Stanley Graduate Awards for International Research

Funded in part by the Stanley-UI Foundation Support Organization
Note: If you are an undergraduate student, please see Stanley Undergraduate Awards for International Research

Deadline: Monday, February 5, 2018

Note: All applicants selected for the award must attend the Mandatory Stanley Awardee Meeting, Wednesday, March 8, 10 a.m.-12 noon.

Award Overview
Eligibility Criteria
Review Criteria
Obligations as a Stanley Award Recipient
Application Components Checklist
Application Instructions
Application Forms
Contact Information

Award Overview

Stanley Graduate Awards for International Research are given annually to University of Iowa graduate students for the pursuit of international research/fieldwork and career interests.  The competition is open to all UI students; students need not be U.S. citizens to be eligible.

Approximately twenty award stipends for expenses up to the allotted award amount, between $1,000 and $2,500, will be made to UI graduate and professional students in any academic field--natural sciences, humanities, social sciences, arts, professional studies-- who are in the early stages (pre-proposal stage only) of conducting research abroad for master theses or doctoral dissertations. Award amounts vary according to merit and to travel and living costs associated with the research project. Please note: the Stanley awards have recently changed from scholarship awards to travel reimbursement awards. Please see the application instructions for the description of allowable travel expenses according to UI policy.

PLEASE NOTE: Doctoral students who have had their proposals formally approved by the faculty should apply for the T. Anne Cleary International Dissertation Research Fellowships from the Graduate College; they are ineligible for Stanley Awards.

Tuition and fees are not covered by these awards.

Results of the competition will be announced by mid-March 2017. Successful applicants must use and claim the funds by May 2017.

Back to top

Eligibility Criteria

All applicants must be UI graduate and professional students in good academic standing.

Those eligible to apply are limited to:

  • M.A./M.F.A./M.S. students who are proposing to conduct research abroad for their theses or
  • Ph.D. students who have not yet had their dissertation topics/proposals approved and who would benefit in preparing their proposal from a period of preliminary research abroad
  • Professional students pursuing College-approved international research initiatives (including translational research) abroad that are clearly related to their professional education

Priority will be given to M.A./M.F.A./M.S. and Ph.D. students.

Those ineligible to apply include:

  • doctoral students who have had their dissertation topics/proposals approved (these students should apply for the T. Anne Cleary International Dissertation Research Fellowships from the Graduate College)
  • former Stanley Award recipients
  • M.A./M.F.A./M.S. students planning to graduate during the spring of the award period (those anticipating an Aug. or Dec. graduation should contact Karen Wachsmuth in International Programs to discuss eligibility)

Preference may be given to students who have not received any research funding from internal or external sources during the past year (not including tuition scholarships and fellowships).

Recipients must plan to return to the UI for at least one semester after the period abroad and before graduation.

Applicants are expected to spend a minimum of four weeks and, in most cases, not more than three months in the field.

Students are not required to have previous overseas experience.

For international students, a strong preference will be given to applicants proposing research in countries other than their own. Awards may be funded at a lower level for these students.

Adherence to International Programs' policy regarding IRB as stated below.

Back to top

Review Criteria

The selection committee is seeking well-written, complete proposals that:

  • provide adequate evidence of academic and linguistic (if applicable) preparation;
  • have clearly defined academic and personal objectives;
  • contribute to student’s overall academic program;
  • demonstrate the adequacy of the research method or fieldwork design.

Back to top

Obligations as a Stanley Award Recipient

Recipients must present their research to the University of Iowa community and may be asked to participate in the International Programs Student Funding Expo or other International Programs events.

Recipients must submit a report, including the submission of photographs, within two weeks of return from conducting research abroad. See for details.

Recipients are expected to credit the fellowship on their theses/dissertations and should acknowledge the Stanley-UI Foundation Support Organization in all written materials.

