Academic Funding

New Fellowship for Community-Led Development Research of Latin America and the Caribbean Now Open

May 14, 2024 306

Thanks to a collaboration between the Inter-American Foundation (IAF) and the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), applications are now being accepted for The Inter-American Foundation Research Fellowship Program. This is a research-based program dedicated to advancing and supporting rigorous field-based research on the community-led development of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Inter-American Foundation Research Fellowship will award up to 10 $20,000 fellowships to researchers who are working for 12 months in at least one country were the IAF is active. The deadline to apply for this program is December 3, 2024.

The IAF is a U.S. government agency responsible for investing in community-led development in Latin America and the Caribbean. In doing so, it seeks out opportunities to engage with local leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators in these underserved areas to help create prosperous and democratic communities. This fellowship program is an extension of these efforts and was designed to allow the IAF to better understand how community-led models and initiatives have brought about positive, tangible change to communities overtime. More specifically, the IAF is interested in research proposals that target the following:

  • the generation of economic and other opportunities, particularly for women and youth,
  • effective ways to address the drivers of irregular migration and/or strengthen rootedness and resilience among vulnerable populations,
  • integration of migrants and other displaced populations,
  • responses to chronic violence (including gender-based violence), 
  • social cohesion,
  • social inclusion (including of Afro-descendants, Indigenous people, persons with disabilities, and other marginalized groups),
  • sustainable agriculture,
  • disaster resilience, 
  • community philanthropy, and
  • other development issues in which communities are vested.

In addition to targeting the above development topics, all research proposals submitted for this program should use one of the following frameworks:

Community-led responses that reflect impact, scale, and sustainability | The applicant should exhibit a strong understanding of how community-led responses have made lasting and sizable impacts on the communities they target. Proposals should seek to answer what makes specific models more effective or sustainable in comparison to others and what obstacles may prevent these community-led responses from making sustainable impacts.

Tenets of community-led development | The IAF is interested in research that assesses commonly held conceptions about the ability of community-led efforts to change local realities. Proposals should consider the conditions under which local organizations have promoted social capital, inspired policy change or implementation, or incited large-scale social mobility. Researchers should also seek to answer when community-led development funded by donors has been effective in comparison to other forms of development assistance.

Local responses to global trends | Proposals should instruct on the various solutions that communities have adopted and developed to respond to the local implications of global trends impacting the world around us. Researchers should seek to answer some of the following questions: How have communities responded to climate-related changes, chronic violence, modern technology, the diminishing of natural resources and biodiversity, irregular migration, and fewer opportunities to practice civic engagement? How have these same communities utilized new tools, innovations, and technologies (i.e., REDD+, carbon credits, artificial intelligence, etc.)? What partnerships or approaches are being developed, if any?

The application requirements for prospective IAF Research Fellows are as follows:

  • Prepare and submit to the SSRC a fellowship report of 1,250 to 2,500 words, within six months of the expiration of the fellowship period, that clearly describes the research question, methods, findings, limitation, and implications for practice and/or policy.
  • Develop at least one short, well-crafted, publishable note or other communications piece for the IAF covering key findings and recommendations for local organizations and funders.
  • Collaborate with at least one community-based organization in carrying out the field research.
  • Participate in a three-day in-person Orientation to better understand the IAF, network with IAF staff and other Fellows, and review Fellowship expectations.
  • Participate in IAF-hosted platforms, such as social media and events.
  • As required by the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act, fellows conducting research in a country named in the act would need to clear a country narcotics check and certify compliance with anti-narcotics provisions.

Interested applicants must be a citizen of the United States or one of the countries where the IAF works. Prospective applicants should also have a bachelor’s degree and be available for the entire twelve-month period of the fellowship program. All applications for the IAF Research Fellowship Program will be thoroughly reviewed by a multidisciplinary review committee and will be evaluated on intellectual merit, relevance, feasibility, quality, fit between research design and the research question, and practicality for the IAF, policymakers, funders, and community organizations.

Read more about the IAF Research Fellowship Program here. Applications for the 2025 Fellowship Program are now being accepted here.

Christopher Everett is the social sciences communications intern at Sage. He is currently studying public policy and media and journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. With a strong passion for the interplay of law, policy, and communications, Christopher seeks to bridge the gap between these fields through insightful communication and analysis.

View all posts by Christopher Everett

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