Annual Call for Proposals 2018
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Resources - FAQs, proposal writing suggestions
UC MEXUS Small Grants
Support for UC Student and Postdoctoral Activities

$1,500 Maximum for Short-Term Projects • Monthly Competitions
Application in PDF format, blank or with form fields.
Applicants must print out the cover sheet forms to include with their proposal packet. A checklist of what needs to be included in the proposal packet is provided below

The University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States (UC MEXUS) offers a monthly competition for support of University of California graduate student and postdoctoral researcher activities in all disciplines as related to academic exchange, research training, and scholarly development in areas of interest to UC MEXUS. These areas include Mexico-related studies in all academic fields from the sciences to the arts, Latino Studies, and critical issues of common concern to the United States and Mexico. Proposals may be for small, short-term, non-dissertation projects of one week to six months that will advance the applicants’ research training or academic understanding of their fields. The funding is intended for student and postdoctoral support only; requests to supplement faculty or other researchers’ activities will not be considered, along with requests for additional support of previously funded projects.

Eligibility and Program Requirements

University of California graduate students enrolled in a masters or doctoral level program and in good academic standing are eligible to apply. Graduate students who have advanced to candidacy should include an explanation of how the proposed project is independent from their dissertation work (note the program restrictions above).University of California postdoctoral researchers may apply, provided they hold a UC postdoctoral position during the entire time period of the proposed activities. Undergraduate students are not eligible. Graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in Mexico may consider applying to the UC MEXUS-CONACYT programs for which they are eligible (these programs are listed on this website under Funding Opportunities). Mexican nationals currently enrolled in UC graduate programs, including UC MEXUS-CONACYT Doctoral Fellows, may apply to the small grants competition. However, please note that the selection process is based solely on the proposed project’s fit to UC MEXUS goals and, specifically, a thematic connection to Mexico, completely independent of the applicant’s nationality.

Only one proposal will be accepted from an applicant for each competition. Proposals for continuing projects previously funded by this program will not be considered. If awarded a small grant, students and postdoctoral researchers must complete the terms and conditions of the award before they may submit another proposal. Applicants may also apply to other UC MEXUS and UC MEXUS-CONACYT programs for which they are eligible in conjunction with this program.

The grant requires a UC faculty sponsor who accepts responsibility for the student’s or postdoctoral researcher’s proposed activities and the administration of the award in compliance with department and UC policies. The UC faculty sponsor will serve as the Principal Investigator for the award and must meet UC requirements for Principal Investigator status. A confidential letter of recommendation from the UC faculty sponsor is required with the application. The letter should indicate the applicant’s abilities to undertake the proposed activities, the value to his/her academic career, and the connection to Mexico and UC MEXUS goals. It needs to be sent separately to UC MEXUS by the proposal deadline or included in the proposal packet in a sealed envelope.

Applicants undertaking any research in Mexico must provide an additional copy of a letter of invitation from a Mexican researcher or faculty member at a Mexican institution of higher education and/or research. The letter should be written in Spanish, addressed to the applicant, and indicate how the applicant will be included in the host’s academic or research activities during the student’s stay in Mexico. Please provide copies only, as the originals are for applicants to use while traveling or obtaining visas.

Conditions of Award

Each award is expected to advance applicant’s research abilities or academic progress. All activities associated with the award must be overseen by a UC faculty sponsor, who also accepts responsibility for the administration of the support funds as the Principal Investigator.

The proposed activities are expected to be short-term and completed within a six month project period. Final narrative and financial reports are required three months following the end of the project period. Prior to funding of new proposals, applicants must complete previous awards in this program, and final financial and narrative reports must be filed and accepted by UC MEXUS as the Office of Record. UC MEXUS support of the project shall be acknowledged in proposals to extramural agencies and publications or conference materials that result, fully or partially, from the award. A copy of each publication must be provided to the program.

Applicants are expected to exercise sound environmental protection standards when conducting research in Mexico and be particularly attentive to the risk of introducing or spreading pathogens or invasive exotics in native ecosystems or agricultural systems. In addition, applicants are expected to follow research protocols that demonstrate sensitivity to cultural factors affecting human subjects and non-academic participants. Any selected project that uses human subjects, including pilot surveys or interviews, will be required to provide a copy of a UC campus IRB Human Subjects approval or exemption before the grant can be awarded. Applicants are expected to acquire all required permits for sampling or fieldwork in Mexico or the United States, as well as export and import permits as appropriate. Copies of human subject review approvals or necessary research permits that have been obtained already should be included in the proposal as an attachment.


Awards of up to $1,500 will be provided for a 6 month period. Allowable expenses include:

  • Domestic and international travel for research, training, short courses, workshops, collaborations, and meetings. Keep in mind that these funds are intended for student or postdoctoral research and training, so proposals to attend professional conferences will be given low priority and considered only if they are to present the results of previous UC MEXUS support.
  • Research supplies and services.
  • Fees for short courses and workshops at cooperating institutions other than the applicant’s home institution.

