Designed to expand the accessibility of overseas research while increasing U.S. knowledge and expertise on the region, the Research Scholar Program supports fellows seeking to complete overseas, policy-relevant research. Fellowships last three to nine consecutive months and include round-trip international travel; housing and living stipends; visa support; overseas health, accident, and evacuation insurance; archive access; and logistical support. Following the completion of the research term, fellows will return to the U.S. and share their findings through presentations, articles, and lectures in order to strengthen and broaden current scholarship on the region.
The total value of each fellowship, administered by American Councils, ranges from $7,000 to $25,000, with actual levels of support depending on the duration of the overseas research period. Typical awards include:
- International airfare from the scholar's home city to their host city overseas
- Academic affiliation at a leading local university or educational institution
- Visa(s) arranged by American Councils in direct collaboration with academic host institutions in order to facilitate archive access and guarantee timely visa registration
- A housing stipend
- A monthly living stipend
- Health insurance of up to $100,000 per accident or illness
- Ongoing logistical support from American Councils staff, including in-country orientation and 24-hour emergency aid
Applicants should indicate their proposed research location(s) in the application. Applicants to the Research Scholar Program may only apply for research in a total of two countries maximum.
Programs are available in:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- North Macedonia
Reporting & Outreach Requirements for Fellows
Fellows on the Research Scholar Program will be expected to submit regular "check-in" reports to American Councils with updates on research progress, as well as information on any obstacles encountered or significant changes undertaken in the original research plan. These brief reports will be submitted bi-monthly while in-country. Following the completion of the overseas work, fellows will submit a final report, summarizing their in-country work, relevant findings, and any significant collaborative activities (e.g., publications, presentations at conferences, joint projects) undertaken. All fellows will also complete pre- and post-program surveys.
Research conducted on the Title VIII Research Scholar Program must contribute to a body of knowledge enabling the U.S. to better understand the region and formulate effective policies within it. Fellows will be expected to share their research findings through established channels of scholarly communication, outreach activities briefings with policy making communities or think tanks, as appropriate.
U.S. graduate students, faculty, and independent scholars are eligible to apply. While a wide-range of topics receive support each year, all funded research must contribute to a body of knowledge enabling the U.S. to better understand the region and formulate effective policies within it. All applicants should clearly describe the policy-relevance of their work, be it in anthropology, history, international relations, political science, or some other field. Applicants must submit:
- A completed online application form
- Research proposal (3 to 5 pages) and bibliography
- Proposed program timeline (including monthly research goals)
- Research synopsis in the host country language (700 words)
- Policy-relevance essay (1-2 pages)
- Archive list and/or sample of survey instrument for those proposing survey activity
- Updated curriculum vitae or resume
- Photocopy of the inside page of current U.S. passport, clearly showing photograph, passport number, and expiration date
- Two letters of recommendation
- Official transcripts (of all college- and university-level coursework from the past five years, including all summer programs)*
*For graduate students only.
Letters of recommenders are asked to comment on the relevance and feasibility of the proposed in-country research and the candidate’s qualifications for undertaking the proposed research overseas at this time. The letters of recommendation can be from colleagues, professors, advisors, or other qualified persons who are familiar with the applicant's work. At least one letter of recommendation should address the applicant’s language skills and ability to conduct research in the host country.
The competition for funding is open and merit-based. Participants must have the necessary academic background for conducting advanced, independent in-country research. In order to receive funding, applicants must be U.S. citizens. All applications will receive consideration without regard to any factor such as race, color, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, national origin, geographic location, socio-economic status, marital status, family responsibilities, veteran status, political affiliation, or disability.
Selection Process & Notification
All applications are reviewed by outside readers with expertise in the applicant's specific research field and region. Written comments from these evaluators, along with all application materials, are then reviewed by a final, independent selection committee of leading U.S. scholars. Criteria used to evaluate applications include (but are not limited to):
- Relevance of research to U.S. policy makers
- Potential of proposed research to provide new insights into the region and/or discipline
- Project focus and degree to which timelines for completion of research are realistic
- Sufficiency of applicant's training and background, including knowledge of existing literature
- Degree of scholarly need for access to resources overseas
- Sufficiency of applicant's language skills to carry out the proposed work (as demonstrated by the applicant's research synopsis and at least one letter of reference)
Fellowship awards are announced roughly twelve weeks after the application deadline. Alternate awards are finalized approximately two weeks after initial fellowships have been announced; however, some alternate awards may take significantly longer to be finalized.
Please note the following important dates related to the application and program:
- Passports: For Russia, your passport must be valid for 18 months after the program start date. For many other countries, you passport must be valid for 6 months after the program end date. If you do not have a current passport, if it does not have two consecutive blank visa/stamp pages, or if it is not valid for the lengths of time mentioned above, then you should apply for a passport immediately. It can take as long as two months to receive a new passport. American Councils is not responsible for travel delays stemming from the late submission of valid passports or other travel documents.
- Application Deadline: The application deadline for the Title VIII Research Scholar Program is October 1, 2020. All application materials (including recommendations and transcripts) are due at this time.
- Selection: Fellowship awards are announced roughly twelve weeks after the application deadline. Alternate awards are finalized approximately two weeks after initial fellowships have been announced; however, some alternate awards may take significantly longer to be finalized.
- Program Dates: All programs are three to nine consecutive months in duration. All Title VIII Research Scholar programs must take place between June 1, 2021 and August 31, 2022.
- Reporting: Title VIII Research Scholar Program fellows must submit final reports within thirty days of completing their program.
American Councils is dedicated to helping scholars maximize their research time in-country by providing effective logistical support to fellows both before they leave the U.S. and while they are abroad. Before their departure, fellows receive comprehensive pre-departure materials providing detailed information on such topics as health and safety, travel, and communications. American Councils’ Washington D.C. staff consult regularly with scholars to plan convenient travel, obtain appropriate visas, arrange academic affiliations, finalize housing, and provide stipend payments.
Fellows are enrolled in comprehensive overseas health, accident, and evacuation insurance through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) for the duration of the program. CISI provides medical coverage of up to $250,000 per accident or illness. Enrollment in the CISI plan also provides full coverage for emergency medical evacuation.
For countries that require visas for entry, fellows are provided with a single-entry visa to the host-country for the duration of the program. It is the fellow's responsibility to obtain any other visas required by individual itineraries. Visa application information and forms are provided upon acceptance to the program.