ARISC Junior Research Fellowship 2023-24

The American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC) announces the availability of fellowships in support of early-career postdoctoral scholars to undertake research activities in the South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia). During their time in the South Caucasus, fellows will give a public presentation on their research at an ARISC-sponsored event in the South Caucasus and acknowledge ARISC in any publications and presentations. As part of their final reports, ARISC Junior Research Fellowship recipients will create curricular modules and resources, incorporating their ARISC-funded research, for general education use that will be publicly available on the website. This fellowship is supported with a grant from the US Department of Education.

Deadline Extended: Thursday, December 28, 2023

Eligibility:

  • Projects in all fields in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences are eligible.
  • Status:
    • scholars at the early postdoctoral stage – within ten years of being awarded a doctoral degree (since 2013) at the time of application.
    • If the applicant is in a tenure-track position, the applicant must be pre-tenure in order to apply.
  • Citizenship:
    • US citizens
    • US permanent residents 

Award Amount:

The ARISC Junior Research Fellowships (JRF) will fund up to three early-career scholars at $5000 for 1-3 months of research in the South Caucasus to help cover transportation, lodging, meals and incidental expenses, and other expenses needed to support the scholar’s research in the South Caucasus. A remote option is possible (see below).

Curricular Requirement:

The Final Report, due by August 31, 2024, will include creating one module with resources appropriate for a college hour (50 minute) lecture based on the fellow’s ARISC-funded research, including a PowerPoint, and where suitable, appropriate classroom activities and/or readings.

Application Requirements:

  • application form*, 
  • a project statement* of not more than 2000 words, (not including bibliographic references, tables, charts, or other supporting information)
    • Research question, design, and methodologyThe significance of the project, relevance, and potential contribution to regional and /or trans-regional scholarly research.What are your qualifications for this project and how will they enable you to do your proposed project?Please also identify potential obstacles or issues (for example, geopolitical instability, archive closures, difficulty finding interlocutors, permissions required by local agencies) that may delay your research and how would you meet the challenges of your project should one of these factors be an issue.Statement should clearly indicate whether the application is submitted for Option A (travel to the region), or Option B (remote research), with relevant research design and methodology for that option.
    • Please note that application reviewers may not be specialists in your field. The language of your statement should be clear and free of jargon.
  • Itemized budget and budget narrative (see sample here),
    • Allowable costs include airfare, ground transportation, lodging, meals and incidental expenses, and research costs. Funding from this award cannot be used to cover visa expenses or the purchase of insurance.
    • Budgeted amounts for meals and incidental expenses may not exceed those set by the US Department of State for the location of travel. See this website.
    • If the cost of the project exceeds the maximum allowable in this funding opportunity, applicant should explain other sources of funding, as well as how the project can be scaled if they are only awarded ARISC funds.
    • The budget should clearly indicate whether the project is for Option A (travel to the region) or Option B (remote option).
    • Applicants with questions about budgeting for specific in-country costs are encouraged to contact ARISC’s Resident Directors: Armenia@arisc.org, Azerbaijan@arisc.org, or Georgia@arisc.org.
  • work schedule,
    • Scholars are expected to be in the South Caucasus for the duration of the project, if they will proceed with Option A.
    • Please be specific about the number of days per week and number of hours during the day that you will spend on this research project, as well as the location for this research project.
    • Your work schedule should demonstrate that you have checked availability of resources.
    • Archives may not be open year-round, and local scholars may be traveling in the summer. Check on availability ahead of time.
    • Be aware that it can take up to six months to obtain the necessary in-country research clearance and plan accordingly. We recommend beginning the process early.
    • Work schedule should clearly indicate whether the application is submitted for Option A (travel to the region) or Option B (remote research).
    • Applicants with questions about timing and feasibility are encouraged to contact ARISC’s Resident Directors: Armenia@arisc.org, Azerbaijan@arisc.org, or Georgia@arisc.org
  • curriculum vitae
  • Optional: Applicants also have the option to submit a brief diversity statement, discussing how their experiences and project promote diverse perspectives, experiences, and ideas in the pursuit of research in their discipline.

Application materials should be emailed to info@arisc.org, with the subject, “ARISC Junior Research Fellowship.” Applications are processed manually. Applicants should expect to receive an email from ARISC indicating receipt approximately 2-3 days after submission. If you do not receive a response, check your spam filter, then contact info@arisc.org.

*The application form needs to be downloaded to be completed. You will need to use Adobe Reader (free) to complete the form.

Remote Option:

The remote option allows for research to be conducted without having to travel to the South Caucasus during the project timeline. In this option, consider the following questions: How can you address your research question if you cannot travel to the South Caucasus? What methods, tools, and analyses can you conduct from home or in the US?  

For the remote option, instead of funding travel costs (transportation, lodging, M&IE), the budget may cover costs such as

  • transportation, lodging, and M&IE to archives and libraries in the US,
  • childcare, so that the fellow may focus on their research during the time period of their fellowship,
  • translation costs,
  • hiring a research assistant in the South Caucasus to do archival research if the fellow cannot travel,
  • digital research projects,
  • publication fees for research (publication fees could include website registration/server fees, or open access fees).

Think of this the same way you would think about the costs of research in another country: What are the costs that would allow you to focus on and conduct research while working remotely?

