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Global PhD Research Awards

Application Timeframe: Spring
Men working at sunset on Mekong in Prey Veng, Cambodia.


Conduct your international field research with a $10,000 award to support fieldwork expenses.

The Einaudi Center’s Amit Bhatia ’01 Global PhD Research Awards fund international fieldwork to help Cornell students complete their dissertations. Through a generous gift from Amit Bhatia, this funding opportunity annually supports at least six PhD students who have passed the A exam. Recipients hold the title of Amit Bhatia ’01 Global PhD Research Scholars. Meet the scholars.

All disciplines and research topics are welcome. Please indicate in your application if your project aligns with one of the Einaudi Center's global research priorities or one of our regional and thematic programs.


Cornell graduate students who have passed the A exam and been admitted to candidacy are eligible to apply. International fieldwork must be a critical component of your dissertation research. You must commit to travel abroad to conduct fieldwork for 9–12 months.

Please note that this award is meant to be supplementary to your primary funding source. This award does not provide tuition credit and requires students to be in absentia. A report is required upon completion.


$10,000, to be used before the end of the sixth PhD year. The award can cover the following expenses:

  • International travel (economy airfare, visa fees)
  • Domestic travel within the fieldwork country
  • Accommodation and living expenses
  • Research expenses (permits, translation costs, internet, archive access, survey costs, lab fees, etc.)

We encourage you to apply for other Cornell and external funding to complement this award, but please note that you are not eligible to apply for Einaudi’s travel grants. If you have already received a travel grant and wish to apply for a Global PhD Research Award, you may return your travel grant if you receive this award.

Please note that you may only bill for a research expense once. If an expense is already covered by this award or a Graduate School research travel grant, you may not use other Cornell or external grants to pay the same expense.

International Travel Approval

All international travel must be registered with the Cornell International Travel Registry. In line with Cornell’s international travel policy, selected students who plan to travel to a country flagged by the US Department of State as a "Level 4: Do not travel," or by the CDC as Level 4 "Special Circumstances," must get their travel plans reviewed and approved via a petition process by the International Travel Advisory & Response Team (ITART). ITART petitions are triggered by rules built into the Travel Registry, so if selected students’ travel requires a petition, the Travel Registry will prompt them for additional information about, and a rationale for, their elevated risk travel plans.

Please be aware that regardless of your destination, approval may be withdrawn if there is a change in the risk level of your destination or if we find that you have violated any contingencies of approval given. In such instances, you will be required to refund the award. 

To receive the award, selected students must follow the university’s guidelines to petition for permission to travel internationally, to be submitted no earlier than six weeks and at least two weeks before the scheduled travel. In addition, students must participate in a short, online international travel predeparture orientation course designed by the university’s International Health & Safety team in order to receive travel approval.


Applications, recommendation letters, and transcripts are due Friday, March 8, 2024 (11:59 p.m. ET).

How to Apply

Please order your official electronic transcript through the Office of the Registrar (see below); do not send your transcript directly. In the application, you will be asked to provide the following:

  1. Official electronic transcript (send to
  2. Abstract of your dissertation project (maximum 150 words)
  3. Introduction to your dissertation project (maximum 400 words)
  4. Statement explaining the contribution of your research to existing literature and its relevance to advancing the human condition, planetary sustainability, or other impacts (maximum 400 words)
  5. Statement about publications that have most significantly informed your research (maximum 100 words)
  6. Statement explaining your plans for international field research (maximum 600 words)
  7. International field research budget information
  8. NetID email address of your recommender (your graduate thesis advisor)


If selected, when will I be required to start my fieldwork?

Fieldwork must commence within the academic year, which begins July 1. For the foreseeable future, the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to impact the safety and feasibility of international Cornell travel. In the event that you are not able to travel due to pandemic-related travel restrictions or other emergencies, extensions may be possible.

If I commence my fieldwork before the announcement of the award, will I still be eligible to receive the award if selected? Would it still be counted towards the 9-12 months of fieldwork?

Fieldwork completed following the award will be considered toward the 9-12 months of required fieldwork, but not fieldwork conducted earlier.

I have not yet taken the A exam. Can I still apply?

Yes, but you must complete the A exam before the awarding decision is made (typically 4-6 weeks after the application deadline).

I have questions about in absentia status.

Please refer to the Graduate School’s policies or contact the Graduate School.

Can I conduct the 9-12 months of required fieldwork in two parts? If the total duration of the fieldwork adds up to 9-12 months, does it have to be continuous?

No. Fieldwork needs to be continuous since the student must be in absentia during the entire duration of fieldwork.

Can my previous fieldwork count towards the 9-12 months of fieldwork?

Any fieldwork conducted prior to the semester of application will not count towards the 9-12 months. We will consider fieldwork conducted during the semester of application.

I am currently in my fifth year and about to start the sixth year of my PhD. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes, but if selected, the award must be utilized before the end of the sixth year.

I have completed most of my fieldwork. I need to conduct fieldwork for a duration less than 9-12 months (six months for instance). Can I apply?


Can you please confirm that you have received my application? Will I be notified if I am not selected?

Yes, all applicants will receive a confirmation message and will be notified of the decision, typically within six weeks of the application deadline.

Is the recommendation letter from the thesis advisor due by the application deadline?


How will my recommender submit their recommendation letter?

When you submit your application, your recommender will receive an email message with a link that they can use to submit their recommendation letter. If you or your recommender has questions or encounters any issues, please contact

I have completed the fieldwork, but I have some outstanding fieldwork-related expenses that need to be funded (for instance, lab analysis, translation, etc.). Can I use this award to cover these research expenses?

No, the funds are specifically for international fieldwork and may not be used for other expenses incurred after your fieldwork has been completed.

If I receive this award, can I postpone my Sage Fellowship?

Please contact the Graduate School at if you have questions about your Sage Fellowship.

More Questions?

Please email our academic programming staff if you have additional questions about the program or your application.

Additional Information