Fulbright differs from many other grants because you’re allowed 1 page for a personal narrative and 2 pages—not 10—for your statement of grant purpose. At the heart, Fulbright is a cultural exchange grant, so keep that in mind as you frame your project. Thanks to Maria Esther (@lorientinuviel) for reaching out and inspiring me to think about this list. This post is specifically geared to those applying for the research grants. Here are my quick tips:
Statement of Grant Purpose (SGP):
- Explain the project in layman’s terms, connect to current events if country if relevant. Do this first thing, first paragraph. It should be the first thing the evaluator reads.
- Where are you researching and why? Why those cities, why those archives?
- How does your project connect to the existing literature/field/etc? Explain briefly and make sure to link back to your overarching research goals.
- I did not name drop major names or spend an extensive amount of time discussing the literature. Instead, I used the state of field as a way of discussing the nuance of my project and showing my knowledge of the subject.
- Set up any connections to country you might have through previous research (have you done any pre-diss research on location that will aid with this project? If so, discuss it.).
- Make sure you discuss your affiliation in the country. This is extremely important; you will not be successful without a (preferably strong) affiliation
- Again, Fulbright is a cultural grant. Discuss how you will (might?) use your time in country to build deeper connections to the people there. This can include volunteering, presenting papers at conferences in-country or in the region (for example, at the regional Fulbright meeting), working as an affiliated researcher on a topic relevant to your own, etc. Make sure you connect those back to the purpose of your overall grant.
Personal Narrative (PN):
- This is a space for you to introduce yourself to the particular country’s Fulbright commission or committee. Take advantage of this space!
- Think of it this way: your story + your project = narrative
- Why are you interested in the country?
- Have personal connections to the country? Situate it & connect to your project if you can.
- For example, in my personal narrative, I discussed my experiences navigating higher education as a first-generation student and how this coupled with my undergraduate classes, led to an interest in university student mobilization in Chile.
- If you have space: any plans post-grant tenure related to grant? How grant might affect these plans?
- Use clear, concise language
- Be yourself! Let your personality shine.
- There was a colloquial turn of phrase I used in my PN. Some of the reviewers (pre-submission) loved it, some didn’t. Ultimately, it was my call to include it, and I did because I thought it made my PN a little more “real”.
- Play up your connections to the country or interests in the country.
- For both documents, I used TNR 12 pt font and 1″ margins
- I did not include a bibliography as that must fit within the page limit parameters.
- Use your community!
- If your school has a fellowship/grant office, use them! Do your research to understand the awards which each office administers.
- Join or start a grant-writing group with other graduate students.
- Ask your advisor(s)/committee/close mentors read your application.
If you have any questions about applying for Fulbright not addressed in this post, please reach out. I’m available and happy to discuss. Happy writing!