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Research, Grants, Contracts and Other Funded Initiatives

As an Organized Research Unit (ORU) of UCSD, CILAS is charged with generating cross-disciplinary research supported by extramural funding. The CILAS Director and staff are available to work with faculty in generating these proposals and shepherding them through the UCSD Contracts and Grants office; we can also provide limited office space in support of graduate students working on grants solicited through CILAS.

Research activities at CILAS have been funded in the past by the US Department of Education, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the University of California's Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation and its Pacific Rim Research Program, among others. Currently, CILAS has two significant federal awards supporting faculty research and graduate student training.

"Military Transformation and the Rise of Brazil"

The project "Military Transformation and the Rise of Brazil" (PI David Mares) examines the potential for Brazil to achieve major power status in the international system, its likely behavior as it rises and the likely response of current powers to the newcomer. The conditions leading to the rise of new powers and their impact on the international governance structures (whether they seek to support, modify or oppose) has been a major theoretical concern of scholars working on international affairs for decades. This project will contribute to that literature focusing on the role of science and technology in the Brazilian defense sector. The project is supported by a three year $1 million Department of Defense Minerva Research Initiative award and brings together three UCSD faculty with colleagues from the Naval Post graduate School, the University of New Hampshire and the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais, Brazil and will fund up to five UCSD graduate students. The anticipated product is peer-reviewed articles on the topic and we will not engage in classified research.

Early Model-Based Event Recognition using Surrogates

CILAS (PI David Mares) has a subcontract with The Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science at Virginia Tech for its project EMBERS (Early Model-Based Event Recognition using Surrogates). Surrogates are accessible pieces of information that mirror or precede events of interest.  The project intends to organize a huge database of surrogates predictive of real events and to apply these surrogates to public data sources using mathematical models, algorithms, and software to forecast significant societal events, ranging from epidemics and nationwide credit-rate crashes to crime and violent protests by analyzing the billions of pieces of information in the ocean of public communications, such as tweets, web queries, news reports and daily stock market activity. The EMBERS project is supported by a potential $13.36 million three-year contract (CILAS share is $367,000) from the Open Source Indicators (OSI) Program of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), a research arm of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; continuation after the first year is contingent upon satisfactory progress. No classified research is involved and tracking or identifying individuals is strictly excluded from the research. The goal is to build predictive models and publish the results of our research in peer-reviewed venues to contribute to the growing social science literature on the use of enormous volumes of public data to understand biological, social, economic and political behavior. The CILAS subcontract supports one UCSD faculty member, one graduate student and other research expenses.

Ethnicity, Race and Indigenous People’s Conference

CILAS hosted the Latin American Studies Association’s Research Committee on Ethnicity, Race and Indigenous Peoples in November 2010, partially funded by Title VI and contributions from various UCSD offices. Over 300 scholars from around the world convened at UCSD; some of the best papers have been revised for review as two volumes forthcoming by Cambridge Scholars Publishing and others will be published in the journal Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies (LACES).

Legal Pluralism

CILAS Director Mares collaborated with Professor James Cooper of California Western School of Law in AY10-11 to convene scholars from New Zealand, Canada, the US, Ecuador, Chile, Colombia and Peru in a workshop on legal pluralism with comparative perspectives on indigenous peoples from across the participating countries. This topic is critical as the constitutions of many Latin American countries have recently been amended to explicitly acknowledge indigenous rights, culture and legal traditions, but little work has been done to explore how nations as centralized as many Latin American ones are, may simultaneously recognize multiple legal systems. This workshop was funded primarily with Title VI grant support; the CILAS Director has been working with the Division of Social Sciences' Development Office seeking foundation and gift support to continue this work.

Working Groups

Funding & Academic Award Opportunities at UCSD

There are many funding opportunities available for graduate students, recent PhD's, faculty and staff at the University of California, through the Graduate Division

Recipients of Awards, Grants & Fellowships

2019 Tinker Field Research Grant Competition


This grant is generously supported by the Tinker Foundation and UC San Diego Graduate Division.
Application Deadline: Wednesday, April 3, 2019 (Midnight)
CILAS expects to announce the awards in early May 2019.

1. Who can apply?
The Tinker Field Research Grants are to be used for grants to UC San Diego graduate students for travel and field-related expenses for brief periods of pre-dissertation field research in Latin America, defined as Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking countries of the region. Tinker Field Research Grants will not be awarded to students who travel to Portugal, Puerto Rico, Spain, and Venezuela. Awards are open to students across all academic disciplines and graduate degree programs.

