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 outside of the United States.

Eligibility: UI undergraduate and graduate students in good academic standing (including non-U.S. citizens); Must return for at least one semester at UI after period abroad; See “Travel Eligibility” below for possible State Department travel restrictions to your destination(s).

Deadline: Late January 2025

Duration: Minimum 4 weeks (no exceptions), Maximum 3 months

Time frame: Funding must be used between May 2025 and May 2026

Type of Award

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 requiring travel abroad.

Stanley Awards are disbursed in the form of Fellowships (not Travel Awards) in amounts up to $2,500. 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. Research projects may be undertaken abroad only if they are approved by UI Study Abroad; those awardees who are unable to travel may complete their fellowships in the U.S. Please consult our Travel Safety section for more information.

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. Students may combine independent research with a structured study abroad program.

collage of student headshots

Meet the recipients of the 2024 Stanley Award for International Research

Tuesday, March 19, 2024
Stanley Awards for International Research are given annually to outstanding University of Iowa students in all academic fields for the pursuit of foreign research, learning activities in international studies, and career interests abroad. Meet this year's awardees.

Graduate Eligibility

  • M.A./M.F.A./M.S. students conducting research abroad 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 before traveling abroad.
  • No funding will be awarded for travel commencing before this mandatory session.
  • 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.
  • 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 research in destination country
  • 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

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

  • 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.

D. Completed Application Form submitted by student to by January deadline. Please fill out the form in Adobe Acrobat Reader –free download at

E. 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.

F. Faculty Project Advisor Reference Letter: 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.

G. 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 29, 2024, 12 p.m. (noon)

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 29, 2024, 12:00 p.m. (noon)

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.
  • Students who intend to pair a Stanley with a Study Abroad program must clearly and definitively indicate how the program relates to the Stanley grant to be considered. These applicants must show that time exclusively devoted to the proposed Stanley research or project is equivalent to a minimum of 4 weeks.

Travel Eligibility

U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory Risk Rating

The U.S. Department of State assigns a travel advisory risk rating for each country. Prior to applying, you must verify that your destination(s) are currently NOT under level 3 (reconsider travel) or category 4 (do not travel). Enter your destination(s) in the “Learn About Your Destination” on the State Department's Travel Advisory Page. If your destination does NOT fall under a level 3 or 4, you may proceed with the application. If it does fall under a level 3 or 4, you will need to follow the steps indicated in Section D. Prior Approval for Travel to High-Risk Areas Required on the International Programs travel registration website. Funding for travel to high-risk destinations will not be released without prior approval.

Please note: Students will not be funded to do research in their home country. 

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 submit another HSRD form.

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.

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 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


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