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Northwestern Buffet Institute for Global Affairs Support

Support for Northwestern Faculty and Graduate Students

Northwestern Buffett advances Northwestern University’s global strategy and engagement.  Our programs catalyze and support collaborative work on global challenges, through grants and process facilitation. All Buffett programs are open to faculty and students from across the University. We prize interdisciplinary engagement, risk-taking, and global impact. Buffett support falls into three main categories:

Northwestern Buffett Idea Incubation Process

We support faculty groups in interdisciplinary global research that addresses United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Our programs support idea formation and research incubation through the following vehicles:

  •  Idea Dialogues convene Northwestern faculty from different disciplines and schools for informal explorations of a question or topic of global significance. We help curate interdisciplinary groups and prepare and facilitate the discussion in a 1.5-hour workshop. The goal is to uncover new perspectives and questions that seed research projects around global issues. Idea Dialogues can lead to follow-up conversations, small collaborations or partnerships, or our annual Idea Incubation Workshop. [Held on a rolling basis May to November, no financial support]
  • Idea Incubation Workshops reconvene Idea Dialogue groups for three 3-hour work sessions designed to develop broad ideas into proposals for concrete research projects. We help curate interdisciplinary groups and facilitate the process. Participating groups share proposals with a selection committee of Northwestern faculty and other experts for the opportunity to receive Northwestern Buffett grants. [Annual winter quarter workshops, funding decisions in April]
  • Global Working Groups work together as interdisciplinary research teams based on the project proposal generated through the Idea Incubation Workshop. Funding: $150k per year for 2 years, plus ongoing process support. Support may include course buy-outs, graduate assistantships, and other funding needed to support the proposed projects.
  • Catalyst Grant Recipients work together as interdisciplinary research teams to further develop projects proposed at the Idea Incubation Workshop. Funding: Up to one year of partial financial and administrative support, can re-apply for Global Working Group grants.


Small Grants for Faculty

For individual faculty and smaller funding amounts, the following programs are available:

  • Global Connections Seed Grants support Northwestern faculty in initiating or expanding connections with international collaborators. This includes all forms of scholarly output and could involve partnerships with other researchers, university programs and units, and non-academic partners. Funding: max $10k, one grant per applicant annually, rolling basis.
  • Global Campus Collaborative Grants support Northwestern faculty in developing virtual international teaching collaborations with Northwestern’s partner institutions and in hosting international visitors (virtual or in-person). Funding: max $3k per grant, rolling basis.


Graduate Student Support

 Dissertation research travel grants

For additional information, contact Ariel Schwartz (