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Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs

Pre-dissertation International Summer Research Grants

The Buffett Institute offers Pre-dissertation International Summer Research Grants to doctoral students in years 1-3 for exploratory research and fieldwork outside the contiguous United States and/or within Tribal Nations.

The maximum award is $6,000, and students are limited to one pre-dissertation research grant over the course of their graduate career. All awards will be made as scholarship awards and will be paid out through the University's payroll system.

Funds are also available for projects on modern Turkey through the Keyman Modern Turkish Studies Program and for projects on the Middle East through the Crown Family Middle East Research Travel fund. Interdisciplinary projects and collaborative projects with institutions and researchers in the regions will be given priority. Only graduate students who have not received a Keyman or Crown grant in the last two years are eligible. To be considered, simply indicate in your application that you would like to be considered for a Keyman and/or Crown grant.

Graduate students traveling to any international location: By accepting this award, you 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. As a reminder, all students undertaking university-related travel abroad—except for undergraduate study abroad—must register their trip in the International Travel Registry to ensure our Office of Global Safety and Security can provide support in the event of a health or safety emergency.

If planned travel becomes impossible, award recipients may send Harrington Weihl an updated budget proposal requesting use of the award funds for other research expenses.

All Northwestern University doctoral students in years 1-3 are eligible to apply. 

Graduate students who are enrolled in a non-terminal master’s program may have their advisor petition for them to apply.

Applicants who have received a previous grant from Northwestern Buffett must have submitted a post-award report before applying for a new award. 

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
Deadline: March 24, 2024

The application portal can be accessed via SOAP. The application will require the following:

  • A project narrative of no more than five double-spaced pages that explains your dissertation research and its significance for a general scholarly audience. In addition to clearly articulating the questions your dissertation asks, this narrative should describe the state of current debates on this topic and your intervention in these debates, indicating the global and international dimensions of your work. It should also include a plan of work for the research that this funding will support; this plan should outline what research site visits and related activities that will be undertaken. The five-page limit does not include notes and bibliography, which should be limited to two additional pages.
  • Two letters of reference: one from your advisor and another from a committee member or someone else who knows your work well
  • A budget


Questions about the award can be sent to Aaron Darrisaw at