Tinker Foundation: Field Research Collaborative Grants

Tinker Foundation

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Next anticipated deadline: Jan 13, 2021 8:59pm PST (Pre proposal)

Later anticipated deadlines: Jan 22, 2021 8:59pm PST (Full proposal)

Grant amount: US $10,000 - US $20,000

Fields of work: All fields of work

Applicant type: College / University

Funding uses: Research

Location of project: Caribbean, Central America, South America

Location of residency: United States

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About this funder:



NOTE: Applicants must register by the 'pre-proposal deadline'.

Field Research Grants

The Field Research Grant (FRG) program, which began in 1979, provides support to graduate students in U.S. universities to conduct research in Latin America. When created, the stated program objectives were to 1) promote the study of Latin America by U.S. graduate students by directly supporting research, and 2) foster contact and relationship-building between U.S. and Latin American individuals and institutions.

Tinker FRGs are awarded to universities and typically administered by Centers for Latin American Studies, which select student recipients through a competitive, campus-based application process. FRG funding is available to graduate students from all academic disciplines. Pre-dissertation doctoral students and those seeking master’s or professional degrees are eligible to apply. The program offers students an opportunity to acquire a deeper knowledge of language and culture; to familiarize themselves with information sources relevant to their studies; to conduct pilot studies and preliminary investigations that will inform their dissertation proposals or theses; and to develop contacts with scholars and institutions in their fields of study.

To date, Tinker has granted more than $6.5 million, matched by over $4 million in university funds, to more than 40 U.S. universities, supporting field work in Latin America for nearly 9,000 individuals. Today, approximately a third of FRG recipients are citizens of Latin American countries enrolled in U.S. graduate programs.

2019 marks the fortieth anniversary of the FRG program. Tinker used this meaningful milestone as an opportunity to assess the continued relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, and impact its field research grantmaking. The evaluation, conducted independently by the Institute of International Education, concluded that the program is “a highly useful, cost-effective, and impactful opportunity for graduate students.” The evaluation also provided recommendations, drawn from student and Center feedback, on potential strategic and administrative improvements. Tinker considered these recommendations as well as its own grantmaking experience in the decision to create the Tinker Field Research Collaborative.

Call for Applications for Tinker Field Research Collaborative

The Tinker Foundation invites U.S. universities with Centers for Latin American Studies (or the equivalent) to submit applications for the Tinker Field Research Collaborative. With forty years of experience in funding field research in Latin America, Tinker is launching the Collaborative to connect Centers committed to working together to enhance the impact of the student field research experience. Successful applicants to the Collaborative will receive field research grant funding for their Centers for a five-year period and have access to opportunities for network-building and knowledge exchange. The Collaborative replaces Tinker’s prior annual selection process for field research grants, i.e., the Tinker Field Research Grants program.

With the Collaborative, Tinker aims to:

  • Establish a learning community of Centers committed to enhancing the impact of the student field research experience on their campuses. Illustrative areas for joint experimentation, tool-building, and knowledge exchange include: 
    • Pre-departure support
    • Resources to encourage responsible practices in field research
    • Approaches for sharing research externally and with field informants
    • Networking of current and former FRG recipients to encourage collaboration and information sharing before and after field visits 
    • Improved approaches for monitoring, evaluation, and program improvement
  • Provide stable, long-term support for field research for the Collaborative members and increase predictability of funding for Centers as well as current and prospective students

Match Requirement

Collaborative members must provide at least a 1:1 match with funds from the university or other non-Tinker sources. Overhead, faculty time, or other in-kind funds are not eligible to meet the matching fund requirement. All funds, except for up to 10% of funds from Tinker, must be allocated to student recipients for field research.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Participation in the Collaborative is open to universities that meet the following criteria:
    • An accredited U.S. university with a Center for Latin American Studies, or other Center, that can serve as the administrative home for the program, including management of the campus-based application process; disbursement and tracking of funds; reporting; and participation in Collaborative activities 
    • Fulfill the five-year 1:1 matching requirement; all university funds must be distributed to students. Centers do not need to have matching funds secured in order to apply but do need to have commitment secured by February 28, 2020. Please reach out to Tinker staff with any questions about matching funds 
    • A successful track record as a Tinker FRG recipient or demonstrated success with grant administration for a non-Tinker program


  • We will prioritize Centers that demonstrate strong student demand and need for field research funding, and that have considered ways to make the program accessible and inclusive.
  • The strongest applications will demonstrate:
    • Strong Center leadership with the capacity and a commitment to enhance current field research programming and ensure effective administration of the program 
    • Center commitment to relevant language training and competence, as well as understanding of Latin America and its cultural diversity 
    • Overall university investment in the study of Latin America across disciplines, as demonstrated through courses offered, faculty profiles, and programming 
    • Student need for funding as well as demand (considering relative availability of other sources of funding for field research) 
    • Commitment and thoughtful proposed approaches to equity and inclusion when distributing field research funds, including students from various socioeconomic and academic backgrounds