Fellowship to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Programme

Internet Society Fellowships to the IETF are for Internet Society members from emerging or developing economies who have the technical skills and experience to contribute to the work of the IETF.

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The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is the world’s premier Internet standards setting organization. It operates as a large, open international community of network designers, operators, vendor experts, researchers, and other interested technologists. While much of the IETF’s work takes through correspondence, actually attending an event promotes a stronger understanding of the standards process, encourages active involvement in IETF work, and facilitates personal networking with others that have similar technical interests.

Attendance by technologists from emerging and developing economies is currently limited.

However, there are many talented individuals in those regions who are interested and follow IETF work, and would benefit from the opportunities that attending an IETF meeting presents.

As such, the IETF Fellowship programme is part of the Next Generation Leaders programme.

The main purposes of the programme are to:

  • Raise global awareness about the IETF and its work.
  • Foster greater understanding of, and participation in, the work of the IETF by technologists from emerging and developing economies.
  • Provide an opportunity for networking with individuals from around the world with similar technical interests.
  • Identify and foster potential future leaders from emerging and developing economies, and
  • Demonstrate the Internet community’s commitment to fostering greater global participation in Internet Forums such as the IETF.

What are the benefits of the programme?

The key benefits of the ISOC Fellowship to the IETF programme are that it:

  • Exposes and encourages participation in the IETF process from emerging and developing economies.
  • Creates connections between new and established open Internet standards developers.
  • Reinforces the importance of multi-disciplinary leaders in fostering the sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development of the Internet.
  • Empower Internet professionals by broadening their experience and enabling their participation in open Internet standards development.
  • Provides opportunities for Fellows to participate in the global Internet ecosystem and to interact and engage with the broader Internet engineering community.
  • Increases the visibility of Fellows and prepares them to deliver more meaningful impacts at the local and regional level.


Selection Criteria

Selection for the Fellowships is highly competitive. All applicants must be members of the Internet Society and must meet the selection criteria.

Please note, no age limits apply to Fellowships to the IETF.

How to Apply

Who should apply?

The IETF is a highly technical environment that represents the leading edge of Internet standards development and problem solving.

Internet Society Fellowships to the IETF are for Internet Society members from emerging or developing economies who have the technical skills and experience to contribute to the work of the IETF. The program is aimed at individuals that possess a solid level of technical education and enough knowledge about concrete areas of IETF work to follow and benefit from the meeting’s technical discussions.

Please note that the ISOC Fellowship to the IETF is not appropriate for, or aimed at, individuals with little technical knowledge or those looking for “basic” information about what the IETF does.

Those selected for the Fellowship will be asked to prepare for the meeting in advance.

The programme is also available for the returning fellows.

Read more about Returning Fellowship Programme

When are the fellowships available?

Fellowships are available for each of the three IETF meetings held each year. See the IETF web site for the meeting schedule.

How to apply

Applications are now closed.

Before you apply

Before applying for the Internet Society Fellowship to the IETF, please download the self assessment guide and ensure that you are able to satisfy the requirements of the checklist.

Timeline for Selection

12 November – Open call for applications

02 December – Close call for applications

21 December – Notify successful candidates

Practical Information for the Fellows

Internet Society Fellows to the IETF receive the following assistance:

  • Travel, accommodation, meeting registration fees, and a ticket to the IETF social event;
  • Introduction to a mentor from their area of interest to help them prepare for the meeting, network with other Experts, and successfully navigate the week-long meeting;
  • A stipend for incidental expenses; and
  • A certificate of participation.

Expectations for the Fellows

Internet Society Fellows are expected to:

  • Prepare in advance of the IETF meeting by reading relevant IETF documents and working- group discussions in their areas of interest;
  • Attend the IETF newcomers tutorial, plenary sessions, and working-group sessions throughout the week;
  • Share the experience and knowledge gained at the IETF with their local communities when they return home;
  • Participate in the NGL programme participant network; and
  • Assist with administrative aspects of the programme, including completion of a follow-up survey.

Meet the Fellows

Internet Society Fellows at IETF 97 in Seoul (taken from IETF Journal site)

More Information

For any other information, please contact

Brief History

The Internet Society successfully piloted the Fellowship programme at the 66th IETF meeting in Montreal in June 2006. Alain Aina and Michuki Mwangi, Internet leaders in Togo and Kenya respectively, participated in the first pilot and wrote the following about their experience:

“To most Internet engineers, the IETF is a revered organization and involvement is regarded as a career high. We felt that our participation at the IETF meeting in Montreal was both a personal achievement and a motivational experience. It gave life to a process that we had experienced only on mailing lists. Having had the opportunity to be at the meeting, we were able to appreciate the passion and the energy that are put into the IETF for the good of the Internet.”

Alain Aina and Michuki Mwangi from their article Impressions of Two IETF Newcomers about their experience as ISOC Fellows. IETF Journal, Volume 2, Issue 2.

Three individuals from the Pacific and Latin America participated in a second pilot phase at the 67th IETF meeting in San Diego in November 2006. All found the experience highly beneficial. Based on the success of the pilots, the Internet Society formalised the programme in 2007.