Announcing New Programs and Funding at the Buffett Institute

March 27, 2015

Buffett Institute Programs and Funding

Thanks to Roberta Buffett’s most recent gift, the Buffett Institute is able to build upon many of our successful existing programs and introduce new opportunities that support international research and global engagement at Northwestern.

“Turning the Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies into an Institute involves much more than just a change in title and stationery,” Director Bruce Carruthers says. “It means embracing a broader vision and raising our ambitions to new levels.” 

The following programs are but the first step in the Buffett Institute's mission to broaden the vision, scope, and significance of global studies at Northwestern. These new programs and initiatives will enable Northwestern undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty to engage globally. They will build Northwestern's capacity to research key global issues, forge deeper links between Northwestern and the world, and nurture the kind of interdisciplinarity that is the hallmark of cutting-edge scholarship.

Support for Faculty

Since our founding in 1994, supporting faculty-led, interdisciplinary research has been a cornerstone of our mission and programming. Twenty years later, we are thrilled to take this support to the next level by offering new, innovative faculty program initiatives that will put Northwestern at the forefront of global research.

Big Ideas Request for Proposals

The Buffett Institute seeks to build a set of unique, large-scale, multi-year research programs on topics of long-term significance that engage important global challenges.

We are calling for faculty proposals that address “big ideas” and which possess the potential of transforming scholarly activity at Northwestern and beyond. We encourage bold, ambitious programs that ask new questions or which will produce new and better understandings of important global questions and challenges.

Proposals must be interdisciplinary, and are encouraged to integrate and engage the full range of resources that the Institute can provide, including research or conference funding, visiting scholars, postdocs, course release time, and other types of programmatic support. Proposals should also address the following issues:

  • Scholarly merit and long-term significance
  • Unique contribution to global research
  • Interdisciplinary collaboration
  • Engaging new, underrepresented, or marginalized voices
  • Institutional capacity building for Northwestern
  • Building partnerships beyond Northwestern 
  • Attracting additional external resources

Awards are up to $50,000 per program per year, up to 3 years and funding is potentially renewable. Learn more here.

Global Partnership Funds

Beyond what can be accomplished by a single event or exchange, durable partnerships enable long-term intellectual benefits that can only unfold with the establishment of trust and inclusive familiarity. Sustained partnerships between Northwestern University and foreign universities and academic institutions are an important vehicle for global exchanges of ideas, persons, and perspectives. Global Partnership funds are intended to support those durable partnerships that have proved fruitful in the past or which possess unusual promise in the future.

Funding for global partnerships is renewable every three years. Awards are up to $25,000 per year for a Buffett-affiliated research group. Learn more about global partnership funds.

Postdoctoral Fellowships

The Buffett Institute is accepting applications from scholars for two-year postdoctoral fellowships in the study of global, comparative, or international affairs. Each Fellow will be affiliated with both the Buffett Institute and an appropriate department in Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences or the School of Communication. Fellows will pursue a program of independent scholarship and teach one course per year. They are expected to be active participants in intellectual activities in both the Buffett Institute and their affiliated departments, and to deliver one public lecture each year.

Applications are welcome from scholars whose research addresses global, international or transnational social processes, problems, governance or conflicts, from any of a range of social science disciplines or interdisciplinary perspectives. 

Learn more about the postdoctoral fellowship program.

Support for Graduate Students

For almost 20 years, the Buffett Institute has offered significant academic and financial support for graduate student research on global issues. Our goals are to improve the quality of dissertation research, position students to compete for external research funding, and increase completion rates. As a measure of our success, of the 361 Northwestern graduate students who have received Buffett grants since 2000, 209 have earned their Doctorates, 137 are current students, and only 14 have not finished. We are now able to dramatically expand our successful dissertation research funding and create new opportunities to position our graduate students at the forefront of relevant research communities.

Graduate Student Dissertation Research Travel Awards

Buffett’s Graduate Student Dissertation Research Awards provide funding for fieldwork outside the United States for Northwestern doctoral students writing dissertations on comparative and international topics with relevance to important contemporary political, economic, and social issues. The maximum amount of awards will be doubled to $5,000 beginning this academic year and the number of awards available will increase from 20 to 40.

These grants are targeted at two critical phases of dissertation research for which there is little other funding: the topic formulation and initial research phase and the final research phase (needed for finishing the thesis). These grants will improve the quality of dissertations by Northwestern graduate students, make them more competitive for national and international dissertation research grants, increase completion rates, and make graduate students more competitive on the academic job market. 

Click here to learn more and find deadlines.

Graduate Student Organized Conference

To accelerate the professional development of Northwestern graduate students in defining research programs and to build networks among graduate students and faculty, the Buffett Institute is announcing an annual competition to fund a graduate student initiated-and-organized conference on an international or comparative topic with relevance to contemporary political, economic or social issues.

Successful proposals will be awarded up to $30,000 for the cost of the conference to be held during the following academic year, covering travel and lodging for graduate student participants and faculty commentators, as well as meals during the conference. 

Questions about the program should be directed to Krzysztof Kozubski. Learn more here.

Support for Undergraduates

The Buffett Institute is proud to be the long-standing gateway for Northwestern undergraduates interested in deepening their understanding of the world.  We seek to develop students into effective leaders living lives of consequence in an increasingly global world. With new funding for undergraduate programs, not only will we be able to expand global opportunities to more students, we will offer even more ways to prepare them for international careers, global engagement, and scholarship after graduation.

Buffett Award for Emerging Global Leaders

The Buffett Award recognizes outstanding leadership in a young person working in the areas of global health, international social or economic development, international human rights, global climate change, global food security, or other issues of global significance.

Northwestern undergraduates affiliated with the Buffett Institute will identify, research and nominate candidates and select the award recipient. Upon their selection, the honoree will be brought to Northwestern to participate in a workshop relevant to their area of expertise, give a public address to the Northwestern community, and to receive their award of $10,000. By recognizing excellence early in someone’s career, the award will help to encourage individuals to continue to make a difference.  

Scholarships and Career Opportunities

In addition to significantly increasing need-based scholarships for the GESI study abroad program, the Buffett Institute has announced new career development opportunities for our undergraduate affiliates, including:

One Acre Fund Junior Program Associate

In partnership with the One Acre Fund, the Buffett Institute is offering two-year paid post-baccalaureate fellowship in East Africa. The One Acre Fund is a social enterprise founded by Northwestern alum Andrew Youn, which works with smallholder farmers to help them increase food production and reduce hunger and poverty. This work grew out of our work together for One Book One Book Northwestern around Roger Thurow’s The Last Hunger Season, which follows the lives of four One Acre farmers for a year and demonstrates the impact of the One Acre Fund in improving their lives.

Development, For Graduate Students, Undergraduate Students