Back to top

Application Components Checklist

1. Completed Electronic Application Form consisting of the the following (to be submitted by student):

  • Personal Information
  • Research Proposal
  • Personal Profile
  • Budget
  • International Programs Stanley Award Human Subjects Research Advisor Form
  • Name of Faculty Project Advisor Reference (only one (1) faculty reference is required)

2. Faculty Project Advisor Electronic Reference Form (to be submitted by faculty member-student is responsible for contacting faculty)

  • One (1) faculty reference is required: this faculty member must be the principal faculty advisor for the Stanley project

Back to top

Application Instructions

A. Applicant Information.  In this section you will be asked to outline your project and list your level of foreign language ability and preparation (if necessary).

B. Research Proposal. Please submit a 900-1,000 word (approximately 2 pages) research proposal summarizing your research plans and your reasons for undertaking this research in the chosen country. Include the following sections:

  • Abstract (generally one paragraph in length)
  • Main research problems/questions
  • Methods/approaches/Detailed plan of research in destination country
    • Language background and strategies (if needed)
    • Timeline
    • IRB considerations
  • Possible outcomes
  • The importance of a Stanley grant for your degree objectives and career goals

Personal Statement. Provide the review committee with a 400-500 word (approximately one-page) narrative profile of yourself as a person. You may choose to include information about your personal history, family background, influences on your intellectual development, the educational and cultural opportunities to which you have been exposed, and the ways in which these experiences have affected you. You should also place your current research in the perspective of your future academic and career goals.

Budget. Specify the period of time you will be in the country and how you will use the award money according to the outline included in the application packet. If you are applying for other scholarships or grants (either within the University of Iowa or from external agencies), list these on the budget form and indicate the amount and status of and the date of notification for each award.

  • Stanley funding will be disbursed to students as expense reimbursement, not as an award.
  • Allowable travel expenses:  

    You must comply with the University of Iowa and International Programs travel expense policies.  The UI policies can be found at   Review the UI Travel policies and the IP Travel Guidelines for Stanley Awards before making travel arrangements.  Please note that IP requirements may be more restrictive than UI requirements

    Within two weeks of the completion of your travel, contact to initiate the reimbursement process. Only allowable travel expenses that are properly documented will be reimbursed.

  • UI International Health Insurance is required. The University of Iowa mandates international health insurance for all UI students traveling abroad for educational purposes—studying abroad, interning, conducting research, performing a rotation, presenting at a conference, or any other educationally-related activity abroad. This “blanket” insurance coverage is provided through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI). More information can be found on our International Travel Insurance Plan FAQs page.

 Stanley applicants must include these insurance costs in their proposed budgets.

For those students who intend to combine Stanley grants with a Study Abroad program only:

  • You must submit a Cost Sheet from Study Abroad for the specific program in which you are planning to enroll in addition to their budget.
  • Stanley grants do not cover Study Abroad program fees.
  • Students must clearly and definitively indicate how the Study Abroad program will be related to their Stanley grant. You must show that the time exclusively devoted to your Stanley research or field project must be equivalent to a minimum of 4 weeks. Proposals that do not clearly specify these conditions will not be considered.

International Programs Stanley Award Human Subjects Research Advisor Form: All applicants must confer with their primary UI faculty project advisor concerning the potential need for approval for their research from the University of Iowa Institutional Review Board (IRB) for Human Subjects Research. You and your advisor will both be required to sign separate IP Stanley Award Human Subjects Research Advisor Forms stating the advisor’s determination of whether you need to pursue full IRB approval for your project. If your advisor determines that you need IRB approval for your project, then he/she will instruct you about how to proceed. Your advisor is ultimately responsible, along with you, for compliance with federal and University regulations concerning human subjects research. Information can be found at the University of Iowa website for IRB. Completion of the advisor form is required for a Stanley Award application for IP administrative purposes; completion of the form does not exempt you or your advisor from further IRB communication or action. This is a serious matter, so do not simply ask your advisor to sign this form; the project and the need for approval must be thoroughly discussed.  IP cannot advise on IRB and HSO matters; this is a departmental and disciplinary consideration.

