Frequently Asked Questions - DSD
Am I eligible to apply for the DSD fellowship if I am not a citizen or permanent resident of the United States?
Yes. You do not have to be a US citizen or permanent resident to apply.
Am I eligible to apply if I am not a citizen or permanent resident of a country in Latin America or the Caribbean?
Yes. You do not have to be a citizen or permanent resident of a country of Latin America or the Caribbean to apply.
Is there an age limit?
If I am a PhD candidate who has not yet obtained ABD status at the time of application, can I still apply to the dissertation fellowship?
Yes. However, applicants for the 2013 dissertation fellowship competition must have All But Dissertation (ABD) status or the equivalent status at your institution that indicates completion of coursework, qualifying exams and an approved dissertation prospectus by July 1, 2013.
Am I eligible for the postdoctoral fellowship if I have already received my PhD?
Yes. Postdoctoral applicants who apply for the research fellowship must have completed the PhD within 7 years of January 20, 2013.
Am I eligible for the postdoctoral fellowship if I am scheduled to defend my PhD in 2013?
No. Researchers who are applying for the postdoctoral fellowship must have completed the PhD by the application deadline of January 20, 2013.
Am I eligible for DSD funding if I am a student in a discipline outside the social sciences but study issues of organized crime or drug trafficking?
Yes. The DSD program accepts proposals from all disciplines within the social sciences and humanities provided the topical requirements of the fellowship are met. If you have any questions about whether your field or topic is eligible for DSD funding, please contact us at email@example.com.
Does the DSD fellowship have any regional or topical restrictions?
Yes. DSD funded research must address the theme of drugs and at least one of the other two themes of security and democracy in Latin America or the Caribbean. Proposals that identify regions outside of Latin America and the Caribbean as a case for comparative inquiry are eligible; however, proposals which focus predominantly or exclusively on regions outside of Latin America and the Caribbean are not. Applicants based outside of Latin America or the Caribbean must conduct at least three months of the funded research in the region. The program encourages interdisciplinary projects and those that address transnational and transregional issues.
How will I know if my topic is within the scope of the Program?
DSD funded research must address the theme of drugs and at least one of the other two themes of security and democracy in Latin America or the Caribbean. These topics may include, but should not be limited to, the following issues and areas of study: political economy, anti-democratic strategies used by communities or states, legal frameworks and analyses, the impact on vulnerable groups, and the role of elites. The program encourages interdisciplinary and comparative projects and those that address transnational and trans-regional issues. We encourage research in or about countries or themes that have been underrepresented in the program’s previously funded projects. Please click here for a list of funded projects from 2011 and 2012.
Will DSD fund applications that propose research outside of Latin America and the Caribbean?
Proposals that identify regions outside of Latin America and the Caribbean as a case for comparative inquiry are eligible; however, proposals which focus predominantly or exclusively on regions outside of Latin America and the Caribbean are not. Applicants based outside of Latin America or the Caribbean must conduct at least three months of the funded research in the region.
Do I need to be enrolled as a full-time student in order to be eligible for DSD funding?
Dissertation fellowship applicants are expected to be affiliated with a university and progressing toward a PhD and in good standing. They do not need to be paying semester fees.
Do applicants to the postdoc fellowship need to have a teaching or research position at a university or institute to be eligible?
I am already conducting research on my proposed topic. Can I use DSD funding to extend my research and/or for write up?
Yes. Applicants who are already conducting research on their proposed topic should discuss the progress already made and how the DSD would allow further progress.
Can I take time off from the fellowship to take classes or teach?
Dissertation fellows must complete the fellowship within a continuous block of time and may not take classes or teach during the fellowship. The program will not grant leave time during the fellowship period.
Postdoctoral fellows need not schedule their fellowship in a continuous block of time. However, fellows must be focused full time on their research project when actively on the fellowship and may not take classes or teach during that time.
What is the minimum length of research?
Fellowships provide support for a minimum of three months and up to twelve months of research. No awards will be made for proposals requiring less than three months of research. The fellowship must begin no sooner than July 1, 2013 and be completed by July 31, 2014.
Do I need to be a specialist in Latin America or the Caribbean to apply for this fellowship?
Can I reapply for the fellowship if I have applied before but was unsuccessful?
Can I reapply for the fellowship if I was awarded DSD funding in a previous year?
Am I eligible to apply if I have received funding from another SSRC fellowship (for example, IDRF or DPDF)?
Are group projects eligible for the fellowship?
The DSD program funds individual research, although that research may be part of a collaborative project. However, please keep in mind that the fellowship will only fund the research of the individual fellow. If your research is part of a collaborative project, please clarify the structure of the collaboration in your proposal.
If I receive DSD funding, do I have to attend both the pre-field and post-field workshops? I have a longstanding obligation that coincides with the dates of one of the workshops.
Yes. If you are awarded funding, you must attend both workshops in their entirety. Workshops are typically held at the end of July or the beginning of August. If you know that you will be unable to be present at one or another, you should not apply to the DSD program.
