Frequently Asked Questions

ELIGIBILITY

Am I eligible to apply if I am not a citizen or permanent resident of a country in Latin America or the Caribbean?

Although preference is given to citizens, you do not have to be a citizen or permanent resident of a country in Latin America or the Caribbean to apply. However, you do need to demonstrate your embeddedness in and commitment to the region.

Am I eligible to apply if I am a citizen or permanent resident of a country in Latin America or the Caribbean studying or working outside of the region?

Yes, but only if you clearly demonstrate that you are fully embedded in and committed to the region and that the nature of your studies/work does not indicate your intention to permanently settle outside of the region.

What do you mean by “embeddedness in and commitment to the region”?

One of the goals of the DSD Program is to strengthen capacity in Latin America and the Caribbean. Therefore, candidates need to demonstrate that they are active participants in the research community in the region and that they are committed to Latin America and the Caribbean as the focus of their research. A number of factors will be considered when assessing the candidates’ embeddedness in and commitment to the region, including, but not limited to, where they did their undergraduate and/or graduate training, how long they have lived and worked in the region, their professional and/or academic affiliations, membership in professional organizations, and their research/publication record.

Is there an age limit?

No.

Is there a degree requirement?

Applicants must hold a terminal degree in their field of study or have equivalent research experience related to the field of drugs at the time of their application. If applying based on their professional experience, applicants must hold at least a bachelor’s degree in any discipline.

Am I eligible to apply if I am currently a master’s or PhD candidate?

Yes, but only if you fulfill all other eligibility criteria and clearly demonstrate your previous professional experience in the field of drugs in Latin America or the Caribbean.

Am I eligible for DSD funding if I am a researcher in a discipline outside the social sciences but study issues directly related to illicit drugs?

Yes. The DSD Program accepts proposals from all disciplines provided the topical requirements of the fellowship are met and that the policy relevance of your research project is clearly demonstrated. If you have any questions about whether your field or topic is eligible for DSD funding, please contact us at dsd@ssrc.org.

Does the DSD fellowship have any regional or topical restrictions?

Yes. DSD-funded research must address the primary theme of drugs in Latin America or the Caribbean as it applies to one of the eligible topics listed on the fellowship page. Proposals that identify regions outside of Latin America and the Caribbean as a case for comparative inquiry are eligible; however, proposals that focus predominantly or exclusively on regions outside of Latin America and the Caribbean are not. Please note that while the DSD Program accepts proposals that include comparative research outside Latin America and the Caribbean, it may not be able to provide funding for research trips outside of the region. In addition, selection preference will be given to policy-relevant research focusing on the countries listed on the fellowship page.

How will I know if my topic is within the scope of the DSD Program?

DSD-funded research must address one of the eligible topics listed on the fellowship page. Projects that do not have a primary focus on the theme of drugs and are outside of the list of eligible topics will be eliminated from the competition. The program encourages interdisciplinary and comparative projects. We also encourage research in or about countries outlined on the DSD fellowship page.

Will DSD fund applications that propose research outside of Latin America and the Caribbean?

No.

I am already conducting research on one of the eligible topics. Can I use DSD funding to extend my research and/or for write-up?

Yes. Applicants who are already conducting research on one of our proposed topics should discuss the progress already made and how the DSD fellowship would allow further progress.

Can I take time off from the fellowship to take classes, teach or generally work?

Ideally, the fellowship should be completed within a continuous block of time. However, the DSD Program is willing to work with candidates who need to separate the research and write-up periods due to other previous commitments such as teaching and course obligations. Fellows may not work on other projects during the research portion of their fellowship, but concomitant work during the write-up period will be assessed by the program on a case by case basis.

What is the minimum length of research?

Fellowships provide support for a minimum of three months and a maximum of six months of research and write-up combined. No awards will be made for proposals requiring less than three months of research and write-up. The fellowship may not begin before July 1, 2015, and must be completed by July 31, 2016.

May I do the write-up portion of my fellowship in a different country than the one where I conducted my research?

Yes, but you need to clearly explain and justify why this would be necessary.

Do I need to be a specialist in Latin America or the Caribbean to apply for this fellowship?

No.

