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.

2018 Tinker Field Research Grant Competition

The Center for Iberian & Latin American Studies

invites applications from UC San Diego graduate students studying Latin America


This grant is generously supported by the Tinker Foundation and the UC San Diego Graduate Division.

Application Deadline: Monday, March 12, 2018 (Midnight)

CILAS expects to announce the awards in early May 2018

A. UC SAN DIEGO APPLICANTS                                                                                                                                                               

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, and Spain.  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 dates: Travel can occur after June 1, 2018 and should be completed by October 31, 2018. Travel awards will be reimbursed only for authorized expenses. CILAS cannot provide funds prior to travel. 

There will be three one hour Tinker Information sessions on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 at 11 AM, Thursday, February 22, 2018 at 3 PM, and Monday, February 26, 2018 at 12:00 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.

Complete Application

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 Office of Graduate Studies.

Recipients of Awards, Grants & Fellowships