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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

2020 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 UC San Diego Graduate Division

New Application Deadline: Thursday, April 30, 2020 (Midnight)

CILAS expects to announce the awards in early May.


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 the following countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Tinker Field Research Grants 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 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. 

The Tinker Field Research Grants cannot be used to pay for language courses, conferences, vacation, activities or other research that is not related or listed in the proposal.

Travel to Venezuela and Cuba: It is critical that the UC San Diego Export Control Office (ECO) perform sanctions reviews with students traveling to Cuba and Venezuela. Students must contact with as much advance notice as possible.  In addition to these Cuba and Venezuela reviews, if someone is taking UCSD owned equipment, gear, or data to any foreign destination, ECO will also need to perform a review with you. 

Travel dates:  Due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, the Tinker Foundation is giving us flexibility on travel dates. Travel can start after June 1, 2020 and should end any time before September 30, 2021. The minimum duration of field research is for two weeks and maximum is for four months. Dates of travel may be revised in the future. We will send updates. Students must complete the Filed Operational Planner at least one month prior to their trip. More details will be included in the award letter.


Grant recipients will be selected by a committee of three UC San Diego faculty. The awards range from $300 to $2,000 and will be provided up front as stipends (see below).


Submit the following documents in the order provided and address each item on a separate page:

The CILAS Application Cover Sheet (included in this application, page 4).

 A roundtrip economy airfare (submit the actual airline quote with the airfare logo). The trip should originate from Los Angeles, San Diego, or Tijuana. Airfare should be Economy and you must purchase the most direct flight to your research location.

A timetable/detailed itinerary (a weekly account of places where you will be conducting research) of travel plans in the foreign country.

An outline of your proposed budget (roundtrip economy airfare, local transportation, in-country flights, food, accommodations, cell prepaid cards or chips, fax, photocopying, travel visas, and grand total). Prior to travelling, we may ask students for an updated proposal/budget if their travel is delayed extensively.

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—do not submit the same proposal you submitted last year. 

A current curriculum vitae.

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.

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. 

One letter of recommendation from a UC San Diego faculty should be emailed directly to Teresa White at by Thursday, April 30 (midnight). Please note the application must be turned in via PDF by Thursday, April 30 by midnight. **April 30 is also the deadline is for letters of recommendation***

Submit your application via PDF by Thursday, April 30 at midnight. PDF: The name of the PDF file should include the name of the grant, year, and your last and first name (e.g., Tinker2020DoeJohn). Please compile your application in the order listed in sections 1-8 above. 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 Incomplete applications will not be considered.

If you decline the award you must notify us via email at as soon as possible.

If your travel plans change, the change must be approved prior to travel

D. Awards

Awardees will be notified via email. Awardees will receive a stipend at the beginning of June.
All stipend payments are considered taxable income. Please refer to: for guidance.


You will submit a well-written two-page synopsis (double-spaced, 1-inch margin, 12-size font) within 2 weeks after travel is completed. The summary should include, at minimum, a brief reiteration of the purpose of the trip), activities undertaken and objectives achieved while abroad, lessons learned and/or recommendations for others conducting similar field research, and the uses to which the findings or results will be applied. Your synopsis will be forwarded to the faculty who wrote your letter of recommendation.

Individual recipients of Tinker Field Research Grants are expected to acknowledge the assistance from CILAS and the Tinker Foundation in any publication, film, or other media resulting from CILAS-supported research.

You will submit the receipt for your airfare to the research location, airfare within the country (if applicable) and lodging.

If you are not able to travel, you must return the full amount of the award.

Award recipients are required to present their research findings at the CILAS Graduate Symposium in the 2020 fall quarter, and in 2021, dates to be determined. We will be providing you the dates by which grantees will submit the title of their research, research questions, the place where the research was conducted, and a one-page synopsis of the topic for a 15-20 minute presentation.

Grantees are required to maintain contact with CILAS via email for a period of 5 years in order to track how the Field Research experience has assisted them in their future employment endeavors.

Submit additional materials such as photographs or scholarly articles that are published as a result of your research field research. Due date to be announced.

If you have questions please contact Teresa White at

Please click below for the application.

Complete Application