Can I reapply for the fellowship if I have applied before but was unsuccessful?

Yes.

Can I reapply for the fellowship if I was awarded DSD funding in a previous year?

No. However, you may be eligible for other DSD-funded research activities.

Am I eligible to apply if I have received funding from another SSRC fellowship (for example, IDRF or DPDF)?

Yes.

Are group projects eligible for the fellowship?

The DSD Program funds individual research, although that research may be part of a collaborative project. If your research is part of a collaborative project and other members of your research group wish to apply, each person should apply individually and indicate where applicable if their research is part of a collaborative project, clearly explaining the structure of collaboration in each proposal. However, please keep in mind that each application will be considered individually and funding for one member of the collaborative project does not guarantee funding for the entire project.

WORKSHOP

If I receive DSD funding, do I have to attend the workshop? I have a longstanding obligation that coincides with the dates of the workshop.

Yes. If you are awarded funding, you must attend the workshop. The workshop is typically held in July or August. If you know that you will be unable to be present at the workshop, you should not apply to the DSD Program.

Do I have to pay my own travel expenses to attend the workshop?

No. If awarded a fellowship, your expenses (airfare, hotel, meals, and ground transportation) will be paid for by the program. DSD staff will make travel arrangements.

What will I have to do to prepare for the workshop?

Fellows will have to prepare a short project memo and present their research project during the workshop for feedback. They will also have to provide feedback on other fellows’ research projects.

APPLICATION PROCESS

How do I apply for DSD funding?

No paper applications are used in this application process. The DSD application must be filled out online and can be accessed through the SSRC Online Application Portal (SOAP). You will also use this portal to contact your referees and language evaluator(s), complete the research relevance section, upload your research proposal, bibliography, CV, and work sample and send reminders to referees and language evaluators.

Do I have to submit my application in English?

No. You may submit your application in English, Spanish, or Portuguese.

May I submit my application by fax or e-mail?

No. Applications sent by fax or e-mail will not be accepted. Applicants must supply the necessary information by using the online application system at http://soap.ssrc.org. The reference and language evaluation must also be submitted online by the deadline.

When is the deadline for the 2015 DSD fellowship application?

Applications must be complete and submitted online before 9:00 p.m. (EST) on March 2nd, 2015. The reference letters and language evaluation(s) must also be submitted online by the same deadline.

Where can I find the reference and language evaluation forms?

There are no forms. You must use the References and Language Evaluations sections of the online application to contact referees and language evaluators. Once you have entered your evaluators’ contact information, they will receive e-mails with instructions on how to submit the reference letters or language evaluation(s) online. The submitted material will be automatically added to your application.

Do I need to complete the application all at once?

No. You may return to the application as many times as necessary until the application deadline. Be sure to save your work after you finish each section of the application. Once the application has been submitted, you will no longer be able to alter the information.

Do you have examples of proposals that have been awarded fellowships?

No. The DSD Program does not provide examples of successful proposals. For suggestions on proposal writing, we encourage you to consult The Art of Writing Proposals.

Can I submit my online application even if my reference letters and language evaluation(s) have not been received?

Yes. You are strongly encouraged to submit your online application well in advance of the deadline in order to avoid any technical difficulties. There is no need to wait for your reference letters and evaluations to be received in order to submit your application—they will be automatically added to your application. After your application has been submitted, you can continue to check the status of your references and language evaluations and send reminder requests through the Track References section of the application portal.

APPLICATION COMPONENTS

What is considered an acceptable sample of professional work?

Applicants are required to submit a PDF copy of one professional work that demonstrates their past work in the field of drugs as well as their writing and research skills. The sample may be of an article, research paper, book chapter, white paper, or policy brief, among other things, and it must have been made publicly available (even if only online) prior to its submission to the DSD Program. The work sample must range from five to twenty pages, and more than one work sample may be included in order to reach the minimum page requirement, if necessary. Please provide the proper citation indicating where the professional work sample was made publicly available.

Please note that all professional work samples submitted must be uploaded to the online application portal in one PDF file, but separate from the single PDF file containing your research proposal, bibliography, and CV, as explained below.

Are there formatting requirements for the work sample?

