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The Global Research Assistant Program provides full support to Tufts undergraduates to work with Tufts faculty and research staff during the summer on ongoing international research and impact projects.

Faculty from across the University are invited to submit a proposal for one or two undergraduate research assistants for Summer 2019.

Deadline to Submit a Proposal: December 20, 2018

Questions? Please contact Christine Hollenhorst,


Global Research Assistant Program Goals

The goals of this program are to:

  • Further Tufts’ commitment to global engagement within our mission as a student-centered research university by providing opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience working on global research led by Tufts faculty.
  • Provide students with opportunities for transformative experiences through collaborative partnerships with Tufts faculty and community engagement with bold ideas and complex global challenges.
  • Provide opportunities for students to develop competencies and skills useful to work and conduct research effectively in international contexts.
  • Support faculty in carrying out their research internationally by providing additional resources (within or outside a specific technical area).

What does the program offer?

The Program provides full support for undergraduate research assistants to work with PIs and research staff during the summer on their ongoing international research or impact projects and/or impact projects on issues of global significance. We aim to fund 3-6 research assistants for Summer 2019, and will accept proposals for 1-2 assistants per faculty.

The Global Research Assistants may provide support in the design and implementation of research, analysis of results, application of findings, community engagement or other substantive areas relevant to the achievement of the goals of the project.  The support may be within the technical area that is the focus of the research, or may be outside the technical domain of the research but useful to the implementation or application of the research (e.g., community engagement or outreach, etc.).   The research opportunity may, if appropriate, provide for more self-directed research by the student, mentored by a member of the research team or faculty/ research staff at a partner organization or university abroad that can make a contribution to the research project.

The Global Research Assistant Program will provide:

  • One to two undergraduate research assistants, from a pool of applicants vetted initially by the sponsors of the Program (based on job descriptions and requirements identified by the PI/research team), with finalists selected faculty.
  • Orientation arranged for students on issues including research ethics and health and safety to be conducted by appropriate departments on campus and arranged by the sponsors.
  • Funding to cover the following costs:
    • On-campus housing for the duration of the project at Tufts (for work conducted in Medford, Boston or Grafton),
    • Student costs associated with the international field component, including transportation, accommodation, and food costs
    • Modest stipend for the students.

Qualifying Research Projects:  What are the requirements of the program?

Faculty proposals must meet the following criteria to be selected:

  • Provide an 8-week (minimum) summer opportunity for Tufts undergraduate students to be significantly involved in a research project on issues of global relevance. As mentioned above, undergraduates could provide assistance either within the specific technical area that is the focus of the research or outside of that area but helpful to the implementation of the research.
  • The research opportunity can include work in Medford/Boston/Grafton, but must also include an international component of at least three weeks’ duration.
  • For the portion outside of the United States, there must be an on-the-ground contact for the student. This might be a faculty member, graduate student, research coordinator, local partner)
  • Compliance with safety and security requirements identified by Tufts Global Operations.

Proposal Components and Process for Selection

Faculty will be asked to complete a proposal in Qualtrics by December 10, 2018, specifying the following elements:

  • Project Details: A brief but detailed description of the research project, its significance and global impact, and progress made to date.
  • Project Timeline: A schedule of major events and activities during the duration of the Student Research Assistantship.
  • Student Research Assistantship Description:
    • The specific tasks and responsibilities for the Student Research Assistant(s).
    • Specific qualifications the Research Assistant(s) will need to have in order to complete these tasks.
  • Field Component Description Form: A description of the field component of the project. The description of the field component should also include a description of accommodation, transportation, safety measures, on-site student contact, as well as an estimated budget associated with the international component (roundtrip airfare, meals and incidentals, accommodation).  Please utilize the foreign per diem rate for meals and incidentals and accommodation.
  • Learning Goals StatementAn outline of the learning goals faculty anticipate the Student Research Assistant(s) to achieve, or takes steps towards achieving, through this experience, and how you will evaluate such goals. In outlining these objectives, faculty members may be guided by the Association of American Colleges and Universities Global Learning outcomes:
  1. Become informed, open-minded, and responsible people who are attentive to diversity across the spectrum of differences.
  2. Seek to understand how their actions affect both local and global communities.
  3. Address the world’s most pressing and enduring issues collaboratively and equitably.

If necessary, the supporting units will work with faculty to revise proposals. Global Operations may require additional information and modification to the international field component logistics.

Process and review of student applications for Global Research Assistant Positions

Through Tisch College’s existing Summer Fellows application mechanism, Tufts undergraduates will be invited to apply for a specific research opportunity.  The application will include:

  • A statement of interest in a particular research project
  • Resume/CV
  • Unofficial Transcript
  • Title and Contact information of one reference who is able to speak to student’s ability to engage in global research.
  • A short essay questions regarding the ethical implications of international research and global engagement.

Student applications will be vetted by the sponsors units on predetermined criteria, including qualifications and criteria identified in faculty proposals. Financial aid will be considered. Finalist applications will be shared with the PI (or designated representative), who will then make the ultimate acceptance decision. An initial review of applications will be conducted by the sponsors to identify those that meet minimum requirements for the position.  Those applications will then be forwarded for review and selection by the PI (or designated person).

Pre-departure Orientation and Post-Experience Reports

Selected students will be required to participate in a pre-departure orientation organized by the supporting units, covering issues related to research ethics and general health and safety when traveling abroad.  At the end of their research assistantship, students will be asked to provide a written reflection on their experience and contribution to the faculty’s project. Faculty will also be asked to provide an evaluation of the program and the student’s performance.

Faculty may also be asked to participate in a pre-departure orientation which covers issues of health and safety.

Training may also be required of on-the-ground student points of contact.


November 2018 – January 2019 Solicitation of Research Projects and work with faculty/PIs to revise relevant proposals
Late January 2019 Faculty Proposals and Research Assistant job descriptions finalized, opportunities publicized/disseminated to students
February – March 2019 Applications received from Students and screened, initial interviews completed
Mid-March  Finalists chosen, forwarded to PIs/Faculty
Late March Selections made
May Pre-departure Orientation Program for Students and Faculty

Pre-Travel Registration and Travel Review (if required)

Summer Program Commences (8 weeks)
Mid-September Summative Report Due / Faculty Evaluation Report Due