Individual recipients may be graduate students at the master’s or early stages of the doctoral level studies, including those pursuing professional degrees. The Tinker Field Research Grants are not to be used for advanced dissertation research; they are intended to provide graduate students with early experience conducting hands-on field research in Latin America and the opportunity to develop independent research projects. Citizens of Latin American countries enrolled at UC San Diego are eligible to receive awards to conduct research in their home countries provided they have no previous field research experience in that country.

Travel to Cuba: If you are traveling to Cuba please contact UC San Diego Export Control Office (ECO) at as soon as possible to determine what export licenses are required for your travel and research in Cuba. All travel to Cuba requires an export license. ECO will advise if a general license applies or if a specific license is required. If a specific license is required, ECO will work with the researcher and file the license with the relevant U.S. government agency (Office of Foreign Asset Controls or Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security). Please note specific licensing takes a minimum of 6 weeks or longer and must be approved by the U.S. government prior to travel to Cuba.

Travel dates: Travel can start after June 1, 2019 and should end by October 31, 2019. Travel awards will be reimbursed only for authorized expenses. We will reimburse allowable expenses after the recipient returns from abroad and submits appropriate documentation.

There will be two one-hour Tinker Information sessions on Thursday, March 14 at 11 AM, and Wednesday, March 20 at 1 PM, in the Cramb Room, located in the Gildred/LAS building at the Institute of the Americas Complex, UC San Diego.

Grant recipients will be selected by a committee of three UC San Diego faculty. The awards range from $300 to $2,000.

Submit the following documents in the order provided and address each item on a separate page: 1. The CILAS Application Cover Sheet (included in this application, page 4).
2. A roundtrip economy airfare (submit the actual airline quote with the airfare logo). The trip should originate from Los Angeles, San Diego, or Tijuana. It should be the least expensive and most direct flight to your research location.
3. A timetable/detailed itinerary (a weekly account of places where you will be conducting research) of travel plans in the foreign country.
4. An outline of your budget (roundtrip economy airfare, local transportation, in-country flights, food, accommodations, cell prepaid cards or chips, fax, photocopying, bank and ATM fees, visas, and grand total). Travel packages (roundtrip economy airfare, hotel) offered by Internet vendors typically do not provide itemized expense receipts. Therefore, package deals will not be reimbursed.
5. A two to three-page proposal typed (double-spaced, 1 inch margin, 12 size font) that includes your name and the title of your research. Do not include additional materials. Please include in your proposal the names and titles of the individuals with whom you intend to collaborate while abroad. If you have applied to CILAS/Tinker grants in the past, please update your proposal.
6. A current curriculum vitae.
7. A list of awards and fellowships received in the previous two years, and awards and fellowships applied for in the last six months. CILAS will notify the awardees' home department graduate coordinator of any awards granted by CILAS.
8. Transcripts covering academic work undertaken at UC San Diego. A list of courses taken during the current quarter should also be submitted if transcripts are not yet available for that period. Transcripts can be obtained from TritonLink; official copies are not necessary. Transcripts should not be submitted in protected view.
9. One letter of recommendation from a UC San Diego faculty should be emailed directly to Isela Brijández at by Wednesday, 4/3/2019 (midnight).
10. Submit a hard copy and PDF of the application by Wednesday, 4/3/2019 to Isela Brijández.
Hard Copy (stapled or clipped): Please compile your application in the order listed in this section (items 1-8). The application should be printed on one side of paper (8.5 by 11). Drop off the application in room 6 in the Gildred/LAS building, or send it to CILAS using mail code 0548. You may also drop-off your application in Isela Brijandez’ mailbox which is located next to room 4 in the Gildred/LAS building.
PDF: The name of the file should include the name of the grant, year, and your last and first name (2019 TinkerDoeJohn). Please compile your application in the order listed in this section (items 1-8). All pages must be combined in one attachment, appear in the actual size of 8.5 x 11 (100% view), and in a non-protected view. Email the PDF to Isela Brijández at
11. If you decline the award you must notify Isela Brijández via email at by June 1, 2019.
12. If your travel plans change, it must be approved prior to travel by notifying Isela Brijández via email at by June 1, 2019.

If you have questions please contact Isela Brijández at

Please click below for the 7 page application.

Complete Application