Uyuni Salt Flats - July 20, 2017: Flags landmark at the Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia


The Drugs, Security and Democracy (DSD) Program fellowship is designed to support short-term research that contributes to the literature on drugs in Latin America and the Caribbean on topics and countries that are central to drug policy discussions in the region and beyond.

The competition is open to applicants conducting research in Latin America or the Caribbean who are fully embedded in and committed to the region, and whose research focus has a clear and central connection to the field of drugs and to formulating sound drug policy. Successful applicants will be those whose work and interests best match, and who demonstrate a long-term commitment to, these program goals.

In addition to conducting individual research, DSD fellows should contribute to the development of a global interdisciplinary network of researchers engaged with drug policy and communicate their findings to relevant audiences over the course of their careers.

Fellowship Research Agenda

DSD-funded research must address the primary theme of drugs in Latin America or the Caribbean. Proposals must demonstrate the potential for the research to contribute to a sound and credible knowledge base for informed advocacy and decision-making for drug policy. For the current fellowship competition, applications must address one of the following topics:

  • Drug policy / legal reform, including different depenalization, decriminalization, legalization, and regulation approaches as well as country-specific obstacles to reform
  • Marijuana, including legalization for medical use
  • Impact of drug laws on prison systems, including costs associated with pretrial detention for drugs
  • The dynamics and relationships between legal pharmaceutical drug markets and illicit drug production, including barriers to access and incentives/disincentives for producers
  • Drug policy and the peace process in Colombia
  • Analysis of institutional resource distribution between criminal and public health approaches to drug use
  • Drug economy and its dynamics

Preference will be given to candidates researching the aforementioned topics in Brazil, Caribbean countries, Central American countries, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay.

At the end of their fellowship tenure, fellows present to the program the results of their DSD-funded research along with a tentative plan for its dissemination. The program will work with fellows to choose an 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
  • Multimedia production

In order to solidify and increase the knowledge of the region’s main actors in the drug field, DSD fellows are required, in the course of their research, to identify key stakeholders and any research gaps in the drug field in their research countries, as applicable.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

Applications are welcome from mid-career and senior researchers/scholars conducting research in Latin America and the Caribbean that addresses issues with a clear and central connection to the field of drugs and to formulating sound drug policy. Eligible applicants must be fully embedded in and committed to the Latin American and Caribbean region; hold a terminal degree in their field of study or clearly demonstrate equivalent research experience related to the field of drugs, with at least a bachelor’s degree in any discipline; focus on one of the topics indicated in the section above; and if proposing to conduct research in a nonnative language, provide evidence of sufficient language proficiency to carry out the project. Preference in the selection process will be given to candidates who are citizens of a Latin American or Caribbean country and are living and working in the region; and whose research projects focus on one of the countries listed in the section above.

Fellowship Terms

The DSD Program provides support for a minimum of three and a maximum of six months of research in Latin America and the Caribbean, including write-up of the research deliverable. Candidates must spend at least half of their fellowship tenure researching their relevant topic, with the remaining time devoted to writing their research results in one of the deliverable formats to be agreed upon by the program and the candidate.

Fellowship amounts vary depending on the research plan. The fellowship is intended to support an individual researcher, regardless of whether that individual is working alone or in collaboration with others. DSD fellowships do not offer support for dependents.

The fellowship includes mandatory participation in one interdisciplinary workshop. Travel and accommodations will be provided by the program. Fellows are required to be active participants in the DSD network and are expected to produce a policy-relevant deliverable in addition to fellowship reports.

DSD Program is funded by the Open Society Foundations. The program is a partnership between OSF, the SSRC, Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia, and Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas in Mexico