No. The professional sample should be submitted as a PDF copy of the original file that was made publicly available.

Does the professional work sample need to be submitted in English?

No. The professional work sample must be submitted in English, Spanish, or Portuguese.

How many references do I need and whom should I ask to write references for me?

You need to submit two reference letters. The reference letters must come from someone who is familiar with your work and research interests. Only two letters of reference will be accepted. Any additional letters will be discarded. Follow the instructions on the References section of the application portal to send an electronic request to the referees.

Can my references be from someone outside of academia?

Yes. Your references should be familiar with your work.

Do I need to submit a language evaluation?

If proficiency in a nonnative language is necessary for the completion of your research project, a language evaluation is required. If more than one foreign language is required to complete your research project, submit a language evaluation for each language.

Who should I ask to submit the language evaluation?

Anyone who is professionally qualified to judge your language competence may submit the language evaluation on your behalf, such as a language instructor, a faculty member in your department, or someone else who is qualified to assess your proficiency in the language(s) at the time of application and evaluate the language competence needed to carry out your research. Departmental language exams will not be accepted as proof of language proficiency. Please note that your reference writers may not also submit language evaluations on your behalf.

Do reference letters and language evaluations need to be submitted in English?

No. The reference/evaluation may be submitted in English, Spanish, or Portuguese as preferred by the reference writer/evaluator.

If I have completed a degree in a nonnative language, do I still need to submit a language evaluation for that language?

Nonnative speakers of Spanish who have completed a degree from a Spanish-speaking institution need not submit a Spanish language evaluation. The same applies to nonnative speakers of Portuguese who have completed a degree from a Portuguese-speaking institution and nonnative speakers of English who have completed a degree from an English-speaking institution. You do not need to submit a language evaluation form if you will be conducting research in your native language(s).

Are there formatting requirements for the research proposal, bibliography, and CV?

Yes. Your research proposal, bibliography, and CV should be collated as one continuous PDF file not exceeding sixteen pages. Research proposals must be double-spaced and not exceed ten pages (including any appendices or end notes). Proposal footnotes and endnotes may be single-spaced. The bibliography must not exceed two pages and must be in standard bibliographic format and may be single-spaced. The bibliography should indicate familiarity with the relevant regional scholarship for your topic. The bibliography cannot be substituted by endnotes. The proposal and bibliography must be in Times New Roman 11-point font type with at least one-inch margins on all sides. Proposals not adhering to these guidelines will not be considered.

Include a CV that details your relevant civil and professional experience, in addition to research and teaching experience. Regional expertise and non-academic work in your proposed research countries are also important to include, if applicable. The CV should be between one and four pages and may be submitted in English, Spanish, or Portuguese.

Can I submit photographs or charts with my application?

Yes, but any nontextual material must be included within the ten-page limit.

Do I need to submit transcripts with my application?

No. Do not submit transcripts with your application.

Do I need to send letters of affiliation with my application?

No. Do not submit letters of affiliation with your application.

How will I know that my application is complete?

After you have successfully submitted your application, you will receive a confirmation e-mail from the SSRC. You may continue to check the status of your references and language evaluation(s) and send reminder requests through the Track References section of the application portal after your application has been submitted.

TECHNICAL SUPPORT— PROPOSAL, BIBLIOGRAPHY, AND CV DOCUMENT AND WORK SAMPLE DOCUMENT

Do I need to convert my research proposal, bibliography, and CV document and my work sample document into PDF files myself? I don’t know how to perform the conversion.

Yes. You must convert your research proposal, bibliography, and CV document and your work sample document into PDF files. You may do so by using Adobe Acrobat Professional, or an online program such as Adobe Online, CutePDF, or Zoho Writer.

Please note that the research proposal, bibliography, and CV should be uploaded as a single continuous PDF file first and the professional work sample should be uploaded as a second continuous PDF file.

My research proposal, bibliography, and CV document was exactly the correct length in my word processing program, but when I convert it to a PDF file, it exceeds the page limit. Is that ok?

No. Your combined proposal, bibliography, and CV may not exceed sixteen pages in total as a PDF file. Likewise, your professional work sample must be between five and twenty pages.

