds 10 days, a plan for business trips must be approved first by the head of the host institutions, which in turn shall submit the details of approval and the plan for the business trip to the NRF.
  • A report on each business trip must be submitted to the head of the host institutions upon the end of the overseas business trip (within 7 days from the trip’s end).
  • The duration of any overseas business trip that is not recognized as an official business trip will be deducted from the number of days for paid leave: If the duration exceeds the maximum number of days for paid leave, personnel costs corresponding to the excess will be retrieved.

Research Performance:

  • No gap should be created in research performance: should any gap in research performance be created for one month or longer, the fellowship will be withdrawn and KRF funds must be retrieved.
  • A maximum of 3 months are allowed in unavoidable cases such as sick leave or maternity leave, after official approval from NRF. Maternity leave researchers are entitled to 90 days paid leave in accordance to the employment policy set by Ministry of Employment and Labor.

05. Matters to be observed for the KRF program

The fellowship may be withdrawn, or requested the reimbursement of money already paid if it judges any of the following circumstances to pertain:

  • Where it is deemed to have caused an obvious disadvantage to national interest.
  • Where any inconvenience is caused to the fellowship’s progress, or where any grave setbacks are caused intentionally.
  • Where any false information is submitted in the application forms, fellowship plans, etc.
  • Where it is deemed difficult to achieve the originally anticipated research outcomes due to any delay in research performance by the host institutions or fellows, or where it is deemed such institutions or fellows do not have the ability to complete planned research.
  • Where any host institutions or fellows cease performing the project.
  • Where any fellows have caused, or is likely to cause, a gap in research performance from one month or longer, except for unavoidable circumstances such as sick leave or maternity leave.

When the fellowship is withdrawn, the host institution is obligated to retrieve KRF funds.

  • When the fellowship is withdrawn due to any grounds attributable to host institutions or fellows, all or some of the KRF funds that was already paid must be retrieved, and sanctions can be implemented where necessary.

06. Follow-up management of research outcomes

All tangible and intangible rights obtained from the program, such as intellectual property rights, are owned by their respective host institutions, subject to the institution’s regulations or mutual agreement.

Any publication of research outcomes must indicate the following acknowledgement.

  • Korean : 이 논문은 0000년도 정부(과학기술정보통신부)의 재원으로 한국연구재단의 지원을 받아 수행된 외우수신진연구자지원사업(KRF, Korea Research Fellowship)의 연구임(No. 한국연구재단에서 부여한 과제 관리번호)
  • English : This work was supported by the Korea Research Fellowship Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (KRF project grant number)