IAF Fellowships support dissertation research in Latin America and the Caribbean undertaken by students enrolled in a U.S. university who have advanced to Ph.D. candidacy in the social sciences, physical sciences, technical fields and the professions as related to grassroots development issues.

Awards are based on both development and scholarly criteria. Proposed research should have a focus on grassroots development and only in exceptional cases will the IAF support proposals reflecting a primary interest in macro questions of politics and economics as they relate to the environment of the poor.

Because the Fellowship Program complements IAF's support for grassroots development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean, preference is given to those applicants whose careers or research projects are related to topics of greatest interest to the IAF. Current priority topics include the following:

  • organizations promoting grassroots development among poor and disadvantaged people in Latin America and Caribbean;
  • the financial sustainability and independence of development organizations;
  • trends affecting historically excluded groups, such as African descendants, indigenous people, women, people with disabilities and young people;
  • transnational development;
  • the role of corporate social responsibility in grassroots development;
  • the impact of globalization on grassroots development;
  • the impact on the quality of life of the poor of grassroots development activities in such areas as sustainable agriculture and natural resource management; housing; primary health care; education; urban development; training and technical assistance; technology transfer; jobs creation; and marketing and small enterprise development.

General Eligibility

The applicant must be a Ph.D. student currently enrolled in a U.S. university and must have advanced candidacy before initiating IAF-funded field research.

  • The competition is open to U.S. citizens and citizens of independent Latin American and Caribbean countries (except Cuba).
  • The applicant's research should not be funded by any other grant.
  • IAF fellowships fund field research in independent Latin American and Caribbean countries (except Cuba).
  • Applicants must speak and read the language(s) appropriate to the research proposal.
  • Each applicant must demonstrate a planned, substantive collaboration, during the field research period, with an affiliated development or applied research institution in the Latin American or Caribbean country.


Fellowship awards provide round-trip international transportation to the field research site; a $3,000 research allowance, paid quaterly; a $1,500 monthly stipend covering a maximum period of 12 months; and attendance to the Grassroots Development Conference organized by IAF, where fellows discuss their progress with members of the IAF’s review committee.

Fellows are required to submit to the IAF, within six months of completing their grant period, a final report on their research of between 1,250 and 2,500 words.

Application Procedures

IAF's fellowship program is currently administered with the support of the Institute for International Education (IIE). For the latest information on application procedures, visit www.iie.org/iaf. Potential applicants should review the site in its entirety. Any inquiries should be addressed to the Institute of International Education at iaffellowships@iie.org.