Do I have to pay my own travel expenses to attend the workshops?
No. If awarded a fellowship, your expenses (airfare, hotel, meals, ground transportation) will be paid for by the program. DSD staff will make travel arrangements.
What will I have to prepare to participate in the workshops?
Fellows will have to prepare a short project memo and present their research during the workshop for feedback.
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 and CV, 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 email?
No. Applications sent by fax or email 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 2013 DSD application?
Applications must be complete and submitted online before 9:00pm (EST) on January 20, 2013. 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 & Language Evaluations” sections of the online application to contact referees and language evaluators. Once you have entered your evaluators’ contact information, they will receive emails 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. You may continue to check the status of your references and language evaluations and you can send reminder requests through the "Track References" section of the application portal, even after your application has been submitted.
How many references do I need and whom should I ask to write references for me? Two. For dissertation fellowship applicants, one reference letter must come from your principal faculty advisor, and the other from someone who is familiar with your work and academic interests. For postdoctoral fellowship applicants, one reference letter must come from your supervisor or departmental chair and the other from someone who is familiar with your work and research interests. For postdocs who do not currently hold a position, letters may be submitted by your faculty advisor. 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.
Please note that the online application portal allows applicants to invite only one principal faculty advisor, supervisor or chair. Once you have invited this principal reference writer you may not invite another. You may, however, invite up to two people as a second reference. Whichever second reference letter is submitted first will be accepted; any additional letters from second references will be discarded.
Can my references be from someone outside of academia?
Yes. However, your references should be familiar with your research.
Do I need to submit a language evaluation?
If proficiency in a non-native 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, e.g. 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 your language competence needed to carry out your research. Ideally, your evaluator will be a language instructor at your university; however, exceptions can be made for less commonly taught languages. 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 may be submitted in English, Spanish, or Portuguese as most comfortable for the reference writer.
If I have completed a degree in a non-native language, do I still need to submit a language evaluation for that language?
Non-native speakers of Spanish who have completed a degree from a Spanish-speaking institution need not submit a Spanish language evaluation. The same applies to non-native speakers of Portuguese who have completed a degree from a Portuguese-speaking institution and non-native 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 in total. Research proposals must be double-spaced and not exceed ten pages in length (including any appendices or end notes). 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.
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.
The proposal and bibliography must be in Times New Roman 11-point font type with at least one inch margins on all sides. Proposals must be formatted with double-spacing. Footnotes and endnotes may be single-spaced but must be included within the ten pages. Proposals not adhering to these guidelines will not be considered.
Can I submit photographs or charts with my application?
Yes, but any non-textual 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 email 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, even after your application has been submitted.
Technical Support - Proposal, Bibliography, and CV Document
Do I need to convert my proposal, bibliography, and CV document into a .PDF file myself? I don’t know how to perform the conversion.
Yes. You must convert your proposal, bibliography,and CV document into a .PDF file. You may do so by using Adobe Acrobat Professional, or an online program such as Adobe Online, CutePDF, or Zoho Writer. If you are unable to perform the conversion, please contact your university IT services for assistance.
My 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 twelve pages in total as a .PDF file.
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 proposal, bibliography, and CV onto the application form, but when I print out the application, only my CV appears. Did my proposal not get uploaded?
Your proposal, bibliography and CV should be collated as one continuous .PDF file. If you try to upload two separate documents, each will replace the one previously uploaded. Please combine the two documents into one document and then upload again.
I use Mac OS X™ and I 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 any of the following options:
- Use Apple™’s browser, Safari™
- Upload your file using another 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 s/he 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. The online application portal allows applicants to invite only one advisor or department chair. Once you have invited this person, you may not invite another.
If one of your designated second 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 second reference that is submitted first will be accepted. Any additional second references will be discarded.
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 email from us with information on how to contact us if s/he 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.)
When will award announcements be made?
All applicants will be contacted about their status via email or post by May 2013.
What are the selection procedures?
Fellows are selected by the members of the DSD Program 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 15-20 awards are made in a given year.
What happens if my project is selected for funding?
You will be asked to submit an estimated budget outlining the funds you will need to complete your project. This will be taken under consideration, along with any other funds you may have received, when your final award amount is determined.
When can I begin my DSD research if I am selected for funding?
DSD-funded research may begin as early as July 1, 2013 (research conducted prior to July 2013 will not be supported by DSD). However, please note that fellows will be required to attend a pre-field workshop at the end of July or beginning of August 2013.
What is the DSD award amount?
Fellowship award amounts will vary depending on the research plan and length of research. Support will be provided for travel and living expenses as well as associated research costs. In 2011 and 2012, the average award was $21,000.
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 twelve months of research. DSD funding will not cover tuition costs, seminars, meetings, conference attendance, salary replacement, overhead or 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?
Some additional support may be provided on a case-by-case basis, and only if family members are your financial dependents.
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 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 submit four analytical reports that track the academic evolution of the project throughout the research period. These reports will be guided by assigned themes and questions that will be provided.
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 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.