Border Lab Graduate Fellowships

The Border Lab is one of the 90+ initiatives of the UArizona Strategic Plan which seeks to develop innovative, adaptive learners and disruptive problem solvers who are prepared to lead meaningful lives and improve society. In addition, it seeks to leverage Arizona’s unique assets and diversity as a competitive advantage and be an integral and collaborative partner with our local and global communities.

The mission of the Border Lab is to make the UA a global leader in the field of border studies by creating new knowledge and transnational collaborations. It aims to position the UA as a top destination for students and faculty pursuing border related scholarship in global, binational and regional contexts.

The Border Lab builds on years of successful interdisciplinary border research and teaching across campus. For years UArizona has been and continues to be the operational epicenter of ongoing research trajectories, global attention to Border Issues, and innovative learning.

It works to consolidate and expand the existing UA research conglomerate of interdisciplinary Border and Transnational Studies. It also works to develop impactful, meaningful and multi-modal learning opportunities for UA and non-UA students as well as research and community engagement opportunities.


Call for Proposals

Border Lab Graduate Fellowships

The Border Lab Graduate Fellowship program aims to support current University of Arizona graduate students through community building, professional development, and funding for new or ongoing interdisciplinary, border-focused projects. This program seeks to develop impactful experiential learning opportunities, promote interdisciplinary research, and facilitate community engagement opportunities for graduate students.

As a program of the larger Border Lab initiative, the Border Lab Fellowship program will contribute to the university-wide effort to make the University of Arizona (UArizona) a global leader in the field of border studies through the creation of new knowledge and transnational collaborations. In alignment with UArizona’s Hispanic Serving Institute designation, it will support cohorts of diverse and underrepresented graduate students in the completion of border-focused projects. In addition to project development funding, the program offers a variety of mentorship opportunities, workshops, professional development sessions and lectures on interdisciplinary approaches to the border. These interdisciplinary engagement and mentorship programs will introduce fellows to new and varied approaches to border studies through the lenses of history, art, social science, and cultural studies. Beyond broadening and refining fellows’ academic breadth, research approaches, methodologies, analytical and interdisciplinary skills; the Border Lab Fellowship program fosters mutually beneficial relationships between fellows and the larger community in which the university is situated. Program fellows will not only engage with UArizona faculty, but will also become part of a growing community of UArizona border-engaged researchers, research institutes, and CCI partners which include NGOs, government offices, and community stakeholders.

The Border Lab Graduate Fellowship program is now accepting project proposals from UArizona graduate students. These projects should ultimately help create new frameworks for understanding border dynamics in Arizona-Sonora communities. These research and/or creative projects should also bring about positive impact to our regional communities while contributing to the Border Lab’s mission of advancing UArizona’s border related education and research.

The Border Lab Graduate Fellowship program offers one-time awards of up to $10,000 for individual applicants. Fellowship awards are disbursed as three separate deposits into student bursar accounts: $5,000 in January 2022, $2,500 in August 2022, and $2,500 in January 2023. Applicants should propose activities that can be completed over the course of 3 academic semesters (1.5 year period) beginning Spring 2022. Fellows will be required to participate in mentorship and academic development programs throughout the first year (Spring 2022 – Fall 2022). Fellows will be expected to complete their projects during the final semester of the grant period (Spring 2023).


Award Amount

up to $10,000 (to individual applicants)


Proposal Due Date

By October 31, 2021 (before 5 p.m.)


Anticipated Award Notification Date

December 2021


Project Completion Date

May 1, 2023



Both domestic and international UArizona students are eligible to apply to the Border Lab Graduate Fellowship program. Applicants must be UArizona graduate students enrolled in PhD/doctoral programs and terminal master’s degree programs. Additionally, applicants must be in one of the following programs:

  • A terminal graduate program (PhD or MFA) in the College of Fine Arts (CFA), the College of Humanities (COH), the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS), the James E. Rogers College of Law, College of Education (COE), and College of Architecture, Planning, & Landscape Architecture (CAPLA).

  • A relevant Graduate Interdisciplinary Program (GIDP) firmly connected to one of the colleges identified above, such as Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT).

Applicants must be enrolled as graduate students at the University of Arizona during all three semesters of the project period. Additionally, proposed projects must be interdisciplinary and focused on U.S.-Mexico border. The projects must also include at least one discernible product which advances scholarship and understanding of the Arizona-Sonora border. Past products have included exhibitions, performances, documentaries, auto-ethnographies, websites, digital stories, digital testimonio archives, chapter or article manuscripts, conference presentations, exhibitions etc. Fellows may be asked to participate in a public event where they present on their projects. This may involve preparation of written materials, visuals, or videos created and distributed for a popular audience, or web-based tools to communicate research in engaging ways to the public.

