Stanley Undergraduate Awards for International Research

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

Deadline: Monday, February 5, 2018

Stanley Grant Final Essay Workshop
Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018 5:00-6:30 p.m. | 1117 University Capitol Centre Karen Wachsmuth, Associate Director of International Fellowships, International Programs Kelly O’Berry, IRB Education and Outreach Program Manager Brent Collinsworth, IRB Education and Outreach Specialist

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

The Stanley Undergraduate Award for International Research is given annually to outstanding University of Iowa undergraduates for the pursuit of learning activities in international studies that are not available on the UI campus. The competition is open to all UI students; students need not be U.S. citizens to be eligible.

Awards are made to students who have, in close consultation with faculty members, developed well-conceived, small-scale independent research or fieldwork projects on international topics, which require travel abroad. Students interested in combining Study Abroad programs with Stanley awards will need to read specific guidelines regarding this procedure. Tuition and fees are not covered by Stanley Awards.

Award stipends reimburse expenses up to the allotted award amount, between $1,000 and $3,000, depending on merit and on 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.

Results of the competition will be announced by mid-March. Successful applicants must use and claim the funds by May 2019.

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Eligibility Criteria

  • Applicants must be University of Iowa undergraduate students in good academic standing.
  • Students may focus solely on their research project while abroad or combine the research with a structured study abroad program.
  • Applicants are expected to spend a minimum of four weeks and, in most cases, not more than three months in the field (unless participating in a study abroad program).
  • Recipients must plan to return to the UI for at least one semester after the period abroad and before graduation.  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.
  • Stanley Awards may be used in conjunction with other scholarships.
  • Former Stanley Award recipients are ineligible to apply.
  • Adherence to International Programs' policy regarding IRB as stated below 

Travel Eligibility for all applicants:

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE TRAVEL ALERTS AND WARNINGS CHECK Prior to consideration for UI funding for international travel, you need to verify that your destination(s) are currently NOT under any U.S. Department of State warning. Go to the website below and enter your destination(s) in the “Refine by Destination” search bar. If you find no current warning or alert, you may continue with your application. If there is a current warning or alert, contact International Programs at to discuss your proposed travel plans and request guidelines for drafting a travel proposal for the International Programs Travel Advisory Committee (IPTAC) for review. Funding will not be released without approval from IPTAC.

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Review Criteria (Revised for 2018)

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

  • provide adequate evidence of academic and linguistic (if applicable) preparation;
  • have clearly defined degree-related academic and personal objectives;
  • contribute to student’s overall academic program;
  • demonstrate the adequacy of the research method or fieldwork design;
  • demonstrate the project's potential to make a scholarly or practical impact.

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Obligations as a Stanley Award Recipient

  • Recipients must present their research to the University of Iowa community and may be asked to participate in 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 materials, such as PowerPoint presentations and written research documents.

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Application Components Checklist (Revised for 2018)

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

  • Personal Information
  • CV (2-pg. limit)
  • Research Proposal
  • Budget
  • Human Subjects Research Advisor Form
  • Name of Faculty Project Advisor Reference (only one (1) faculty reference is required)

Note: A Personal Profile is no longer required for 2018 applications

2. Faculty Project Advisor 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

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Application Instructions

 Note: the 2018 Stanley Award electronic application is currently undergoing revision. Please check the website for further updates on this process. 

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

B. Current CV (2-page maximum) that includes the following fields (New for 2018)

 (Please refer to CVs and Resumes Guidelines from the UI Graduate College:

  • Education - major/program (anticipated completion)
  • Topic of thesis or degree-related final project (if applicable)
  • Student activities/Community Engagement - club memberships/offices held/volunteering
  • Honors/Awards/Conference Presentations/Publications
  • Previous time abroad - (professional/volunteering/study abroad, etc.)
  • Employment (on/off campus)

C. 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 and/or approaches/Detailed plan of research in destination country
    • Language background and strategies (if needed)
    • Timeline
    • IRB considerations
  • Possible outcomes/Intellectual and public impacts from the research
  • The importance of a Stanley grant for your degree objectives and career goals

D. Budget. Specify the period of time you will be in the country and how you will use the fellowship 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 sends e-mail) 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. 

E. Human Subjects Research Advisor Form (Revised for 2018): All applicants must consult with your faculty advisor before completing this form.  Please see detailed explanation below.

All applicants must work with a UI faculty advisor when designing and conducting their project. If you are selected for an award, you must attend the Mandatory Stanley Meeting, where you will be required to submit a Human Subjects Research Determination (HSRD) form to ask if approval must be obtained from the University of Iowa Institutional Review Board (IRB). The HSRD form is a short form in the electronic IRB application system called HawkIRB. You will provide information about your study design and procedures and an IRB Chair will determine whether your project meets the definition of human subjects research. There are two possible outcomes from an HSRD form:

  • IRB approval is required - You must then submit a HawkIRB New Project form and receive IRB approval prior to implementing any research activity. You and your faculty advisor are required to follow all federal regulations and institutional policies regarding the conduct of human subjects research.
  • IRB approval is not required – You are free to conduct the project as described in the HSRD form. If you change the project design, the only way to tell if you need IRB approval is to submit another HSRD form.

A representative from the IRB will assist awardees with completing an HSRD form at the March 2018 Mandatory Meeting.  

F. 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 Undergraduate 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.

Important Stanley Requirements

  • All Stanley grantees must attend a mandatory session before traveling abroad. This session will take place in mid-March.
  • No funding will be awarded for travel commencing before this mandatory session.

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Application Forms

For Students

For Faculty

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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.   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 travel.

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Contact Information

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

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