I added page numbers to my proposal document in MS Word, but when I converted it to a PDF file, the formatting changed.

We recommend that you use the footer function for page numbering, rather than the header function.

I uploaded my work sample, research proposal, bibliography, and CV onto the application form, but when I print out the application, only two of them appear. Did my proposal not get uploaded?

Your research proposal, bibliography, and CV should be collated as one continuous PDF file and uploaded first. Your work sample must be collated as a second continuous PDF file and uploaded second. If you try to upload your research proposal, bibliography, and CV as separate documents, each will replace the one previously uploaded. Please combine these three documents into one document and then upload again in the first upload slot.

I use Mac OS X and am having difficulty uploading my proposal document. What should I do?

There is a known problem—specific to Mac OS X machines— with uploading files over a secure connection. You may upload files using either of the following options: (1) Apple’s browser, Safari or (2) a computer not running OS X.

TECHNICAL SUPPORT—REFERENCES AND LANGUAGE EVALUATIONS

What should I do if one of my referees and/or evaluators cannot send in the letter he or she agreed to?

You may check the status of your references and language evaluations and send reminder requests through the Track References section of the application portal. If one of your designated referees and/or language evaluators cannot submit a letter on your behalf, you may send a request to someone else using the References section of the application portal. Please note that the first two reference letters to be submitted will be accepted. Any additional references will be discarded. The same holds true for language evaluations.

My referee/evaluator cannot (or refuses to) use an online system to submit a reference/evaluation. What should I do?

Please follow the instructions in the References section of the application portal. The DSD Program needs this information. Your referee/evaluator will receive an e-mail from us with information on how to contact us if he or she cannot use the online system. We will work with your referee/evaluator to ensure that the necessary materials are submitted in a timely manner. (Please note that this will only be used as a method of last resort.)

FELLOWSHIP AWARDS

When will award announcements be made?

All applicants will be contacted about their status via e-mail or post by the end of May 2015.

What are the selection procedures?

Fellows are selected by the members of the DSD Selection Committee, who use established peer review procedures. The committee includes distinguished members of the academic, policy, and research communities of Latin America, the Caribbean, the United States, and Europe.

How many awards are offered in a given year?

Approximately five awards will be made in 2015.

What happens if my project is selected for funding?

You will be contacted via e-mail and post with award acceptance instructions and budget proposal paperwork.

When can I begin my DSD research if I am selected for funding?

DSD-funded research may begin as early as July 1, 2015 (research conducted prior to July 2015 will not be supported by the program). However, please note that fellows will be required to attend a workshop in either July or August 2015.

What is the DSD award amount?

Fellowship award amounts will vary depending on the research plan and length of research. The average award in 2015 will vary between approximately $6,000 and $12,000.

What does the DSD award cover? Conversely, what doesn’t the DSD award cover?

The DSD award will cover fellows’ travel, research, and living expenses for up to six months of research, including the write up period. Some items that DSD funding will not cover are tuition costs, seminars, meetings, conference attendance, overhead, and other institutional costs. Please note that you should not submit a budget with your proposal. Successful applicants will be asked to submit budget details after selection notification.

Does the award include supplemental support for family members?

No.

I am applying for multiple grants. Should I be awarded DSD funding, can I also accept funding from other sources?

Yes, but fellows cannot accept funding from DSD and another organization for the same expenses at the same time. The DSD Program will work with fellows to construct a budget that is acceptable to DSD Program and to other fellowship programs.

Are there any reporting requirements for the fellowship?

Yes. Fellows are required to submit two reports on practical issues related to their research, including logistics, accessibility, and financial reporting. In addition, fellows are required to produce a policy-relevant deliverable up to one month after completion of the fellowship tenure. The DSD Program will work with fellows to choose the most appropriate research deliverable, considering their fields, from the following list: research paper, policy brief or white paper, in-depth news article or investigation, proposal for legal reform, or multimedia production.

Do DSD awards go directly to the fellows or are they channeled through a university or institution?

All awards are paid directly to the DSD fellows.

Does the DSD Program offer support for visas and IRB clearances?

No. Fellows are responsible for their own travel arrangements and research clearances. We will provide a letter confirming your award for visa applications if requested.

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