Group projects may be eligible and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Before beginning your application, please contact Christian Ruvalcaba,, if you plan to propose a group project involving more than 1 graduate student to determine eligibility.


Submit an Application

Applications are submitted via the online portal: Border Lab Fellowship Submission Portal. Please submit all of the requested information outlined below. The review committee will not consider incomplete applications or any submitted after the deadline.


Application Components

In the online submissions portal, applicants will be asked to submit the following materials.

  1. Project Summary (250 words maximum): This concise abstract of the proposed project should be understandable to a lay audience and appropriate for posting on the Confluencenter website.
  2. Project Narrative (750 words maximum): In language accessible to non-specialist readers, describe the specific creative/interdisciplinary activity for which funding is being sought. The narrative must convey how the proposed project will contribute to our understanding of the history, culture, art, context, and experience of the borderlands in ways that challenge or transcend existing disciplinary frameworks and boundaries. The narrative should include detailed descriptions of the following:
    • Project Activities: Applicants must describe the project activities and their projected impacts
    • Methodologies: Applicants must explain the frameworks and methodologies they will use in their project. This section must convey the applicant’s qualifications and capacity to complete the proposed project.
    • Overall goals and projected outcomes: Applicants must specify the feasibility of finishing within the grant period and the tangible final product (even if only preliminary) that will be completed by the end of the grant period. Fellows should also describe personal outcomes by specifying how this funding may help advance the their broader research agenda, intellectual development or scholarly/artistic career.
  3. Curriculum Vitae (two pages maximum): CVs should note any scholarly or creative achievements pertinent to the project.
  4. Sample of past work: Applicants can submit written samples of up to 30 written pages, videos of up to 10 minutes, or artistic work samples of up to 10 visuals.
  5. Budget: Using Confluencenter’s budget template, applicants must include a budget of project expenses and a justification for the expenses that shows a complete breakdown of how funds will be used. The amount requested by the applicant in this budget will be the amount that is awarded. Awards will not exceed $10,000. Matching funds are not required for this grant. However, if the costs of a project exceed $10,000, the budget should identify where the additional funding will come from.
  6. Project Timeline: Using Confluencenter’s project timeline template, applicants must specify significant phases, activities, and/or milestones of the project. This timeline should align with the activities discussed in the Project Narrative.
  7. Letter of Support: One letter of support is required from the applicant’s major advisor or other qualified individual familiar with the applicant’s work.


Selection Process

A review committee comprised of advisory board members and other faculty from relevant areas will evaluate the proposals and make recommendations to the Confluencenter Director, who will announce the awards. Award recipients will be notified by email no later than December, 2021.


Award Distribution

Graduate fellowships are awarded as three separate deposits into student bursar accounts: $5,000 in January 2022, $2,500 in August 2022, and $2,500 in January 2023, pending satisfactory project completion and participation in Confluencenter Border Lab Graduate Fellowship workshops and events.


Post-Award Commitments

The names of the Border Lab Graduate Fellowship recipients along with a description of funded projects will be posted on Confluencenter’s website. Recipients are encouraged to attend an award ceremony, and if applicable, present their work at events connected to Confluencenter programs.

During the funding period, award recipients will be required to attend seminars, professional development workshops, special events and outreach activities with fellow cohort members. Fellows will present their project work at one of the regular Confluencenter public programs such as Show & Tell or relevant Confluencenter conferences.

All projects must be completed by May 1, 2023. A final report must be completed within 15 days after project deadline.


Final Reports

Within 15 days of project completion, award recipients are required to submit a final report on the Confluencenter website.

This report should summarize the proposal objectives and detail outcomes and results of project activities. It should note any publications, performances or external funding awarded as a result of the project. Recipients who receive external funding for projects initially supported by these awards should report this funding to the Director of the Confluencenter in order to track the impact of the Graduate Fellowship program.

Confluencenter staff may contact award recipients on an ongoing basis after the fellowship year for periodic updates on outcomes such as tenure-track hires, fellowships, post-docs, and additional external funding.



Successful award recipients should acknowledge the support of the Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry, the UArizona Border Lab, the Office of the Provost, and UArizona’s Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Initiatives in any publications made possible by the Border Lab Fellowships. Projects should display the logos of Confluencenter, the Office of the Provost, and HSI Initiatives in any project-related publicity. These acknowledgments must be displayed on project websites, press releases and printed materials. We request that you share publicity and event information with the Confluencenter’s Communications and Events Coordinator, Angela Martinez,



Please contact Christian Ruvalcaba, Research Coordinator, with any questions at