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The Student International Research Fund (SIRF)

A small grant program for research projects abroad

Addressing the Disconnect

A disconnect sometimes exists between the off-campus and the on-campus academic experience.  Students returning from off-campus study may encounter difficulties assimilating their abroad experience into their academic studies back in Carlisle.  The Student International Research Fund (SIRF) addresses this disconnect by encouraging students to link their off-campus learning with academic work on the home campus, thereby giving students the opportunity to think more broadly about how their entire education at Dickinson is an education in global learning.


Program Strategy

SIRF provides small grants to motivated students abroad to undertake projects in their host countries that build upon their academic interests or enhance their existing program of study.  The fund encourages students to dig deeper into the culture they are exploring by focusing special studies on topics that are of particular interest to them, and provides students with structured outlets in which to share their learning.  Projects must have a connection back to the home campus, either as part of a senior capstone project or a thesis; presentation at the annual global education research symposium is required.


Mode of Exploration

SIRF requirements are flexible in order to encourage students to think creatively in finding innovative ways to explore their host culture.  Research projects should be under the direction of a faculty member and part of a course.


Project Guidelines

All SIRF projects should:

  • deepen and enrich student learning on an off-campus program by helping the student explore a topic of special interest
  • enrich and edify the wider on-campus community and further Dickinson College’s emphasis on internationalization
  • students are required to present their research results at the annual global education research symposium.


A SIRF small grant is…

  • a “doorway” to deeper interaction with a host culture
  • a way to interact with more people in the host country
  • a prestigious award
  • an opportunity to conduct original research abroad
  • an excellent way to practice writing grants and develop other valuable skills
  • a way to enrich off-campus learning
  • a means of more fully integrating a student’s off-campus learning into their on-campus program of study.


Proposals are reviewed on a rolling basis.  Awards vary from $100 - $750, depending on the proposed project.  Applications for SIRF grants should include:

  • a letter describing the purpose of and specific plan for conducting the research, and how the international experience is a critical part of the research project;
  • a detailed budget indicating what the funds will be used for;
  • applications should be submitted to the on-site resident director or to the Office of Global Education at

Student International Research Fund Application

Application Procedure

Support from the SIRF will be by competitive application from individual students or small groups and will be accepted on a rolling basis.  We anticipate funding several projects per year at varying levels, depending on the nature of the projects and the number of worthy applications.  The selection committee will be comprised of faculty.  Applicants may submit their proposals to the Office of Global Education, Stern Global Education Center.


Each application to the SIRF must include the following:

  • A list of all students participating in the project, designating one student as the primary contact person.  The following information must be provided for each participant:
    • year and major
    • campus/local address and phone number
    • e-mail address
    • off-campus program(s) participating/ed in.
  • A 1-2 page project description, outlining the rationale for the project, how it fits into or complements your formal course of study or a demonstrated extracurricular interest, and how it fulfills the project criteria listed above.
  • A proposed budget (include total funding being requested as well as a breakdown of how the funds will be allocated).
  • A timetable for implementation and design for how the project will be evaluated upon completion.

Please submit completed applications to:

Brian Brubaker, Associate Director for Study Abroad

Office of Global Education

Dickinson College

P.O. Box 1773

Carlisle, PA  17013


fax: +1.717.245.1688


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