Please note the expanded spending guidelines (described below) allowing for remote/virtual research in 2021.

The CLAS Tinker Field Research Grant supports master's, doctoral, and professional school students conducting pre-dissertation fieldwork in Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, excluding Puerto Rico. The grants provide an opportunity to establish professional and institutional contacts, assess potential research sites, and refine dissertation project proposals. Recipients of the CLAS Tinker Field Research Grant have enjoyed notable success in obtaining subsequent dissertation research support as well as placement in key teaching, research, and other professional positions.

This program is funded with the generous support of the Tinker Foundation.


  • University of Chicago master’s or doctoral students in the preliminary stages of graduate study with little or no previous field experience (those who have not defended their proposals) are invited to apply.

  • Students from all divisions and professional schools are encouraged to apply.

  • Citizens of Latin American countries enrolled at the University of Chicago may apply for research grants to all eligible countries. Students are only eligible to receive awards to conduct research in their home countries provided they have NO previous field research experience in that country.

Duration of the Grant

  • Students are required to travel for a minimum of 2 weeks and may travel for up to 4 months.

Fellowship Benefits

  • Allowable costs include transportation (international airfare and in-country travel such as bus, taxi, train, flights, and car rentals), lodging, food, and visas. Allowable field-related expenses may include minor research expenses. In most years, the purchase of field equipment (cameras, recorders, etc.) is prohibited, but see below for 2021 guidelines.

  • ALLOWED EXPENSES FOR 2021 AWARDS: The Tinker Foundation has expanded its guidelines, as long as students follow all University and IRB policies in determining the viability and appropriateness of travel and field-based research, as well as in designing and implementing any remote research activities. The remote/virtual research costs listed below may be funded this year:

    • Access to digital resources such as archives, subscriptions, etc.

    • Access to primary documents such as books, subscriptions, etc.

    • Software required for research

    • Hardware equipment, not to exceed $200

    • Transcription, translation, and interpretation services

    • Compensation for local collaborators at the field research site (Note: such arrangements must follow University and other applicant guidelines, and reflect relevant ethical and health / safety measures)

    • Connectivity (internet access, phone cards, etc.) for local researcher collaborators, research partner organizations, or field sites

  • In 2021, students may apply for travel funding, remote/virtual funding as described above, or a combination of the two. The timeline for completing research and utilizing funds may be extended beyond December 2021 for awarded students.

Application Process

The following materials will be submitted via the online application.

  • Application form
  • Current transcript
  • A 2–5-page narrative description of the proposed research project (purpose of the trip and/or remote research, likely sources of data and their locations, qualifications to undertake the project, and its relevance to research and academic goals)
  • Itinerary for the trip and its duration and/or timeline for remote research
  • Itemized budget
  • Letter of recommendation from the faculty adviser
  • Supplemental Materials: Where appropriate, applicants should demonstrate that host institution arrangements have been established by providing letters confirming access to facilities or archives or permission to conduct interviews or other human-subject research. Please note that all proposals involving Human Subjects must meet IRB approval by the intended date of receipt of the grant.

As you prepare to submit your application, please review the links below.

Terms and Conditions

CLAS Tinker Field Research Grant awardees shall:

  • conduct a schedule of full-time research as described in the application for the duration of the award period if they are going to the field
  • submit the following items within 30 days of return from the field or use of remote research funds:
    • itemized expense report supported by receipts
    • 2–4-page narrative report of award activities
    • 3–5 photographs of research trip (if one was taken)
  • present their work in a public forum within 9 months of the end of the award period—options include the CLAS Tinker Colloquium, other University venues (e.g., workshops or departmental brown bag), conferences, symposia, etc.
  • acknowledge the support of the Center for Latin American Studies and the Tinker Foundation in any publication, film, or other product resulting from supported research

Questions? Please contact Lindsay Ortega, CLAS student affairs coordinator.