Items which will not be funded include:

  • Salaries or stipends. However, applicants also may apply to other UC MEXUS-CONACYT fellowship programs for which they are eligible and which do provide a monthly stipend.
  • Home institution tuition or associated academic/educational fees.
  • Equipment purchases for items over $1,000.
  • Indirect costs or institutional overhead assessments.
  • Publication costs.
  • Faculty research or activities, including conference and meeting organization.
  • Reimbursement for activities that occur before the project period begins.

All budgets are subject to strict administrative review. No project will be funded until all the appropriate items have been approved.

Submission of Proposals

An application form is included at the end of the pdf documents: blank or with form fields. Fill out the information requested on the form and follow the checklist for the required attachments. These attachments include a project plan, a detailed budget, curriculum vitae, and, for projects that will take place in Mexico, a copy of the letter of invitation from a Mexican faculty member or researcher. Request to attend meetings or workshops should include a letter from the organizer(s) indicating acceptance of the student’s participation. If applicable, documentation of additional matching funds should also be included. Graduate students who have advanced to candidacy should include an explanation of how the proposed project is independent from their dissertation work (note the program restriction for dissertation research in the introduction and under Eligibility above).

A signature of the student’s UC faculty sponsor is required and academic standing in a graduate program or postdoctoral position must be certified by the chair of the applicant’s department. Procedures established by the UC faculty sponsor’s department and campus for the submission of grant proposals must be followed.

Submit 2 complete application sets (original plus one copy) directly to:

UC MEXUS (Attn: Martha Ponce)
3324 Olmsted Hall
University of California
Riverside, CA 92521

A signature from the campus Research or Contracts and Grants Office serving the applicant and faculty sponsor is required. A list of the offices serving each campus is available on this website under Resources. Please note that campus offices may require that proposals be submitted for internal review well before the UC MEXUS deadline. In addition, provide a copy to the applicant’s and faculty sponsor’s department administrator.

Deadlines for Receipt of Proposals

2018 Deadlines: January 8, February 5, March 5, April 2, May 7, June 4, July 2, August 6, September 4, October 1, November 5, and December 3.

The program is open to receipt of proposals at the beginning of each month. To be considered, proposals must be received not later than 5:00 p.m. on the first Monday of every month (with the exception of the delayed January 8 deadline) for project periods beginning the following month. For instance, proposals must be submitted by February 5, 2018, for grant project periods beginning March 1, 2018. Projects may not incur costs that will occur during the month review period prior to the start of the project period. It is recommended that applicants submit their proposals at least two months prior to the project activities to allow some leeway for administrative considerations.

Submission is by hard copy only. Late or incomplete proposals or electronic submissions will not be accepted. Proposals postmarked by the deadline but received later will not be accepted.

Review Process and Criteria

Proposals will be reviewed by an internal committee and award decisions made by the director of UC MEXUS. Outside review may be requested for some proposals. In addition to such standard review criteria as clarity, quality, and feasibility of the proposal, UC MEXUS will assign importance to the significance of the proposed activities for the student’s academic advancement and training and quality of supervision from UC or Mexican faculty and researchers. Reviews are based on the proposed project or activity only and the thematic fit to UC MEXUS goals, independent of the nationality of the applicant.

UC MEXUS does not provide pre-review of proposals nor will reviewer comments be provided following the competition.

For additional information contact
Andrea Kaus, Ph.D.
Director of Grants Programs, UC MEXUS
University of California, Riverside, CA 92521
(951) 827-3586,
  • Cover page with contact information, abstract, and signatures (pdf forms available: blank or with form fields)
  • Project plan (not to exceed three pages): provide a narrative statement explaining the academic bases for the proposed activities, specific research plans or activities, a time-line, potential results, and value of the project for the applicant’s academic advancement. Keep in mind that this program is intended for pre- or non-dissertation research. Graduate students who have advanced to candidacy should include an explanation of how the proposed project is independent from their dissertation work (note the program goals and restrictions at the very beginning of this call for proposals). Proposals to attend professional conferences will be given low priority and considered only if they are to present the results of previous UC MEXUS support.
  • A detailed budget for the project period that specifically relates each item to proposed activities. Refer to the Budgets section regarding eligible expenses.
  • Applicant’s curriculum vitae (no more than 3 pages). Please read the Eligibility section above carefully to determine whether you and your proposed project meet the eligibility requirements. Note that the selection process is based solely on the proposed project’s fit to UC MEXUS goals, independent of the applicant’s nationality or heritage.
  • UC faculty sponsor’s abbreviated curriculum vitae (no more than 5 pages).
  • Confidential letter of support from the applicant’s faculty sponsor, detailing the applicant’s preparation and ability to accomplish the proposed work and the value to his/her academic training and career, and the connection to Mexico and UC MEXUS goals. The letter should be sent separately to UC MEXUS by the proposal deadline at the address listed on the next page or attached to this application packet in a sealed envelope.
  • Mexican academic host’s letter of invitation and curriculum vitae (no more than 5 pages) for any activities that will be undertaken in Mexico. (This letter is not required for applicants undertaking activities within the United States.)
  • A letter of invitation or acceptance for activities that include participation in a meeting, course, or workshop.
  • Send UC MEXUS two complete application sets (original plus one copy) and keep a copy for yourself. Also provide your department administrator with a copy.
Updated on 12/18/2017