Well, this is blog post number two and I’m in the midst of researching the application process for the Fulbright IIE. Let me tell you, this research endeavor is made significantly more challenging by rolling blackouts and unexpected cuts in the WIFI. These additional circumstances are all par for the course when you’re doing research in East Africa, which just means I’m getting a feel for the working environment even before my dissertation work officially begins!
As I’ve mentioned previously, I am applying for a Fulbright IIE to support my doctoral research on global health funding patterns related to cervical cancer prevention and care in Tanzania. The Fulbright IIE is open to “graduate level candidates” but, in order to be a competitive applicant, these candidates “must demonstrate a capacity for independent study or research, together with a general knowledge of the history, culture, and current events of the country to which they are applying.” The crux of the Fulbright IIE is to promote educational and cultural exchange, as well as facilitate collaboration in the context of academic inquiry. I am hopeful that my project, which is both interdisciplinary in nature and policy-relevant, might be a good fit for this criteria.
However, as I delve further into the planning process for my Fulbright IIE application, I’m getting a bit scared by the statistics I encounter regarding successful applications. For example, the success rate for Fulbright IIE applications to Tanzania is low – at just under 10% – for the past two years. I cannot help but consider the fact that the bulk of applicants probably have far more in-country experience than I do in terms of travel and language training. It’s hard to not be a bit demoralized by these statistics but I am certainly trying my best to stay positive!
The grant period for a Fulbright IIE would be 9 months subject to approval by the US Embassy in Dar es Salaam, which is actually right down the road from where I am staying! I will require a language evaluation and letter(s) of affiliation from organizations, individuals and academic institutions I’m planning on collaborating with during my research. The scariest hoop to jump through, at least for me, is the research clearance component of the application. Not only will I need to apply to Rutgers IRB but also to Tanzania’s COSTECH research clearance agency and the National Institute for Medical Research. That’s three different research clearance applications!! Yikes!!
All in all, I’m looking forward to the Fulbright IIE application process but I’m trying to stay very level-headed about my chances of success. I guess only time and effort will tell!
Until next week!