Graduate Student Dissertation Research Travel Awards

About this grant

Graduate Student Dissertation Research Awards provide funding for fieldwork outside the United States. The award is for Northwestern doctoral students writing dissertations on comparative and international topics relevant to important contemporary political, economic, and social issues. 

Award details

The number and distribution of funded projects will be determined by the number of proposals received and the funding requested by applicants. The maximum award is $5,000.

All awards will be made as scholarship awards and will be paid out through the University's payroll system.

Graduate students traveling to any international location: By accepting this award, you explicitly agree to follow all health and safety requirements as outlined by the Office of Global Safety and Security for the location(s) where you will be traveling.


All Northwestern University PhD students at any stage in their dissertation research are eligible to apply, but PhD students in their second year and beyond are encouraged to apply. Applications from students conducting exploratory thesis research are particularly encouraged. 

Awards are normally granted for work during the summer, but exceptions can be made if warranted.

These awards may not be used for:

  • Language study programs or other coursework
  • Expenses in the United States
  • Special equipment such as tape recorders
  • Fees for transcription or translation

Students are eligible to receive one grant per academic year, and up to three grants over the course of their graduate career.

All applicants are expected to concurrently seek research support from other sources. Applicants who have previously received a Graduate Student Dissertation Research Award must also demonstrate that they have applied for funding from a source outside of Northwestern.

Applicants must also be affiliates of the Buffett Institute.

Application details 

Application deadlines:

  • October 1 for winter & spring projects
  • February 1 for summer projects
  • May 1 for summer & fall projects

Application requirements:

  • Complete the online Buffett Institute FluidReview Application. Be sure to include a concise description of the research and an itemized budget. 
  • Submit a letter of recommendation from a faculty member. The letter should be submitted by faculty through FluidReview.

A committee organized by the Buffett Institute will decide on awards and notify winners within 4-6 weeks of each deadline.


If you or your recommenders are having difficulties with the application system, contact FluidReview support at

Questions about the grant can be sent to