Funding Now Available for Student Research Projects in Brazil

January 19, 2015

Tim Lucas, 919-613-8084,

by Kati Moore (MEM ‘ 16)
Nicholas School Communications Student Assistant

If you’ve ever wanted to conduct a research project in Brazil but didn’t have the funds or connections, now may be your chance.

The Duke Brazil Initiative (DBI) offers funding for Duke students across all disciplines and schools for science and humanities research in Brazil, one of the fastest developing countries in the world and home to rich culture and biodiversity.

The program offers grants of $2,500 to $3,500 to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Grant recipients will travel to Brazil this summer for a minimum of ten days, and in turn host a Brazilian student or faculty member at Duke next year. DBI will assist in establishing connections with Brazilian students and faculty.

DBI was founded last year by Paul Baker, professor of earth and ocean sciences at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, John French, professor of history, and Antonio Arce, assistant director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

The interdisciplinary program is meant to expose students and faculty to Brazilian academia and culture and foster lasting partnerships between American and Brazilian students and faculty.

Last year’s projects covered a wide range of studies in Brazil, from the evolution of pop art, to current politics and democracy, to the installation of a rainwater catchment and storage system. The latter project was implemented by the students of Duke Engineers for International Development (DEID), a student organization in the Pratt School of Engineering.

DEID students spent five weeks working with students at a Brazilian university to build water tanks for three houses and a therapy center in Santa Rita, Brazil. Students from DEID described it as an invaluable learning experience that helped them appreciate the value of working with students from other parts of the world.

Matt Tobin, a student in the DEID group, says of his experience, “The academic benefits of applying my classroom knowledge to the real world, the social and professional connections I made, and the immersion in a beautiful and rich culture made for an unforgettable trip that will be remembered as a highlight of my time at Duke.”

Baker says developing connections with students and faculty in Brazil is the most important goal of DBI. “The main focus is peer to peer relationships, and trying to institutionalize long-term relationships with partners in Brazil.”

For more information on DBI, visit The Center for Latin American and Caribbeam Studies. Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss proposal ideas with co-director John French.  Applications are due February 2nd.