Whiting Indigenous Knowledge Student Research Awards

Call for Proposals

Penn State graduate and undergraduate students are invited to submit proposals to conduct research between May 2024 and March 2025 on topics that focus on aspects of indigenous knowledge.  This is a competitive process.  A maximum amount of $2,000 per project will be awarded.  Funding is made available through the M. G. Whiting Endowment for the Advancement of Indigenous Knowledge.

The deadline for 2024 proposals has been extended to  March 31, 2024.

To apply, you must be a currently enrolled Penn State University student. Research must be related to an approved honors thesis topic, approved masters or doctoral thesis topic, approved topic for undergraduate capstone course, etc.

Application Instructions

Your application should include:

  • Abstract (150 words maximum, single-spaced).
  • Proposal (approximately 1500 words):Include:
    • relevance of the project to indigenous knowledge research;
    • the background and research objectives of the study or project;
    • project methodology and design; and
    • timeline for completion.
    • Bibliography of cited references.  You may use any standard bibliographic format e.g. APA, Chicago Manual of Style, MLA, etc.
  • Budget and Justification (1 page maximum): Please supply an itemized budget of proposed expenses. Funds may be used for project-related travel, printing/copying, computer software, and disposable supplies. Funds may not be used for tuition, wages, conference related expenses, laboratory equipment, or computer hardware.
  • If selected, IRB approval is required (if applicable) prior to the start of research activity. Award will be withdrawn if this certification is denied.
  • Please submit all documents as a single PDF file.
  • Additionally, a letter of recommendation from your academic/thesis/dissertation advisor should be sent directly to Kevin Seeber at kevinseeber@psu.edu.

How to Submit

All proposals must be submitted electronically via the online application form.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Intellectual Merit.  Shows well thought out research methodology
  • Research Potential.  What is the potential for the research to:
    • Advance knowledge and understanding of IK generally or within the researcher’s field 
    • Benefit the community where research/work is conducted
    • Conform to the principles of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Creativity.  Extent to which the proposed activities suggest and explore original or potentially transformative concepts.
  • Research Design and Evaluation.  Proposed activities are well-reasoned, well-organized, and based on a sound rationale.  The plan incorporates a mechanism to assess project outcomes and includes a mechanism for informing the indigenous community of the results.
  • Qualifications.  Individual is qualified to conduct the proposed activities and has relevant experience or research record.
  • Resources.  Availability of adequate resources to complete the research proposal. Matching funds are encouraged.

If for any reason you are unable to undertake the proposed research, you will be required to return the award.


Please contact Kevin Seeber at kevinseeber@psu.edu.


Current and past recipients