The latest cohort of International Dissertation Research Fellows, a distinguished group of 70 junior scholars, will conduct 9–12 months of doctoral research across the globe.

Launched in 1997, the International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF) has been a core component of the Social Science Research Council for more than 20 years, and traces its roots at the organization to the 1950s.

To date, the IDRF program has funded more than 1,400 scholars to conduct research across the world. These scholars embody the spirit of intellectual discovery that has been synonymous with the program since its inception.

The 2019 cohort is indicative of the wide range of research projects, academic disciplines, and regional diversity that characterize the SSRC.

  • The fellows’ research projects encompass the breadth of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences: anthropology, history, political science, art history and architecture, geography, religion, area and cultural studies, ethnomusicology, literature, and sociology.
  • The fellows represent 33 US universities, from Boston University to the University of California, San Diego, and from the University of Minnesota to the University of Texas at Austin.
  • The 2019 fellows will conduct their research in seven regions: Western Europe, East Asia, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, as well as comparative and multi-sited research across the globe.

The support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation makes this important work possible, as it has since the program’s beginnings.

“The stellar 2019 IDRF cohort is working at the vanguard of international, comparative, and cross-regional studies,” said SSRC president Alondra Nelson. “Their respective projects embody the SSRC’s mission, most notably support for rigorous and innovative scholarship on timely issues and enduring concerns.”

SSRC initiatives that preceded the IDRF program helped to pioneer area and regional studies in the US academy. The IDRF was created in part to respond to the rise of globalization and the desire to support scholars conducting international research.

The SSRC administers a number of fellowship programs, including initiatives that foster in-depth study of particular regions as well as those supporting Africa-based scholars, research in conflict zones, and the pipeline to the professoriate. Most recently, the SSRC’s Social Data Initiative announced its initial cohort of Social Media and Democracy Research Grants recipients. This international group will have the first opportunity for systematic scholarly access to privacy-protected Facebook data to study the platform’s impact on democracy worldwide.