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Graduate Student Research Funding

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Graduate Student Research Funding at the King Center supports faculty-supervised Stanford doctoral student research activities, particularly field-based work on global poverty and economic development in middle- and low-income countries.

Research activities must be conceptualized and led by students, but in some cases student research activities may build on faculty projects. All research supported by this program is expected to be part of a doctoral dissertation. Stanford students working on projects without a field-based component but otherwise topically relevant, including historical work, may also apply.

Tiers of awards

  • Exploratory awards (up to $7,000)
  • Advanced awards (up to $25,000)

Research, funding, and travel and Stanford COVID-19 policies


Apply here

To apply, graduate students must submit the following:

  • 100-word project abstract,
  • Two-page project description: Upload a PDF document that provides a cogent summary of the proposed research written in a manner clear to non-specialists. The selection committee is composed of a range of scholars and may not include specialists in the applicant's field. Project descriptions summaries must not exceed two pages. They should be single spaced, use conventional margins, and be in 11-point font or larger,
  • Detailed budget submitted using the King Center budget template and a budget justification,
  • Faculty letters of nomination (one letter for exploratory awards and two letters for advanced awards). These letters have the same deadline as the application and must be submitted by the faculty member through SOLO,
  • PDF of the applicant’s CV or resume,
  • PDF of the applicant’s transcripts.

Recommendation letters

Faculty recommendation letters have the same deadline as the graduate student application. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that their letter(s) of recommendation are submitted by the application deadline.

Students request recommendation letters within the application on the SOLO platform. A link is immediately sent to the faculty member, who can then upload the letter via SOLO. Letters should be submitted as PDF files.

Faculty may submit letters of recommendation at any time after receiving the link and do NOT have to wait for the student to complete and submit the application. This means that students, out of courtesy to the faculty, should initiate their application early enough to give advance notice to their recommenders, even if students plan to finalize the application closer to the deadline. We recommend inputting letter writer names at least two weeks before the deadline.

Budget and budget justification

Detailed budgets justifying funds requested must accompany applications, and emphasis will be placed on “value for money.” Partial awards may also be made. 

Please upload one PDF document containing the budget and justification using the King Center budget template.

The budget justification should include:

  • Itemized budget of all research-related expenses.
  • List of anticipated sources of funding. Indicate which items would be supported by these funds and which are covered by other sources. Note any other funding and whether other applications for funding have been submitted and/or awarded.

The following expense categories WILL be considered appropriate for these funds:

  • Travel costs (either domestic or international) associated with the proposed research.
  • Other special project costs such as purchase of datasets, production of questionnaires and surveys, or human subject costs.
  • Data entry or transcription costs.
  • Other activities directly related to the research (please give details).

The following expense categories will NOT be considered appropriate for these funds:

  • Payments to undergraduate students;
  • Equipment purchase(s);
  • Travel costs for dependents and/or spouses;
  • Childcare costs;
  • Travel costs for job interviews;
  • Travel costs to attend or present at professional conferences;
  • Dissertation write-up grants;
  • Health insurance;
  • Course registration;
  • Stanford tuition;
  • Language training.

Please note:

  • All funds will be dispersed as “Stipend Funding” via the Graduate Financial Support (GFS) system.
  • Stipend funding may be considered taxable income for the recipient although no tax forms are generated by the university.
  • The tax obligation on stipends varies according to the student's total income, dependency status, treaty status for international students, and individual circumstances.
  • International students may have taxes deducted before funds are released. Please see more information on taxes for international students from the Bechtel International Center.
  • Residents of certain countries may be able to claim a tax treaty benefit for reduced federal taxation. 
  • For assistance with tax withholding, tax treaty and tax form issues, submit a Support Request.
  • For more information regarding tax considerations, please visit Student Financial Services.

Eligibility and requirements

  • Stanford doctoral students in any discipline who are making satisfactory academic progress and are writing a PhD dissertation.
  • Award recipients must be registered students during the quarter in which they receive funding. 
  • Prior applicants may reapply for funding for different projects or may resubmit improved versions of earlier submissions.
  • Requests must be for expenses that are not covered through other sources of funding from external or university sources.
  • Applicants may simultaneously apply for other sources of funding but must note this in the application and may not accept multiple sources of funding for the same expenses.

Selection criteria

Proposals will be reviewed by a committee appointed by the King Center’s Faculty Steering Committee. The committee will apply a general filter for alignment with the themes of global poverty and development, and then use the following criteria to evaluate the proposals: (1) innovation, (2) academic rigor, and (3) whether the budget is commensurate with the value of the proposed research.

Awards will prioritize projects requesting coverage of direct research costs (travel, field expenses, data acquisition, etc.).

Award timing

Awards will be announced within one month of the application deadline and funds awarded must be spent within 12 months of the award. 

If the project involves human subjects, no funds will be disbursed until the awardee obtains IRB approval

Stanford University COVID-19 policy update: If the project involves field work, no funds will be disbursed until the awardee obtains field research clearance.

Award conditions

Upon receipt of award, recipients must submit:

  • 100-word abstract of the proposed research 
  • Short biography written in the third person to be used on the center website and in materials for donors
  • Photograph of the recipient to be used on the center website and in King Center materials.

Upon completion of the award term, recipients agree to:

  • Submit a final budget that provides details regarding expenses incurred using the budget template. 
  • Submit a brief report on the work completed and the findings. The report should be five pages maximum, written in non-technical language, and should include:
    • The research topic
    • A short summary of the research
    • The stage of the research and any findings
    • How the award enhanced or supported the research
    • Next steps including anything that may be of interest to the donor(s)
    • The recipient's future academic and/or professional career plans
    • Several digital photographs highlighting the research (if possible).

Additional award conditions

In the recipient's dissertation, as well as any resulting publications, the award recipient agrees to acknowledge that the research was supported by the Stanford King Center on Global Development’s Graduate Student Research Funding. 

Funding recipients may also be invited to present their work at a workshop or seminar organized by the King Center.


Please direct any questions to Program Manager Corinne Thomas at