Funding Opportunities for Columbia Faculty

With support from the Provost’s Office and the U.S. Department of Education Title VI program, the Institute of Latin American Studies awards grants to Columbia faculty every year for research and other academic activities.

The Institute of Latin American Studies is pleased to announce its annual faculty grants competition for academic year 2021-2022 (July 1, 2021 through June 1, 2022). Full-time members of the Columbia teaching or research faculty may apply to any of the following grants: 

  • Individual Faculty Research and Travel Grant
    Small research grants can be used at any time during the year for data-gathering, books and materials, or other expenses that will facilitate faculty research on Latin America and the Caribbean.  These funds cannot be used for purchasing equipment, such as computers. Awards will be made for faculty travel to any country of Latin America and the Caribbean (or elsewhere when relevant to research on Latin America) to carry out research. Maximum award is $3,000
  • Faculty Research Conference Grant
    Grants will be made for conferences that promote a broad scholarly impact. Faculty may apply for funding to cover such customary conference costs as honoraria and travel costs for outside speakers, room rentals, brochures, and conference materials. Priority in the awarding of conference funds will be accorded to: applications that promise to result in significant publications; applications that contemplate or involve the region as a whole or multiple countries within the region; and especially projects that are multidisciplinary and involve faculty and graduate students from different units at Columbia. Cost-sharing and co-sponsorship is encouraged. Maximum award is $25,000
  • Faculty Working Groups and Seminar Series Grant
    Grants will be made for faculty working groups or seminar series that will draw together faculty from various disciplines to explore topics and themes of importance to Latin America. Awards may cover the cost of speakers, materials, meeting costs, and student support for related administrative or research tasks. We encourage proposals that involve collaboration with colleagues from outside institutions, including New York University, our NRC consortium partner. Maximum award is $10,000
  • Faculty-student collaboration Grant
    ILAS is initiating a new category for faculty grants support. Grants will be made for projects that involve several students and include faculty-student collaborations that give students an engaging learning experience while working on an internship/research projects with the faculty, with the aim of offering students the opportunity of conducting in-depth analysis of a particular topic.  The focus of student research activities may include more conventional academic projects, as well as projects with applied focus or relevance. Awards may cover the cost of small stipends for the student’s work, as well as other related costs such as guest speakers, materials, and meetings.  Maximum award is $10,000

Budgetary Guidelines

ILAS Faculty grants funding cannot be used for purchasing equipment or for faculty compensation. Any travel support requests must abide by general university policies regarding permissible travel expenses ( Permissible budget requests vary somewhat by Faculty Grant applications categories but generally include hotel, airfare, ground transportation, meeting space costs (including rental, cleaning, and security), food for meetings, vendor payments (e.g., translation, printing, or design costs), and student assistantships/stipends.

Please note that the following guidelines should be followed for the use of funding relative to honoraria, simultaneous translation, and student assistantship support.  These are provided as suggestions to facilitate budget development and to help foster fairness and consistency in budgetary decisions, but are not intended as rigid requirements. ILAS will consider proposals that deviate from the guidelines.    

Honraria: In the past, ILAS has typically refrained from providing speakers with honoraria. However, we have revised our norms to allow payment of honoraria for guest speakers and panelists for online events that ILAS organizes, or sponsors through faculty grants next academic year. We have decided collectively with the executive committee to establish guidelines for remote projects including a change on a longstanding rule against honoraria, which will continue for in person events and for scholars affiliated to Columbia University.  In an effort to ensure some fairness and consistency in the criteria for the recipients and amounts of honoraria, we have developed some basic guidelines for reference for faculty. These are not rigid rules, but suggestions that we encourage recipients of faculty grants to follow, so we are welcome to budget proposals that deviate from the guidelines, but would appreciate further justification for alternative proposals for honoraria distribution and amounts:

  • Honoraria should not be provided to elected officials and political appointees, and is discouraged for other government representatives or where it could be generating conflict of interests.
  • For individuals invited to virtually present papers, give a talk, or teach a workshop, we suggest offering honoraria of $500.
  • For individuals participating virtually in panel discussions, we encourage offering honoraria of $300 or less, as these types of engagements generally require less preparation.
  • In general, honoraria should not be provided for working group participants (although some exceptions may be justifiable, such as the participation of non-academic artists, activists, journalists, or NGO representatives)
  • When deciding upon the appropriateness of providing honoraria to individuals, we encourage considering redistributive principles, such as prioritizing honoraria in the case of speakers based in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Translation: ILAS is willing to support simultaneous translation for online or in-person events, but we encourage its purposeful use given its high cost and the limited resources. As simultaneous translation can be costly, we encourage using it for reaching new audiences and/or making new ideas salient.  In other words, if the target audience are academic experts that are largely bilingual, consider whether simultaneous translation is essential. We also encourage those considering simultaneous translation for online events to use translators based in Latin America or the Caribbean, who are both cheap and more in need of jobs. If requesting simultaneous translation please provide a brief justification for the importance of translation through specifying the intended audience.

Funding for Student Assistantships: ILAS can support funding for student assistants involved in administration, writing, research related to the proposed project. Students can be undergraduate or graduate students. They can also be Columbia students or other students (including from Latin America and the Caribbean). If requesting support for student assistantships, please make sure that the hourly rates are consistent with university standards and that the total hours/amount reflect a reasonable estimate of the amount of work involved, as well as provide specific details of the tasks expected of the student.

The application deadline is Sunday, March 14, 2021.  Awards will be announced by the beginning of May 2021.

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