CLAS Field Research Grants

CLAS Graduate Student Field Research Grants


Purpose

The purpose of this program is to make it possible for CLAS certificate graduate students to carry out pre-dissertation field research on the Latin American/Caribbean/Latinx issues to: acquire more comprehensive knowledge of language, terrain, and/or culture in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latinx, familiarize themselves with information sources relevant to their course of study; conduct pilot studies and preliminary research; and develop contacts with scholars and institutions in their fields.

These grants are NOT to be used for dissertation research.

COVID-19 permitting, grant recipients should spend at least one month (28 days) in the field.

These grants must be used in conformity with University of Pittsburgh COVID-19 standards and guidelines. Those are subject to change depending on conditions, campus operational posture, etc. It is likely that more than one set of COVID_19 standards and guidelines will apply to any given proposal and it is the responsibility of the applicant to familiarize themselves with ALL standards and guidelines relevant to their proposal. Researchers must secure necessary permissions to conduct said research based on campus operational posture. Once that has been secured, the COVID-19 Standards and Guidelines: Fieldwork and Research Travel establish the principle that local conditions will govern the Conduct of Research plans for investigators engaged in fieldwork, and that the health and safety guidelines implemented in the field must meet or exceed those of the University of Pittsburgh. These guidelines further define some of the responsibilities of investigators in the field with respect to the health and safety of their research team. For more information on the University’s Standards and Guidelines, see: https://www.policy.pitt.edu/university-policies-and-procedures/covid-19-standards-and-guidelines. Graduate students must also conform to the

COVID-19 Standards and Guidelines: Academic Travel, Study Abroad Programs and Experiences Abroad . They must also understand and abide by the requirements for graduate student travel listed here: https://www.abroad.pitt.edu/studenttravelguidelines.


Eligibility

CLAS graduate student certificate candidates (both masters and doctoral level) making satisfactory progress towards completion of the certificate in Latin American Studies may apply. Please keep in mind that this is contingent upon Pitt’s COVID-19 operational posture and the COVID-19 standards and guidelines relevant to the proposed activity.

  • For first-time applicants, satisfactory progress is defined as having completed two area studies courses towards the certificate in Latin American Studies—at least one of which must be outside the student’s department/school—during the first academic year in which the applicant is enrolled in CLAS.
  • CLAS graduate student certificate candidates are eligible to receive a maximum of two field research grants from CLAS during their tenure as students at the University of Pittsburgh. Continued satisfactory progress towards completion of the certificate applies for students proposing to receive a second grant.
  • Continued progress is defined as the completion of two additional courses (one inside and one outside your home department/school) per academic year applicable toward the certificate. Check with the CLAS Advisor for your eligibility regarding progress towards the certificate.

Amount of Grant

Maximum of $2,800.


Grant Requirements and Use of Funds

Field and/or remote research should take place between April and August 2021.

FIELD RESEARCH (when travel is allowed)

CLAS expects grant funds to be primarily used for transportation (international and in-country overseas) and limited field-related expenses. Up to 25% of the total proposed budget may be designated for field research-related expenses—including food, accommodations, research materials, health insurance, visas, etc.

PLEASE NOTE: Purchase of equipment such as computers, cameras, and tape recorders is absolutely prohibited.

Recipients of CLAS Graduate Student Field Research Grants must spend at least four weeks (28 days) in the field.

REMOTE FIELD RESEARCH (when travel is not allowed)

CLAS expects grant funds to be used for research materials, remote research assistants (residing in area/country abroad), with adequate explanation of research objectives, methodology, expected results and rationale as well as all requisite financial information and support (documentation, receipts, transfers and explanation).

PLEASE NOTE: Purchase of equipment such as computers, cameras, and tape recorders is absolutely prohibited.


PROPOSAL REQUIREMENTS:

All applications must be submitted in English and include:

  1. A completed Graduate Certificate Progress Report. Applicants must meet with the CLAS Assistant Director for Academic Affairs, Luis Van Fossen Bravo, to get the Graduate Student Progress Report Form approved, dated and signed by February 26, 2021. For any questions regarding completion of the form, please contact Luis Van Fossen Bravo (bravo@pitt.edu). To set up an appointment for the graduate student progress report, please visit: http://www.ucis.pitt.edu/clas/advising. This has to be done before applying for the grant, see below for instructions.
  1. A completed grant application form;

A full description of the project not to exceed four (4) double-spaced pages as follows—(a) Topic/Problem, (b) Significance of/Need for the Research, and (c) Methodology/Tools;

  1. A detailed budget (at least 75% must be for transportation);
  1. Specific travel plans (Please read Important Information about travel and IRB requirementsbottom of page.) NOTE: We highly recommend having a plan that can be applicable if you need to do research virtually or cannot travel.
  1. An up-to-date University of Pittsburgh transcript, along with a copy of your current registration;
  1. A Letter of Project Appraisal from your Project Academic Advisor (to be submitted by advisor); We highly recommend having plan that includes contingencies should you need to do research virtually because of applicable travel restrictions.
  1. You may be asked to participate in the Latin American Social and Public Policy (LASPP) Conference during the Spring of the academic year you applied for. Take this into account when writing your report (taking this into account will save time and effort later).

Note: The full description of the project may be supplemented by appendices (such as examples of questionnaires, list of field contacts, more detailed information on any of the sections) that should be referred to in the basic text. However, appendices should be kept to a minimum.

BECAUSE OF THE UNCERTAINTY OF CIRCUMSTANCES STEMMING FROM THE GLOBAL COVID-19 PANDEMIC, WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND HAVING A VIABLE CONTINGENCY PLAN THAT CAN BE ADAPTED TO NATIONAL, STATE, LOCAL AND PITT TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS AND REQUIREMENTS SHOULD YOU NEED TO DO RESEARCH VIRTUALLY.

