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Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs

Virtual Research Initiatives

Northwestern Buffett offers support to faculty across the university to initiate or grow international research relationships with faculty of global partner universities. 


  • To overcome pandemic travel limitations and foster or deepen relationships with faculty at Northwestern’s international partner institutions. 
  • Increase the number of Northwestern faculty collaborating across borders, particularly with our partner institutions abroad. 
  • Lay the groundwork for ongoing research collaborations.


Virtual Research Initiatives include:

  • Virtual Idea Dialogue

Faculty work together with Buffett staff to convene a group of international and interdisciplinary scholars to discuss a global problem that requires interdisciplinary research. Virtual Idea Dialogues will also cultivate new faculty connections and collaborations.

  • Virtual Global Research Connections, e.g.:
    • Research Colloquium
    • Research Circles
    • Research Project

Northwestern Buffett Global Connections Seed grants support Northwestern faculty in initiating new and advancing existing relationships with international collaborators. Northwestern faculty may propose projects or programs rooted in research; we especially encourage endeavors that are tied to learning, service, or international development.

Proposal Considerations and Criteria 

  • Faculty from all Northwestern schools and units may submit applications for funding to support research collaborations in the Academic Year 2020-21 with counterparts at overseas partner universities. Collaboration must be completed by the end of August 2021.
  • Northwestern Buffett encourages applications from schools/units without a historical relationship to Buffett, proposals that focus on issues of racial justice, gender justice, or peace initiatives, and proposals that prioritize learning and research on the targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Northwestern faculty members who apply for Global Connections Seed Grants should be prepared to take the lead in planning and implementing the proposed activities.
  • Northwestern Buffett supports Virtual Idea Dialogues, working with faculty proposers to curate a list of Northwestern faculty and international faculty to invite.
  • Northwestern Buffett also offers additional support for identifying or diversifying global collaborators in international universities, recommendations on conference tools, presentation or publication opportunities, and dissemination of information about research activities.
  • A small committee of faculty and senior staff will review and approve applications. The committee will seek an equitable representation of proposals involving diverse participants from various fields.

Partner Institutions 

Collaborative activities must involve personnel from one or more overseas higher education institutions with which Northwestern has a university-level Memorandum of Understanding, or from NU-Q. Qualifying institutions are indicated on the Office of International Relations’ website.

Grant Details

  • Global Connections Seed Grants of up to $5,000 each will be awarded to up to 10 Northwestern faculty members.
  • Grant funds may be used for project expenses, hourly graduate or undergraduate student assistance, research expenses, and non-Northwestern employee honoraria or professional services expenses.
  • The grant will be paid at the time of the award announcement, to the lead faculty member’s school/unit for support of research activities.  
  • Faculty hosts will provide a short evaluation of research activities upon completion. 

Application Details

Please submit the following information through the application form -

  • An overview of the proposed Virtual Idea Dialogue topic or proposed Virtual Research Connection activities, including goals and anticipated outputs/outcomes
  • Name and institution of collaborating personnel
  • An indication as to whether assistance is needed in identifying collaborators at partner universities
  • A proposed budget of expenses

Deadline: Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, until funds are expended.

Application Link

More Collaborative Activities

Lead faculty may choose to develop a single funding application including one or more Collaborative Activities. Click to read the specific details for each opportunity.