Tinker Field Research Grant Competition for Graduate Student Research in Latin America

Are you a graduate student interested in doing summer research in Latin America, or the Caribbean? CLACS offers fellowships for any discipline and nationality.

CLACS Tinker Fellowship


October 28-29, 2016. Room 101 International Studies Building

CLACS awards Tinker Pre-dissertation Field Research Grants to support preliminary summer research projects. Graduate students in any field are eligible.

The Tinker Workshop is an annual event that showcases graduate student research and also provides students with detailed commentary by participating Center faculty affiliates.

Tinker Workshop 2016, nineteen graduate fellows will present their summer 2016 research. Presentations are organized in the following topics:

2016 Tinker Workshop Program




Country Field Research
Alana Ackerman Anthropology Ecuador
David Aristizabal Anthropology Colombia
Dinah Armstead Educ Policy Chile
Claire Branigan Anthropology Argentina
Gustavo Cortes Economics Brazil
Catalina Hernandez-Cabal Curriculum & Instruction Colombia
Heilin Jahnke Agricultural and Biological Eng Ecuador
Jennifer Kirker Priest Anthropology Guatemala
Claudia Lagos ICR Chile
Jessica Lira Viana Plant Biology Panama
Juan Mora History Mexico
Liz Moreno Spanish & Portuguese Argentina
Katia Nakamura Natural Res Env Sciences Peru
Gana Ndiaye French & Italian Brazil
Cassandra Osei History Brazil
Gonzalo Pinilla Art History Colombia
Ingrid Romero Plant Biology Colombia
Summer Sanford Anthropology Panama
Juan Suarez Spanish & Portuguese Brazil
Elizabeth Villegas Human Development Mexico
Luke Zehr Entomology Panama



Summer 2016 Tinker Fellowship

  • Information Meeting: Friday January 29, 2016 at 12pm in Room 200 International Studies Building

  • Application Deadline: Monday, February 29, 2016


Eligibility: Students matriculating for an MA degree, professional degree, and/or PhD degree in any unit at the Urbana-Champaign campus of the University of Illinois are eligible for awards. Priority will be given to those matriculating for Professional and PhD degrees. There are no nationality restrictions.
Research projects are to be conducted in the Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking countries of Latin America. Work in Belize or Puerto Rico is not eligible.


Funding is provided for travel and research costs, which now includes limited amounts for per diem, travel insurance, and research supplies for four or more weeks during the summer of 2016.
The awards will be primarily, but not exclusively, for individual projects; interdisciplinary collaboration, or collaboration between professional and disciplinary units, is also encouraged.
Tinker Research Grants are not to be used for dissertation research, but rather to provide graduate students with their initial exploratory experience in developing independent research projects and conducting field research in Latin America.
Research should be visualized as a coherent unit as well as a preliminary project paving the way for future research. Grant money cannot be used for conference or course registration, or for intensive language workshops or field schools. It is acceptable to use other grants in conjunction with this grant. In applying, the candidate must indicate all other sources to which s/he plans to apply.

Evaluation: The following criteria apply:

  • Scholarly excellence: The applicant must be a student of high academic standing making clear progress toward degree. Each applicant must supply a current transcript, curriculum vitae, and two letters of recommendation, one of which must be from the applicant's academic advisor.

  • Viability of research: The program is specifically designed to encourage exploratory research. A competitive proposal is one that demonstrates the following:
    • The research site chosen is suitable for the study, and that appropriate facilities or conditions for the proposed research exist there.
    • The research problem is germane to historic, political, economic, sociocultural and/or ecological characteristics of the specific locale chosen.
    • The research problem is relevant to current concerns in the applicant's field of study
    • The research methods proposed and the time allowed (normally four or more weeks) are adequate to achieve substantial progress, as demonstrated by a schedule of proposed activities.
  • Technical competence: The applicant must demonstrate, through transcripts and/or letters of recommendation, a level of language competence adequate to the research task, and sufficient grounding in all other technical skills required in the proposed research.
  • Priority areas: Because one of the purposes of the program is to improve the University's capacity in certain specific areas, preference will be given to projects with two or more of the following characteristics:
    • A contribution to economic policy and governance, environmental policy, and those targeted social science disciplines with strong public policy implications.
    • A contribution to the areas of humanities, the fine and applied arts, social sciences, international relations, or national resource development, broadly defined.
    • An interdisciplinary or interprofessional commitment, either through formal conceptualization, or through collaboration with a colleague.
    • A commitment to apply the candidate's Latin Americanist knowledge to the improvement of international linkages and scholarly interaction in the applicant's profession and teaching unit.
    • A lack of previous intensive field experience in Latin America.
  • International scholarly reciprocity: Applicants must demonstrate a well-informed plan for affiliation with, or other tangible cooperation with, an appropriate institution in the proposed host country. Appropriate institutions would include institutes, research centers, museums, government agencies, universities, professional associations, foundations, hospitals, or private firms that correspond to the applicant's field or endeavor. The researcher may accept a subsidy for research or living expenses, provided it does not duplicate any part of his or her Tinker Research Grant or entail any non-research responsibilities within the host institution. Terms by which the benefits of the research are to be made available to host-country scholars must be negotiated directly between the researcher and the host institution. The completion of such negotiations need not be demonstrated prior to applying, but inclusion of prior correspondence will be considered an asset to the application. Terms of reciprocity may not include any payment in cash or kind to the host institution. Reciprocity means exchange of expertise, services, data or research results. The Center may be able to provide guidance on how to proceed with these affiliations. Because of the extensive contacts our faculty and previous students have developed in Latin America, as well as the many formal agreements signed between the University and Latin American institutions, the Center may be able to help candidates to initiate contacts regarding affiliation.