Transcripts--Note (as of 2016): Applicants can no longer submit these via webform.  International Programs will download transcripts through MyUI under Student Records, Completed Grades.

2. Faculty Project Advisor Electronic Reference Form: One letter of recommendation from the Faculty Project Advisor is required. Applicants should contact their Faculty Project Advisor directly to ask for a recommendation. Faculty Project Advisors should be directed to the Faculty Project Advisor Reference Form for Stanley Graduate Award Applicants on this website. Each advisor will need to fill out the complete form, which includes the International Programs Stanley Award Human Subjects Research Advisor Form and a separate letter of recommendation, and submit it online.

IMPORTANT: You alone are responsible for making sure that your advisor submits your Stanley recommendation by the deadline. Applications submitted without faculty recommendations will be considered incomplete and will not receive consideration. Please contact us before the deadline if you have any concerns about your letters.

Updates on Stanley Process

  • All 2016 Stanley grantees must attend a mandatory session before traveling abroad. This session will take place on March 9 from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
  • No funding will be awarded for travel commencing before this mandatory session.
  • All airline tickets must be purchased through International Programs--students should not purchase their own airline tickets 

Back to top

Application Forms

For Students

I. Electronic Student Application

Deadline: Monday, February 5, 2018

For Faculty

II. Faculty Project Advisor Reference Form for Stanley Graduate Award Applicants (Student applicants are responsible for directing faculty to the appropriate form on the website

Deadline: Monday, February 5, 2018

Faculty must submit all forms electronically by the deadline in order for applications to be considered.  Each advisor will need to fill out the complete form linked above, which includes the International Programs Stanley Award Human Subjects Research Advisor Form and a separate letter of recommendation, and submit it online. Faculty will attest to student eligibility (please see Eligibility Requirements for M.A., Ph.D., and professional students above) and must answer "No" to the question "This student has had his/her dissertation topic/proposal formally approved by the faculty" in order for the application to be considered.  Please direct any questions regarding specific cases to Karen Wachsmuth prior to submission.  

Back to top

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What if my budget is more than the maximum award amount? Will I still be funded the maximum amount possible?

In many instances, the proposed budget will exceed the funding limit, and reviewers will need to exercise discretion with regard to the amount of funding provided. Decisions about the amount of funding awarded are based on reasonableness and justification of the budget items listed in the application.

Is it necessary to have experience in the language of the country I want to go to before I apply? Before I leave?

There is no official requirement within the Stanley Award guidelines for language proficiency, although the application asks for information about language study. Students should understand that communicating in the language of the chosen country for study or research is, at least in most cases, highly desirable and often needed for conducting the work. Rudimentary knowledge of the language is also a courtesy to the country’s people and often necessary for day-to-day survival.

When will the Stanley Awards be announced?

International Programs will announce awards in mid-March. Students will need to check their email often for notifications. 

How are the funds disbursed?

If you are chosen for an award, you will receive an award letter that includes detailed instructions for award disbursement. Stanley funding will be disbursed to students as expense reimbursement. In order to receive reimbursement for expenses incurred abroad during the grant period, such as transportation, food, housing, etc., students will be required to submit a Travel Expense Voucher (TEV) within two weeks of return from travel. Awardees may be able to purchase their airfare in advance using a UI procurement card. After returning, grantees will submit the TEV. Funds are normally disbursed 2-3 weeks following the submission of all required paperwork.

What is IRB and how do I know if it applies to me?

IRB stands for Institutional Review Board; information can be found on the International Programs' website under IRB Review Steps. All students who will be working with human subjects through interviews, questionnaires, surveys or any type of research that will involve others’ participation and personal history may be required to secure IRB approval.

Please consider the environmental impact of your international travels.

Back to top

Contact Information

Karen Wachsmuth
Associate Director, International Fellowships
International Programs
1111 University Capitol Centre

Back to top