The University of Iowa

Stanley Awards for International Research

About the Award

The Stanley Undergraduate and Graduate Awards for International Research are given annually to outstanding University of Iowa students for the pursuit of research and learning activities in international studies. 

Update for 2022: Please see correct deadline below; however, the information below relates to 2021 Awards.

This page will be updated soon--please look for Stanley Workshops beginning in late October.  

Stanley Awards will take the form of Fellowships instead of Travel Awards due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and restrictions on international travel.

A fellowship is a short-term opportunity to focus on professional development funded by an organization, which can support a wide range of research and creative activities. Please refer to the following for more information about fellowships:

Stanley Fellowships must be undertaken for at least one month and not more than three months. 

Applicants must propose internationally-focused projects that can be done remotely. No projects involving travel will be considered.

Sanjna Singh performing part of a Red Manjushri charya dance
Sanjna Singh performing part of a Red Manjushri charya dance

Past Winners and Projects

Please note that these projects were funded as Travel Awards and are not models for 2021 Fellowships.


UI undergraduate and graduate students in good academic standing (including non-U.S. citizens); Must return for at least one semester at UI after Fellowship period.

Deadline for applicants and recommenders


Applicants should begin working with their recommenders in November 2021 to make sure that recommendations are submitted by the deadline.


Minimum 4 weeks (no exceptions), Maximum 3 months

Time frame

Funding must be used between May 2022 and May 2023

Note:  All 2022 Stanley awardees must attend a Mandatory Information session in early March 1. 


Drew Etienne Drew Etienne working on state park poster designs
Drew Etienne working on WPA-inspired state park poster designs

Karen Wachsmuth, associate director of international fellowships, will be joined by Kelly O'Berry, IRB Education outreach program manager, to discuss strategies and timelines for putting together a successful application. 

Stanley Informational Workshops 2021 (TBA)


Type of Award

Awards are made to students who have, in close consultation with faculty members, developed well-conceived, small-scale independent research projects on international topics that can be done remotely.

Stanley Award stipends will be paid as fellowship funds in the amount of $1,500-$2,200 awarded after the completion of the fellowship. Tuition and fees are not covered by Stanley Awards.

Students are not required to have previous research 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. In some cases, students may combine independent research with a virtual study abroad program.

Graduate Eligibility

  • M.A./M.F.A./M.S. students conducting research for theses
  • Ph.D. students performing preliminary research for a dissertation prospectus
  • Professional students pursuing College-approved international research initiatives (including translational research) that are clearly related to their professional education.  Priority is 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 Dr. Karen Wachsmuth to discuss eligibility).

 Obligations as a Stanley Award Recipient

  • All Stanley grantees must attend a mandatory session in March.
  • No funding will be awarded for travel.
  • 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 the completion of the Fellowship. 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.

Application Components (Included in the graduate  and undergraduate application forms)

A. Applicant Information

B. Current CV (2-page maximum) with the following fields

  • 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

A 900-1,000 word (approximately 2 pages) 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 remote internationally-focused research
  • Language background and strategies (if needed)
  • Timeline
  • IRB considerations
  • Academic and linguistic preparation
  • Possible outcomes/Intellectual and public impacts from the research
  • The importance of a Stanley grant for degree objectives and career goals

D. Human Subjects Research Advisor Form (included with Advisor Reference Form)

All applicants must consult with a faculty advisor before completing this form and work with a UI faculty advisor when designing and conducting their project.

E. Faculty Project Advisor 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 Stanley Undergraduate Award Faculty Project Advisor Reference Form or Stanley Graduate Award Faculty Project Advisor Reference Form (see forms below under Application Forms section).

A complete reference includes the IP Stanley Award Human Subjects Research Advisor Form and a separate letter of recommendation.

F. Faculty Project Advisor Reference Form: submitted by the principal faculty advisor for the Stanley project to by the deadline. See pdf below; click on links for Faculty References.

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. 

Application forms

For Applicants:

Undergraduate Student Application

Graduate Student Application

Deadline: January 27, 2021 12 p.m.

Send completed form to

Please fill out the form in Adobe Acrobat Reader –free download at

For Faculty References:

Undergraduate - Faculty Project Advisor Reference Form

Graduate- Faculty Project Advisor Reference Form

Deadline: January 27, 2021 12 p.m.

Faculty should send completed form to by the January deadline. Please fill out the form in Adobe Acrobat Reader –free download at

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 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.
  • applicants must show that time exclusively devoted to the proposed Stanley research or project is equivalent to a minimum of 4 weeks.

IRB Process for Awardees

Human Subjects Research Determination (HSRD) Form

At the Mandatory Stanley Meeting in March, all awardees must submit a Human Subjects Research Determination (HSRD) form to determine whether your project requires approval from the University of Iowa Institutional Review Board (IRB). The HSRD is a short form found in the electronic IRB application system called HawkIRB. After submitting the form, an IRB Chair will determine whether IRB approval is required for your project.

There are two possible outcomes from your HSRD form:

  1. 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.
  2. IRB approval is not required – You are free to conduct the project without completing the IRB process.

If you change the project design, you will need to send your revised project for approval to Karen Wachsmuth. If it is approved, you will need to submit another HSRD form.


When will the Stanley Awards be announced?

International Programs will announce awards shortly before the March meeting.

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. 

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.



For questions, please contact:

Karen Wachsmuth
Associate Director of International Fellowships