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Ronald I. McKinnon Memorial Fellowship

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The Ronald I. McKinnon Memorial Fellowship honors Professor McKinnon’s memory by funding outstanding research projects for undergraduate students declared in economics and writing an honors thesis on topics of international economics, international finance, or economic development.

Funds awarded typically do not exceed $5,000 and must be spent within six months of the award. If the project involves human subjects, funds will not be disbursed until grantees obtain IRB approval. Awards prioritize projects requesting coverage of direct research costs, e.g., travel, field expenses, and data acquisition.

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

Per the Provost’s International Travel Policy, travel for undergraduate students will not be permitted to countries, regions or cities where the International SOS risk rating (either the medical risk or travel risk) is “High” or “Extreme,” or where there is other reliable information of significant health or safety risks for the location of intended travel. To determine a location’s International SOS medical and travel risk ratings, please visit this page.

For the latest university travel policies, please refer to the COVID-19 travel page


To submit an application, you will need:

  • Two-page project description 
  • Detailed budget and timeline 
  • CV
  • Stanford transcript
  • One faculty letter of recommendation

Submit an application

Recommendation letters

Faculty recommendation letters have the same deadline as the application. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that their letter of recommendation is 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. Awards will prioritize projects requesting coverage of direct research costs, e.g., travel, field expenses, and data acquisition. Applicants may simultaneously apply for other sources of funding, but may not accept multiple sources of funding for the same expenses.

Please upload one PDF document containing the budget and justification using the King Center budget template. Please list all the anticipated sources of funding indicating which items would be supported by these funds and which will be covered by other sources.

The following expense categories WILL be considered an appropriate use of these funds:

  • Travel costs (either domestic or international; round-trip, economy class airfare, based on fares to and from San Francisco) 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
  • Accommodation and meals associated with travel only

The following expense categories will NOT be considered an appropriate use of these funds:

  • Salary payments to undergraduates
  • Equipment purchase(s)
  • Travel costs for dependents and/or spouses
  • Travel costs for job interviews
  • Travel costs to attend or present at professional conferences
  • Dissertation write-up grants
  • Course registration
  • Stanford tuition
  • Language training
  • Pre-departure immunizations
  • Travel medicine consultation
  • Health insurance
  • Visa costs
  • All other incidental expenses

Please note the following:

  • Proposals may be partially funded.
  • All funds will be dispersed as Stipend Funding via the Office of Financial Aid.
  • Stipends may be considered taxable for the recipient, although no tax forms are generated by the university.
  • The tax obligation varies according to the individual student's total income, dependency status, treaty status for international students, and individual circumstances. 
  • 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

Student Financial Services, the Bechtel International Center, and Stanford’s Fingate provide additional information regarding tax considerations.

Eligibility and requirements

  • Stanford undergraduates must be declared in economics and must be writing an honors thesis in international economics, international finance, or economic development. 
  • Proposals should show a clear path to an honors thesis, which must be under faculty mentorship and successfully completed by the end of senior year.
  • Econ 198 (Junior Honors Seminar) must be successfully completed during spring quarter of junior year.
  • Recipients must be registered students in the quarter they receive funds.
  • Funds must be spent within six months of receipt.
  • If the project involves human subjects, funds will not be disbursed until grantees obtain IRB approval.

Selection criteria

Completed applications will be reviewed by a faculty committee. Candidates will be selected based on overall fit with the fellowship and academic excellence. 

Award conditions

Fellowship recipients will write a thank-you letter to the donor.  The letter must be written in a timely manner, and include an abstract of the project and how the award will be used. Stewardship guidelines are provided.

Fellowship recipients may be asked to present their research at a workshop or seminar organized by the Stanford King Center on Global Development.