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The purpose of the Bies International Discovery Fellowship is to provide support to a University of Missouri PhD student to spend between 4-12 months outside their country of origin to facilitate a core aspect of their doctoral education.

About the Award

The Graduate School begins accepting nominations on December 1 for the John D. Bies International Discovery Fellowship. The purpose of the Bies International Discovery Fellowship is to provide support to a University of Missouri PhD student to spend between 4-12 months outside their country of origin to facilitate a core aspect of their doctoral education. Unlike many of the other Graduate School awards, students must self-nominate for this award. Nominations are due March 1, 2024. A committee that includes International Center staff, faculty with international research agenda (and/or who lead study abroad) and the Associate Dean of the Graduate School will review Bies International Discovery Fellowship nominations and select awardees. 

The John D. Bies International Discovery Fellowship endowment was established by Dr. John Bies, who earned a doctorate from Mizzou in 1972. Bies believes students who travel frequently and have an opportunity to interact with diverse people are better equipped to become members of a global society. Although Bies attended Buffalo State College in New York for his undergraduate and master’s degrees, he chose to establish the travel endowment at the University of Missouri because of the impact he says Mizzou had on his life. During his time here, he says, he was instilled with a work ethic and strong values. 

Current University of Missouri (MU) PhD students in good standing are eligible for the John D. Bies International Discovery Fellowship. The Bies International Discovery Fellowship aims to support projects that foster a global perspective, address global issues, and help to understand how local phenomena are interconnected with broader global trends. Thus, it allows PhD students to build knowledge of culture and language from regions of the world that students would otherwise not have the opportunity to experience. Funds are limited, and individual proposals will be evaluated for their potential to contribute to scholarship and the future development of the student’s graduate program and career opportunities. 

The Bies International Discovery Fellowship encourages cultural exchange not only through scholarly engagement but also through living and interacting in communities abroad. Each Bies Discovery Fellow will have the opportunity to conduct fieldwork, collect data, or partake in other activities critical to completing their doctorate while also acting as an ambassador of the University of Missouri in the community in which they stay. 

Winners of the Bies International Discovery Fellowship will be recognized in our spring semester awards celebration in late April. Awards will cover travel, living expenses, and a limited research budget (most awards will range between $20-60K (about $5K/month total), depending on the length of visit and other factors). 

All university-related travel that is supported fully or in part by a Graduate School travel fellowship must be registered in advance of the travel. 

All nominations will be made through MU Graduate School’s InfoReady site.  

Eligibility Requirements


Nominees for the Bies International Discovery Fellowship should be PhD students whose doctoral work would be enhanced by spending 4-12 months abroad. The host country cannot be the student’s country of origin. The work outlined must be research, scholarly activity, or creative work that is enhanced by or requires being in country (e.g., fieldwork, archival work, high level interviews). The student must demonstrate that they are passionate and accomplished. 

Candidates will be evaluated on: 

  • Academic record 
  • Project quality and feasibility 
  • Originality and/or innovation of project  
  • Significance and likelihood to make a contribution to knowledge 
  • Cultural and personal preparation


Call For Nominations Goes Out: December 1
Nominations Due: March 1

Minimum Requirements for Nominations

Nomination packets must be submitted through MU Graduate School’s InfoReady site. Students must self-nominate for this award. 

Nomination Materials:

  1. Nomination Form completed in InfoReady: 
  • Name, Department, Year in Program, Host Country & Proposed host institution (if applicable), Start date, Intended length (months), previous experience abroad 
  • Project Title (15 word limit): Concise title that is illustrative of project 
  • Abstract/Summary of the Proposal (250 word limit): A concise description of the ‘what, where, and why’ of the proposed project 
  1. 2-page CV or résumé highlighting degrees and relevant experience 
  1. Foreign language skills (if non-English speaking country):  
  • Self-evaluation of language: Reading, writing, and speaking 
  • Language proficiency test scores 
  • Previous experience in use of language (formal course work, residence, recent (opportunities for reading and speaking) 
  • Planned or in-progress language study 
  1. Host Country Selection: 
  • Why this country is best match for the project, the experiences that have prepared you to undertake the project in this country including any prior experience in host country, ways in which you will engage with the host country outside of your academic plans to showcase role as MU ambassador and importance of cultural exchange (up to 75 words)  
  • Affiliation with a host institution or justification for not having an affiliation: 
  1. If affiliating with host institution, provide affiliation letter from the institution/individual in the host country with whom you are proposing to work. It should be written in or translated to English, printed on official letterhead, and signed by the author. 
  1. If not affiliating with a host institution, dissertation advisor must write a letter, on letterhead, justifying why this is not necessary. 
  1. Upload a PDF of the signed letter verifying affiliation or justifying lack of affiliation. 
  1. Cultural Preparation/Personal Statement highlighting both why this project and work are important to you and what has prepared you for this experience. You can discuss your personal, educational and professional background; influences on your intellectual development; and cultural opportunities (or lack of them) to which you have been exposed; and the ways in which these experiences have affected you and prepared you for this experience․ (1 page narrative, single-spaced, 12 pt font, 1-inch margins) 
  1. Project Overview (2 pages + bibliography) outlining what you are proposing, where it will take place, why it is important, and how you will accomplish the work during your Bies Discovery Fellowship period. The proposal should indicate a clear commitment to the host-country community and a description of how you will engage with it. The Project Overview should also address how this time abroad will impact degree completion. N.B., the fellowship is not intended to extend. (2-page narrative, single-spaced, 12 pt font, 1-inch margins. Please include a list of citations to any academic work you reference as a separate page.) 
  1. Two Letters of Recommendation – You must submit two letters of recommendation as part of the application. Submit email addresses for the letter writers in InfoReady under Letters of Reference. An email will be sent to them requesting that they upload a confidential letter. 
  • The letters should speak to your ability to carry out the proposed project; they should discuss your intellectual and professional preparation, and your ability to represent the University of Missouri. 
  • At least one letter should be from your dissertation advisor or DGS. You should provide each recommender with Personal Statement and Project Overview to ensure that their recommendation letter speaks to your personal preparation and the likelihood of success of the project.  
  1. IRB – Human subject or Animal Research plans to submit for review (If applicable). Applicants proposing research involving human beings or animals as research subjects must have their projects vetted by the MU Institutional Review Board (IRB). Pending selection, grantees may also be required to obtain research clearance from the host country (where applicable). Strong letters of recommendation and/or affiliation should include the host institution’s commitment to guiding the applicant through any in-country clearance processes. While IRB approval is not required at the time of application, individuals selected for grants must abide by all ethical requirements prior to commencing their research on human and/or animal subjects. Award travel can only occur after all necessary ethics approvals are obtained. 
  1. Budget and budget justification.

No additional materials may be submitted. 

Allowable Expenses 

Funding for each grant will be evaluated individually; grants will range from approximately $20,000-$60,000 depending on budget requested and length of stay. 

The amount will depend on length of stay, but should be sufficient to cover: 

  1. Round trip economy airfare 
  1. Living allowance up to $3500/month 
  1. Additional budget for research/scholarly activity up to $5000