ARISC Research Fellowship

The American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC) announces the availability of fellowships in support of research and mentoring activities in the South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, and/or Georgia). The goals of the fellowship are 1) to support research in and the study of the South Caucasus; 2) to select, recognize and financially support individuals who demonstrate high potential to contribute to research in this region; 3) to support a mentoring relationship that will both develop the academic skills of the mentee and strengthen ties between the US and host country. Projects in all fields in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences are eligible, and all projects must include one or more undergraduate and/or graduate students from Armenia, Azerbaijan, and/or Georgia as research assistants/participants. Priority will be given to projects proposing research on entrepreneurship, science and technology, youth leadership, or higher education. This opportunity is open to US citizens who are scholars at the predoctoral (doctoral candidates), postdoctoral, or advanced professorial levels. Research awards will be made for $2,500 to $6,500, for a maximum of 3 months each to help cover transportation, room, board, incidental expenses, and other expenses needed to support scholar’s research in the South Caucasus. For ARISC grant purposes, mentoring is understood to involve integrating a local scholar into a research project in a fundamental way that involves cultivating skills and knowledge of methods that will contribute to the professional development of the local scholar. The fellows will give ARISC-sponsored presentations on a subject related to their research. Proposals will be peer-reviewed and judged on their quality and on the potential of the research to strengthen scholarship on the South Caucasus. ARISC offers connections with colleagues, institutions, and authorities through its representatives in Baku, Tbilisi, and Yerevan.

Application requirements: Please send a complete application including the application form*, a project statement of not more than 1500 words, work schedule, itemized budget with budget narrative, and curriculum vitae, by Friday, January 17, 2020, to info “at” Three letters of recommendation must also be submitted. Letters of recommendation are required for graduate students only and should be sent directly from your referee via email to info “at” All information must be received by Friday, January 17, 2020, in order for the applicant to be considered for the fellowship.

*This form needs to be downloaded to be completed. You will need to use Adobe Reader (free) to complete the form using the add text comment tool.

ARISC does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, physical or mental disability, medical condition, ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or status as a covered veteran.

Terms and Conditions

  1. All applicants must be citizens of the United States of America. Student applicants must have fulfilled all requirements for the doctorate except the dissertation by March 2020, and before beginning any ARISC-sponsored research. Students who are graduating before the start of their field research project should indicate future study plans and how the field research fellowship will fit into those plans.
  2. Priority will be given to projects proposing research on entrepreneurship, science and technology, youth leadership, or higher education.
  3. Awards are made for up to $2,500 per month for the first two months, and $1,500 for subsequent month(s). Up to $500 of the total award may be made available for fellows to offset necessary expenses related to incorporating an undergraduate or graduate student in the host country in their research program.
  4. Fellows must complete their fellowships and submit a Final Report to ARISC by August 31, 2020. Any unused portion of the stipend must be returned to ARISC by this date.
  5. Fellows must present an ARISC-sponsored public lecture or workshop on a subject related to their research during their residency in the South Caucasus and acknowledge ARISC in any publications and presentations.
  6. 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, researchers must submit a letter with their application that is signed by the project director giving permission to carry out the research.
  7. A portion of the fellowship stipend will be withheld until the recipient submits their Final Report on their fellowship.
  8. If any item of equipment or supplies purchased with grant funds at an original cost in excess of $500.00 still has monetary value, the resale value must be returned to ARISC; or, upon approval by ARISC, such equipment may be donated to an educational or research institution in the South Caucasus in the name of ARISC.
  9. Funding from this award cannot be used to cover visa expenses or the purchase of insurance.
  10. Meals and Incidental expenses may not exceed the rates set by the US Department of State.
  11. Award recipients are responsible for paying all taxes related to their awards. The fellowship funds awarded are generally considered income in the United States, and therefore must be reported to the tax authorities. ARISC bears no responsibility for withholding or remitting taxes related to these awards.
  12. Award recipients are responsible for ensuring proper medical and evacuation insurance coverage during their time in the field in the South Caucasus. Proof of insurance coverage will be required before disbursement of fellowship funds.
  13. Fellowship recipients are eligible to reapply for a second Research Fellowship three years after completion of their most recent award.
  14. Selected fellows must work on their research full-time during their period of funding.
  15. All travel between the US and South Caucasus that uses funds from the fellowship program must meet the provisions of the “Fly America Act.”
  16. Given changing travel restrictions and/or travel warnings to many countries, fellows should contact ARISC prior to purchasing air passage.
  17. 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.
  18. While ARISC encourages scholars to apply to other federal and private sources in addition to the ARISC fellowships, ARISC fellows who receive additional awards must contact ARISC immediately to discuss possible date and stipend adjustments. Fellows may not hold another federal grant concurrently with the ECA-funded ARISC Research Fellowship.
  19. 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.
  20. Fellows are responsible for securing their visas.

Selection Process

Fellows will be selected by the ARISC grants 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;
  • 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. If language competence is needed for this project, one of the letters of recommendation must address this;
  • Quality of the mentoring proposal.


Notification of fellowship status will be sent to each applicant via email in March 2020.

If you would like to receive any updates to this funding call, please email with your name, contact information, and the subject “Updates to Research Fellowships 2019-20.”

Additional Information

The ARISC Resident Directors in the 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.

Funding for this fellowship is provided by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs through a grant to the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC).

Past Awards


– Tiffany Earley (University of Central Florida): Landscapes of Warfare: Investigating Histories of Conflict in Pre-Modern Armenia through Mentoring Local Scholars

– Ashleigh Haruda (Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg): The earliest water buffalo in Azerbaijan

– Dylan Vasey (University of California, Davis): Where is the boundary between the Arabian and Eurasian tectonic plates in the Greater Caucasus

– Aram Yardumyan (Bryn Athyn College): Kura-Araxes Investigations at Karnut, Armenia


– Scott Demyan (Ohio State University): Investigating the capability for rapid, low-cost spectroscopic-based detection of soil degradation and soil health in Armenia

– Elizabeth Fagan (University of Chicago): GIS and Globalization in Classical-Period Armenia

– Leah Feldman (University of Chicago): Queer Sensations in Sergei Parajanov’s Film and Collage

– Selin Nugent (University of Oxford): Biological Histories of the Late Iron Age in the Talysh Mountains

– Anna Oldfield (Coastal Carolina University): Azerbaijani Musical storytelling: Poetics and Translation

– Kenneth Ritchie (Moesgård Museum): Neolithic fishing in the Southern Caucasus