The proposal must be written in English in terms understandable to scholars who are not specialists in your specific discipline or field. Because of the small size of the selection committee, not all disciplines/professions are represented by the committee members. Thus, selection committee members may not be familiar with technical terminology or jargon from your discipline.


Letter of Project Appraisal from Project Academic Advisor

Proposals must have, as supporting documentation, a letter appraising the project from the applicant’s project academic advisor. The selection committee will not review proposals without the project academic advisor’s appraisal. The appraisal should include comments both on methodology and language ability as well as a general evaluation and should be no more than one page in length. NOTE: We highly recommend having a plan that can be applicable if you need to do research virtually or can travel.

For second Field Research Grant applicants: Students who have previously been awarded a field research grant and are applying for a second grant must clearly justify the need for a second grant in the text of the proposal. These students also should ask the faculty member writing the Letter of Project Appraisal to address this need in her/his letter.


AFTER RESEARCH IS COMPLETED

All Graduate Student Field Research Grant Recipients must provide CLAS with a brief (two to four page) report, written in English, within two weeks following conclusion of the award. The report should indicate: (1) how grant funds were expended; (2) travel schedule (where you or your representative/research assistant(s) went and how much time was spent in each locale); (3) what was accomplished; and (4) how research results will be utilized; (5) Selected students will present a paper at the Latin American Social and Public Policy Conference (LASPP) after the research is completed.

Grant recipients are responsible for completing all applicable documentation for expenditure of funds required by the University of Pittsburgh as standard policy and procedure. Expense reports must be submitted within three weeks after the field research was completed. CLAS will offer (compulsory) training meetings before students start their research.

Recipients must acknowledge the assistance of the Center for Latin American Studies, University Center for International Studies, University of Pittsburgh, and the specific funding agency providing support for the grant in any publication, film, or other product resulting from research supported by this grant. CLAS encourages submission of photographs illustrating research activities.


Important information about travel and IRB requirements:

Important note about travel risk assessment—if you can travel—Please give serious consideration to the University of Pittsburgh’s applicable standards and guidelines (including those on safe mobility, fieldwork, etc.) during COVID-19, please consider the possibility that said policies might change unexpectedly.

NOTE: Essential information for conducting research involving human subjects. Per the Senior Vice Chancellor for Research’s message on November 20, 2020, the University announced that research activities in Tier 3 must not enroll new participants in studies requiring face-to-face interaction or continue to conduct face-to-face visits. On-line visits or data collection that does not require direct participant interaction may continue. No additional restrictions have been placed on Tier 1 and 2 human subject studies (with high or moderate direct benefit to the participants or have a high public health priority).

It is NOT intended that all non-critical research/scholarly activities should stop; indeed, those that can be carried out remotely (planning, writing, literature review, remote data collection, data analysis, remote meetings, etc.) should continue during this time.  Studies with no face-to-face participant interactions such as chart review studies or on-line surveys can continue as approved as resources allow.

Please see the descriptions below to determine the disposition of your research. All questions should be directed to: askirb@pitt.edu

  • Please note that award eligibility is contingent on the US State Department Travel Advisory Level for your destination – country/region/city. The State Department issues a Travel Advisory for each country of the world. Travel Advisories follow a consistent format and use plain language to help U.S. citizens find and use important security information. Travel Advisories apply up to four standard levels of advice, describe the risks, and provide clear actions U.S. citizens should take to help ensure their safety. For more information on this process, please visit: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/before-you-go/about-our-new-products.html.
  • We understand situations in Latin American countries are constantly changing. We advise you to please check the State Department for updates on travel advisories at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel.html.
    • As a first step in planning any trip abroad, check the Travel Advisories for your intended destination. Please be aware that for areas classified as Level 3, funding eligibility may be impacted. UCIS will not fund Graduate student travel to any Level 4 destination (country/region/city). Level 3 travel will require additional application steps when requesting funding approval. Please contact Luz Amanda Hank, Assistant Director for Partnerships and Programming lavst12@pitt.edu if your intended destination is a Level 3 country or region, to receive further guidance regarding submission.
    • To ensure funding eligibility, we recommend selecting alternative countries/regions/cities to do your research that do not fall into Level 4.
  • Upon award, you are required to register your trip with the International SOS travel registry and supply proof to CLAS.
  • All research involving interventions or interactions with individuals or the collection of identifiable private information concerning living individuals requires prospective Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval.
  • Even if the research may qualify in an exempt category, the researcher must obtain an exemption approval from the IRB.
  • Grantees are responsible for obtaining IRB approval when required and must provide documentation of IRB approval before the funds can be disbursed. For further information, check the IRB web site at www.irb.pitt.edu
  • Additionally, we recommend to visit: https://www.hrpo.pitt.edu/covid-19-human-subject-research-faq

Finally, CLAS may ask for additional relevant documentation or information from the applicant directly.


DEADLINES

Graduate Student Progress Report Form approved, dated and signed by February 26, 2021. To set up an appointment for the graduate student progress report, please visit: https://www.ucis.pitt.edu/clas/advising 

The deadline for submission of ALL application materials is March 5, 2021.


Application:

One electronic copy (items 1 through 6 listed above) of the application should be sent by the deadline through the following web address: http://www.ucis.pitt.edu/clas/gsfrg_application_form

The letter of Project Appraisal from the Project Academic Advisor should be sent separately to the email below by the advisor:

 

Luz Amanda Hank

Asst. Director for Partnerships and Programming


Funding for the Faculty Research Grants Competition is provided by the Center for Latin American Studies and the University Center for International Studies at University of Pittsburgh.