Additional Requirements, Terms, and Conditions

The following requirements, terms, and conditions apply to applicants selected for awards. Applicants should be aware of the following prior to submitting their application

  1. Applicants must be either US citizens, or US permanent residents. Proof of citizenship or permanent resident status must be shown upon fellowship notification.
  2. Applicants may apply to more than one ARISC funding opportunity, if eligible. If awarded more than one fellowship, the awardee will be asked to select one.
  3. Proof of Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval must be provided, if relevant, upon receipt of fellowship. Fellows are responsible for determining through their home institution whether IRB approval is required for their project. If unsure, the fellow should apply to the IRB program at their university. We recommend applicants begin the IRB process at their home institution as soon as they submit their application to ARISC.
  4. Fellows must submit a Final Report including curricular modules and resources to ARISC within 30 days of fellowship completion and no later than by August 31, 2024. Any unused portion of the stipend must be returned to ARISC by this date. A portion of the fellowship stipend will be withheld until the recipient submits their Final Report on their fellowship.
  5. Fellows are responsible for obtaining the appropriate research permissions and visas. In general, researchers should seek permission to carry out research directly from the director(s) of the institution(s) where they intend to work, including most libraries housed within local museums. If the material they wish to study is part of an excavation or survey, fellows’ funding will be conditional upon submission of a letter that is signed by the project director giving permission to carry out the research. We recommend applicants begin the process of obtaining research permissions as soon as they submit their application to ARISC.
  6. ARISC does not provide tax advice on fellowship payments. Fellows are encouraged to consult with their own tax advisors prior to filing.
  7. Award recipients are responsible for ensuring proper medical and evacuation insurance coverage during their time in the field in the South Caucasus. ARISC funds cannot be used to cover medical, emergency evacuation and repatriation, or other insurance. Proof of insurance coverage will be required before disbursement of fellowship funds. Your university may provide this for your research. Please consult with them first.
  8. Fellowship recipients are eligible to reapply for a second Junior Research Fellowship three years after completion of their most recent award. Fellows cannot hold two-federally funded fellowships or funding opportunities simultaneously.
  9. Selected fellows must work on their research full-time during their period of funding.
  10. The US Department of Education requires that all travel between the US and South Caucasus that uses these funds must meet the provisions of the “Fly America Act” or “Open Skies Agreements.”
  11. Given changing travel restrictions and/or travel warnings to many countries, fellows must contact ARISC prior to purchasing airfare. ARISC will not fund projects taking place in locations designated as Level 4 (Do Not Travel) by the US Department of State. Fellows are encouraged to use https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en.html to monitor travel advisories.
  12. Fellows may not hold another federal grant concurrently with the US Department of Education-funded Junior Research Fellowship if the other federal support duplicates the purpose and costs covered by Title VI funds. While ARISC encourages scholars to apply to other federal and private sources in addition to the ARISC Junior Research Fellowships, ARISC fellows who receive additional awards must contact ARISC immediately to discuss possible date and stipend adjustments.
  13. Projects cannot incur expenses prior to the date listed on the award notification letter.
  14. ARISC reserves the right to adjust the amounts and types of awards given under this program, as well as the general terms and conditions, before award agreements are reached with each recipient.

Selection Process

Proposals will be peer-reviewed and judged on their quality and on the potential of the research to strengthen scholarship on the South Caucasus. Fellows will be selected by an ARISC fellowships panel made up of scholars working in the South Caucasus with experience conducting regional and trans-regional research. Please note that readers may not be specialists in your field. Applicants will be judged according to the following criteria:

  • Merits of the proposal for significance, relevance, and potential contribution to regional and/or trans-regional scholarly research. Diversity statements will be considered under this criterion.
  • Applicant qualifications
  • Research design and methodology
  • Feasibility in terms of resources and amount of time allocated to the project
  • Proficiency in language required to complete research project, if applicable

Notification

Notification of fellowship status will be sent to each applicant via email in February 2024If you would like to receive any updates to this funding call, please email info@arisc.org with your name, contact information, and the subject “Updates to Junior Research Fellowships 2023-24.”

Questions

For questions, see our new Frequently Asked Questions page, or please contact info@arisc.org

The ARISC Resident Directors in Baku, Tbilisi, and Yerevan are available to assist the scholars chosen for the program to prepare for their research in the South Caucasus by assisting with logistics such as visa requirements, travel arrangements within the country, and helping to locate research materials and local contacts. Note that ARISC does not have a branch in Azerbaijan and is unable to issue a letter of invitation, so awardees will need to coordinate with a host institution to obtain an invitation letter for a visa.

We are also hosting virtual, open-house Question & Answer sessions on Mondays (beginning from November 6th) from 10-11am EST (7-8pm Tbilisi time). Registration required at https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIsd–rrDwpHNMew1OA11dFn5YRk2Xp3G_r

Important Notes Regarding Applications

  • ARISC’s method of submission is via email.
  • Once an application is submitted it cannot be resubmitted or edited. This also applies to letters of recommendation.

Funding Source:

This fellowship is supported with a grant from the US Department of Education.

ARISC does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, sex, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability, medical condition, ancestry, marital status, education, age, income, socio-economic status, or status as a covered veteran.

Past Awards

2023:

– Isabelle Kaplan (George Washington University): The Art of Nation-Building: National Culture and Soviet Politics under Stalin

2022:

– Joseph Bohigian (Independent Scholar): ‘I Am He Whose Life and Soul Are Torment’: Sergei Parajanov and Symbolic Biography

– Oksana Nesterenko (New York University): A Forbidden Fruit? Religion, Secularity and Music in the USSR before its Fall

2021:

– Rebecca Mitchell (Middlebury College): Discordant Empire: Song and Sound in Imperial Russia, 1861-1930.

– Ariel Otruba (Moravian University): Geographies of Slow Violence and Displacement in Georgian’s Abandoned Soviet Spas

– Edward Holland (University of Arkansas): Territorial Autonomy as Conflict Management Strategy in the Georgian Republic of Ajara