Tinker Foundation Field Research Grant

This page is for archival purposes only. The grant has concluded.



About the Program

The Research Center for the Americas (RCA) in partnership with the Latin American and Latino Studies Department of UC Santa Cruz is pleased to announce the availability of research grants for travel to Latin AmericaThese grants are made possible by the Tinker Foundation with additional support from the UC Santa Cruz Foundation's Board Opportunity Fund, Graduate Division, and the Office of Research. These awards are open to students with good academic standing in all graduate degree programs. These grants are for travel and field-related expenses for brief periods (a minimum of two weeks) of pre-dissertation field research in Latin America, defined here as the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries of the region, excluding Puerto Rico and and Belize per regulation by the Tinker Foundation. This grant does not award travel to Spain and Portugal.

The award covers field research travel for graduate students in good academic standing from all departments of the university who are planning pre-dissertation fieldwork (e.g. Master's or preliminary fieldwork for dissertation). An interdisciplinary faculty committee chaired and organized by the RCA will evaluate applications.

The RCA will endeavor to issue the largest possible number of awards to qualified applicants, up to $2500 per award. Travel awards can either be issued in advance (funds prior to travel) or be reimbursed for authorized expenses. 


  • Be a UC Santa Cruz graduate student in good standing that has not advanced to candidacy (pre-ABD) from any department at the university.
  • Be an enrolled student in both Spring and Fall quarters, 2021.
  • Have language proficiency appropriate to the country or region in which the research is to be conducted.
  • Propose to spend at least two weeks in the field and demonstrate clearly how the grant will contribute to your graduate studies.
  • Completion of human subjects review (IRB) if your proposal involves interaction with people in the field.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q1 Field Research/COVID-19 | Q2 Fall quarter research | Q3 Belize, Haiti, Puerto Rico | Q4 CubaQ5 State Department Travel Bans |  Q6 Chicanx/Latinx Studies | Q7 Traveling via car | Q8 Language Study | Q9 Internship | Q10 Alternative Dates | Q11 Civil Conflict |Q12 Non-allowable expenses | Q13 Travel Advances | Q14 International Per Diem Rates

Q1: How are we supposed to travel during COVID-19?

A: In Spring 2020, the Tinker Foundation extended the travel window as as result of COVID-19's disruptions to research. The hope is that you'd be able to travel in summer 2021, but the RCA and the Tinker Foundation does not want you to travel unless it is safe to do so. At UC Santa Cruz, travel has been suspended and is only possible with prior approval from divisional deans. If it is safe to travel in summer 2021 and UC Santa Cruz still has NOT lifted travel restrictions, then you must secure permission in advance from your Dean in order to  travel. Your advisor can assist you with securing approval.

Q2: The Tinker application states that travel must be completed by October, but I have additional funding to allow me to stay on into the Fall quarter. Am I still eligible?

A: In this circumstance, you are eligible to stay through Fall and the expenses covered by the Tinker award should occur prior to October 2020.  If you’d like your airfare to be covered (and your planned return is after October 2020), then you must confirm your travel arrangements by August 2020.  If you chose to complete a travel advance form, you must do so with ample time. Just like all Tinker recipients, your written report is still due to the Research Center for the Americas on the required date. This special arrangement only applies to awardees who have secured Fall funding.

Q3: Will Tinker fund research in Belize, Haiti or Puerto Rico?

A: No, these countries are not among the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries that Tinker includes within its program. These are Tinker requirements, not UC Santa Cruz restrictions.

Q4: Can I travel to Cuba? Are there special requirements? 

A: Yes, you can apply to travel to Cuba as long as there is no State Department ban. Traveling to Cuba for research will require additional paperwork for authorized travel. We can connect you with campus resources who can help with this process.

Q5: Can I travel to a country with a State Department travel ban? 

A: No. UC Santa Cruz follows State Department travel bans and research is not allowed in these countries. You can travel to countries with travel warning. We can connect you with campus resources for countries with travel warnings. 

Q6: I’m studying the Latina/o/x experience in the United States. Will Tinker cover this?

A: No, Tinker will only support expenses for research outside the U.S. in Latin American and Caribbean countries.

Q7: I don’t need to ask for airfare, but rather want to travel by car. Is this covered by Tinker?

A: In particular circumstances, coverage of car travel may be more appropriate than air travel. Yes, we can cover such arrangements as long as the cost of car travel is less expensive than air travel and you spend at least 14 research days (2 weeks) in the country of study (days traveling in car do not count as research days). One common example is research on the Mexico side of the Mexico-U.S. border. Another might be if you are already living in the country where you want to conduct research, but need additional funding for travel to your research sites by car.

Q8: Can I combine language study with my fieldwork using a Tinker grant?

A: Tinker funds can only cover fieldwork related to your research, and cannot be used to cover education-related expenses, either for language study or any other kind of class. However, if you have other funding to cover your language study, Tinker funds can be used to pay for the time you spend beyond the language program, as long as you meet the minimum requirement of at least 2 weeks of fieldwork.

Q9: I want to do an internship in a Latin American or Caribbean country. Can I combine this with a Tinker research project?

A: The answer is similar to the one above. The internship will have to be conducted on your own time, but you can apply for Tinker funds to pay for travel to the country as long as you plan to stay for at least 2 additional weeks to conduct research on an approved project.

Q10: I need to do my research when it is summer in the Southern Hemisphere (for example, scientific data can only be collected during their summer months). Is that allowed?

A: Yes, Tinker will make exceptions to the requirements in particular cases. You must initiate the request with the Research Center for the Americas and we will forward it to the Tinker Program for a response.

Q11: The country where I’m doing my research is in a civil conflict or has experienced a coup d’etat. Can I defer my research to a later time?

A: Yes, we can accommodate specific requests owing to political unrest in a given country. However, deferrals must be within the same 12-month timeframe as when the grant was originally awarded.

Q12: What other costs are not covered by Tinker?

A: Grants should be used primarily for travel expenses. A reminder that funds may not be used to cover UC salaries, publication or translation costs, hiring research assistants, manuscript preparation, indexing, or major equipment purchases such as computers, printers, etc. Funds also cannot cover language classes or conference travel.

Q13: How are the funds awarded? Will I have to wait to be reimbursed?

A: The RCA wants to ensure you have travel funds in advance (rather than be reimbursed) if that’s your preference; therefore, it is imperative that you follow UC Santa Cruz financial compliance protocols. Failing to follow these protocols means you will not have your funds in advance and you will have to be reimbursed post-travel. For more details, see page 3 in the Call for Applictions

Q14: How should I calculate per diem rates? 

A: UC Santa Cruz follows the US State Department per diem rates for international travel. Visit the State Department webpage for more information on your county's rates and to calculate budget line items for your meals and lodging. 


Thanks to the Center for Iberian and Latin American Studies of UC San Diego and the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Arizona for their assistance in preparing the Call for Applications.

See Also