Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

Graduate Student Research Funding

Main content start

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.

Travel grants are intended for PhD students early in their programs who are exploring topics and countries of interest. The funding is intended for costs such as plane tickets and lodging for two months in the low- or middle-income countries of interest. The primary purpose of the trip is to help the student acquire new expertise and cannot be to work for a faculty-led project.  

Additional funding for research on issues important to Brazil is available through a partnership with the Lemann Center.

Please note: Letters of recommendation have the same due dates as the application and must be submitted as PDF files. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that their letter(s) of recommendation are submitted by the application deadline.

Letter writers may submit their recommendations as soon as their information is put into SOLO by the applicant, and *before* the applicant has submitted their application. Out of courtesy to the faculty, applicants should request letters at least two weeks before the deadline.

Apply here

Tiers of awards

  • Travel awards (up to $5,000)
  • Exploratory awards (up to $8,000)
  • Advanced awards (up to $25,000)

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

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 or travel.

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


To apply, graduate students must submit the following:

  • 100-word project abstract.
  • For travel awards, a one-page travel proposal: upload a PDF that provides details on topics of interest, travel locations, any potential contacts, etc.
  • For exploratory and advanced awards, a 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 travel and exploratory awards; 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.

Please note:

  • One letter of recommendation is required for travel and exploratory awards
  • Two letters of recommendation are required for advanced awards

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.

Please note: 

  • 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.

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.
  • Hiring of locally-based research assistants.
  • 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.


*There are some instances where a contract can and should be established - allowing funding to flow directly to payee.  Contracts should be used when:

  • Hiring non-Stanford-student RA(s) in an international location
  • Hiring an international consultant
  • Setting up a survey in international/domestic location
  • Paying for data set(s)

If you think you may need to establish a contract start with: Contacting Global Business Services to schedule a consultation prior to engaging with outside providers.

Award conditions & timing

Awards will be announced within one month of the application deadline. Funds awarded should be spent within 12 months of the award; extensions may be requested.

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

No funds will be disbursed until the awardee obtains travel and/or field research approval, if required under the university’s current research guidance.

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, written in non-technical language, and including:
    • 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).
    • Please use this sample budget template, also available in the "Additional Resources" section.

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 be invited to present their work at a workshop or seminar organized by the Stanford King Center on Global Development

Please note the following funding conditions:

  • You must be registered in the quarter in which you receive funds.
  • Funds for non-contract-related work will be dispersed as Stipend Funding via the Graduate Funding System (GFS).
  • When contracts are involved, the King Center will pay vendors directly.
  • Travel Awards are not eligible for contract work and funds will only be processed through a stipend.


  • International students may have taxes deducted before stipend funds are released.
  • Stipends may be considered taxable for the recipient. The tax obligation varies according to the student's total income, dependency status, treaty status for international students, and individual circumstances. See this page for information.
  • 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 and visit this Student Services website page for more tax information.
  • Student Financial Services, the Bechtel International Center, and Stanford’s Fingate provide additional information regarding tax considerations.


Please contact the King Center at with any questions.

phone scanning barcode
King Center-supported research

Counting calories

Economics PhD student Nano Barahona and a team of researchers investigated the impact of a national food labeling law in Chile.

Learn more about Nano's research
political posters in Lebanon
King Center-supported research

How local governance undermines democracy in Lebanon

Political science PhD student Christiana Parreira investigated how municipal governments in Lebanon benefit from stronger or weaker relationships with powerful political parties.

Learn more about Christiana's research