Office of Graduate Student External Grants and Fellowships | GradFund

Finding Funding for International Research: A Beginner’s Guidepost

by | Dec 11, 2017 | Planning When to Apply, Proposal Writing Advice

There are myriad awards, some of which are open to both domestic and international students, that allow an applicant to conduct up to a year of research abroad. At Rutgers, our students generally look into these opportunities to conduct a portion of or their entire dissertation research abroad. Like crafting any other application, applying for funding to support research overseas requires a series of carefully planned steps. The action plan outlined below will serve as a guidepost for students interested in finding funding overseas.

Start by creating an award map

There are multiple funders that will support your research overseas, each with a different goal and mission. Start exploring your options early on to decide which award would make the most sense for you to apply for. If you think you’ve found an award and would like a better introduction to it, book a ‘Help with a Funder‘ meeting where we will walk you through the specific award you’ve picked and talk about how to craft a compelling application.

Look into your funder’s requirements

Preparing for research abroad is a complex process that entails multiple steps and pieces, and some funders may be more stringent in what they require that an applicant demonstrate to be awarded a particular grant or fellowship. Before you begin working on your application, do some research on the award you picked and see if you need to have prior language skills, an institutional affiliation with a local host, or an official research permit in your destination country to carry out your project. Planning ahead for these details will give you a peace of mind while working on your application.

Create a compelling narrative for being abroad

While each funder has a different mission and goal in supporting research abroad, each will want to see a compelling reason as to why you want to be overseas. Therefore, it is crucial for you to answer two questions to make a compelling case for your application: 1) Why this country? and 2) Why now? In seeking responses to these questions, reviewers will want to see what you will be doing in the particular country you proposed to be in that you can’t do here, and why now is the best time to do what you proposed to do. As you are writing your application, make sure that you can demonstrate that you have sufficient preparation to help you complete your project abroad, allowing the readers to see both your preliminary work and the feasibility of the project.

Know the application submission process

Each award has a different submission process with a specific set of requirements. Some awards will require that you submit your application through the institution in which you are currently enrolled. Submission processes that have institutional endorsement requirements may have an on-campus deadline, which is usually earlier than the official award deadline. In a similar manner, such applications may also require you to go through an on-campus interview. As you are preparing your application, make sure that you know what the submission process looks like. Knowing the exact submission requirements will help you avoid last-minute surprises.

As with all funding applications, starting out early is the first step in crafting a competitive funding application for international research. By following the suggestions above, you will demonstrate to your reviewers that you are ready to tackle the complex task of conducting research abroad.

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