International Studies Fund (ISF)

For 2024, the International Studies Fund Deadline is Monday, March 27.

The International Studies Fund (ISF) is intended to help students at the University of Pittsburgh conduct research on international issues or in international settings and/or with international collaborators. “International” is defined as relating to another country or culture, comparative analysis covering more than one country or culture, studies of international relations or of transnational activities, or studies which examine topics related to global issues or collaborative projects with partners around the world.

Please note: the application requires a faculty recommendation. The online application system will only prompt your selected faculty to submit the required recommendation upon your submission of the application. You should, therefore, aim to submit your application with ample time for faculty to submit the recommendation before the deadline.

Important: ISF grants may not be used for tuition, language study, internships and other non-research related expenses. Conference, workshop or symposium travel is not eligible for funding under the ISF program.

Award Information: 

The maximum grant amount is $1,000. Because of the limited availability of funds, smaller requests may be more likely to be funded. Grants awarded must be used by June 30 of the next calendar year.

Non-allowable Expenses: 
  • Travel expenses for individuals other than the applicant.
  • Equipment.
  • Membership fees.
  • Tuition or course fees.
  • Travel and living expenses for non-research related activities
Allowable Expenses: 
  • Ground and air transportation to and from research site.
  • Lodging and meal expenses while conducting research.
  • Copy and other duplication costs.
  • Books and subscriptions, if justifiably necessary for the research project.
  • Foreign language tutoring or translation if justifiably necessary for research.
  • Visa and immunization expenses.
Travel Warnings and Restrictions: 

Students must ensure that any proposed travel complies with University, local, state, and federal guidelines for travel AND be aware that they will also likely be subject to travel restrictions imposed by other jurisdictions abroad. This may involve prohibitions or restrictions of travel as well as mandatory quarantine periods when leaving or re-entering the United States. Should any of these restrictions alter or extend your travel, UCIS will be unable to provide additional funds to defray unexpected costs.  UCIS may use State Department travel advisory level as one criterion when considering applications. No requests for support for travel to countries with a level 4 State Department advisory will be considered.  

Grantee Obligations: 
  • 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. Grantees are responsible for obtaining IRB approval when required, and must provide documentation of IRB approval before a grant can be awarded. For further information, check the IRB web site at Priority will be given to the applicants who include proof of IRB clearance with applications.  Applicants who are in some stage of the review process with IRB are also encouraged to provide proof of this process.  If IRB approval cannot be obtained prior to the ISF deadline due to circumstances outside the applicant’s control, a written explanation with expected approval date must be attached to the application.
  • Grantees are required to submit a final report explaining the use of the funds and the outcomes of the supported activity no later than one month after the activity is completed. Failure to submit a final report will disqualify the ISF recipient from future ISF competitions.
  • Grantees may be invited to present their work, or otherwise share their expertise, by any of the centers or programs housed within UCIS.

Full-time graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Pittsburgh from all Schools and Campuses are eligible to submit a proposal, including international degree-seeking students. Visiting, non-degree, and post-doctoral students are not eligible to apply.

Awardees must be enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh when applying and when using the award.

Only one International Studies Fund award per student and fiscal year (July 1 to June 30) is allowed.

Evaluation Criteria: 

The ISF selection committee uses the following criteria in evaluating proposals:

  • Is this an original and important project?
  • Does the proposal include sufficient information about the project?
  • Is the information clearly presented and understandable to non-specialists?
  • Are the activities proposed appropriate to the overall project?
  • Will the project lead to or conclude a larger overall agenda?
  • Is the proposed budget reasonable for the activities proposed?
  • If there is research involving interventions or interactions with individuals or the collection of identifiable private information concerning living individuals, has the applicant enclosed proof of IRB clearance?
Application Procedure: 

Applications are to be completed online.  The first time that you access one of the following application forms, you will be directed to a welcome screen at our partner, and invited to create a new user account.  After completing this simple process, you will be shown the application form.

Please note:

  • This application requires that you upload multiple pieces of supporting documentation, notably the ISF Budget Spreadsheet, evidence of Institutional Review Board clearance, and an 1100-word (maximum) proposal narrative.  Preparing those documents in advance will likely simplify the application process for you.  You will be able to save your application mid-stream and then return to it before final submission.
  • We are now requiring a letter of recommendation from a faculty member (at Pitt or from another accredited institution) as part of your application materials. Faculty are expected to attest to their willingness to mentor the applicant and elaborate on the originality of the research project.

ISF Application Form

Applications will be reviewed by committee. Awardees will be notified approximately four weeks after the deadline.

Allyson Delnore
University Center for International Studies
4400 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15260