  • Students who have passed preliminary exams or qualifying exams are not eligible.

Selection Panel: An interdisciplinary faculty panel of Latin Americanists will judge the competition.


Application Deadline: Monday, February 29, 2016

  • Submit 1 PDF electronically to CLACS
  • Write in the subject Line: Tinker Summer Fellowship Application

Electronic Application Checklist: All Applicationss must include:

  • Tinker Application Cover Sheet 2016
  • Current Transcript (unofficial)
  • Two letters of recommendation (one must be from the student's academic advisor sent by e-mail to CLACS (clacs@illinois.edu)
  • Research Proposal (3-5 double spaced, 12-pt font) to include:
    • Title Page (1 page) and abstract (max. 200 words)
    • Brief Project Narrative
    • Sketch of proposed work and/or work already completed
    • Description of research to be completed during the summer (minimum 4 weeks)
    • Argument for the viability of the research
    • Statement of technical competence and plans for scholarly reciprocity
    • Projection of research results and application in your fields
    • Bibliography (max. 2 pages)
    • Budget (include full cost of travel & research costs), itinerary and timeline. Include an estimate of the least expensive round-trip travel fare in a U.S. carrier The fellowship will cover travel and a limited amount for other research related costs. The proposal should include a full and reasonable budget so that the student and the committee are aware of the full costs of the project. Include information from other funding sources

Project Budgeting: The applicants' proposed budget must include the following items:

  • Lowest-cost round-trip airfare to work site on a US Carrier
  • All in-country travel expenses

Direct travel and related research expenses (e.g. per diem, film, supplies, food, lodging, copies) are allowed under this grant. Costs of registration in absentia or any other such costs will not be allowed.

Disbursement Procedures: Grantees will receive awards in the form of a Student Travel Award, which will be submitted to his/her Student Financial Aid Account as directed by University policy. The selection panel will determine the amount of each award based on the candidate's budget, quality of the proposal, and of available funds. The funds for this program will be administered by the Center Director.


There will be an informational meeting on Friday January 29, 2016 at 12pm in Room 200 ISB for interested prospective applicants. We will answer any questions about the program, procedures, and proposals at that time.
After the announcement of the awards, there will be a second meeting for all awardees on Friday, April 22, 2016 at 12:00 PM in Room 200 ISB. At this meeting the main agenda will be discussion of projects, tips for overseas travel and relations with host-country institutions, reporting requirements, fellowship obligations, and IRB procedures.


Awardees will be required to furnish the following documents:

  • Within two weeks of arrival on site, the student is required to send a one-page letter to the Center reporting on initial set-up and negotiations with the host country institution. Awardees should supply the Center with a contact address, phone number, fax, and e-mail address.
  • Two-page Final Report (electronic) within two weeks after travel.
  • Digital pictures (2-4) that illustrate the research experience to be included in the report.
  • The report to the Center must conclude with a report on the expenditures of the grant.
  • All original receipts and other documentation expenses.
  • Paper (10-12 pages by beginning of October 2016) which the student will present at the TINKER WORKSHOP.
  • Any thesis, publication or any other substantial product of the research must include acknowledgment of funding provided by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

You may obtain additional copies and information at the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Phone: 217-333-3182, or clacs@illinois.edu.

2016 Tinker Fellowship information to print



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A glance to Tinker Workshop 2014



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Fellows 2015-2016

Alana Ackerman, Jason Ahlenius, David Aristizabal, Krysta Beam, Dexter Burns, Sergio Contreras, Silvia Escanilla, Carmen Gallegos, Brenda Garcia, Ethan Madarieta, Cristina Mostacero, Carolina Ortega, Fabian Prieto, Thais R. S. de Sant’Ana, Kelly Senters, Marin Thompson, Erin Updyke .

Fellows 2014-2015

Rafael Achury, Phred Benham, Juan Bernal, Elena Bonicelli, Carol Burga, Rico Kleinstein Chenyek, Stella Choi, Annie Contractor, Marilia Correa, Christopher Eager, Kathleen Ernst, Raquel Escobar, Aron Katz, Rebeca Linares, John Marquez, Luis Mojica, Mauricio Pino, Jazmin Ridley, Jim Sauls, Juan Suarez.

Fellows 2013-2014

Megan Bohardt, Cristian Cabalin, Rico Chenyek, Zev Cossin, Lydia Crafts, Luis Escobedo, Jessica English, Krista Evensen, Patricia Galvez, Carrie Gordon, Derek Haselhorst, Bryce Henson, Christopher Long, Katherine Magerko, Sergio Poo-Dalidet, Jenica Rosen.


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