IAC Research Grants Program Frequently Asked Questions

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, applicants should prioritize research activities and expenses in their budget proposals that can be conducted in alignment with CDC safety recommendations.

Q: What is the process and criteria of evaluation that the Research Grant application goes through with the IAC and then with the Ethnic Studies Research Center?

First, each Ethnic Studies Research Center’s faculty committee reviews all the applications. The strength of the project, the skills and experiences that a researcher brings to the project, and the likelihood of the project being completed and leading to an original contribution in the field of Ethnic Studies, etc., are all used to evaluate the applications. The Center’s faculty committee recommends applicants for the awards, which are then decided by the IAC Executive Committee, consisting of representatives from the Ethnic Studies Research Centers and two faculty representatives. IAC Vice Provost David K. Yoo chairs the IAC Executive Committee. It is a similar process for the fellows/scholars program.

Q: The Research Grant application states that graduate students may not hire others to assist with their project or receive a stipend themselves. What does this mean? Why?

IAC Research Grant awards cannot be used by graduate students to pay themselves or to hire others to conduct their research. Research is viewed as part of the graduate training and professional preparation toward completion of the degree. IAC grants are awarded to graduate students to offset their research expenses in undertaking their M.A. thesis or Ph.D. dissertations.

Q: Can graduate students request IAC research funds to hire transcribers?

The IAC does not allow graduate students to hire transcribers as this is an important part of the research/learning process. An exception has been made in the past when it involved paying for a transcriber for interviews in a foreign language.

Applicants must provide as much information as possible in order to be considered. In the case of numerous interviews, hiring a transcriber may be necessary to complete the project in a timely manner, but it is important to know if the student will take part in some of the transcription work as well. This does not guarantee that it will be approved. The committee can also choose to approve other things on their budget and not the transcription costs.

Q: Can I purchase a laptop or digital camera with research grant funds?

In general, requests for expensive equipment purchases are rarely approved. The purchase of flash drives or external hard drives, memory cards, etc. has been considered an allowable research cost. Awardees are encouraged to contact the Center or other campus departments to see if borrowing equipment will be possible.

Q: Will IAC fund research travel?

Yes, if it is determined that travel is an essential part of the research project, the IAC will fund airfare, hotel costs, meals, local transportation, and rental cars. The UCLA-approved domestic per diem rate is $79 per day.


  • Applicants may use these sites and other services, such as Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, etc., to determine their budget only. DO NOT book travel through these internet package sites. Although these packages often provide significant cost savings (by booking airfare, hotel, and/or car rental together), UCLA Travel Policy requires a separate itemized receipt for EACH in order to be reimbursed. Usually Internet package deals do not provide itemized receipts.
  • If awarded travel funds, the granting center will make all plane reservations on behalf of the traveler.
  • UCLA Travel Policy states that only economy or compact rental cars are eligible for reimbursement. In the case of rental cars, the purchase of gas is reimbursable. If driving your own vehicle (you will need proof of minimum liability coverage prescribed by CA law), mileage at 65.5¢ a mile is reimbursable. Similarly, for airfare, only the equivalent of coach fares will be reimbursed.
  • IAC Research Grants do not fund conference travel.

Q: My research involves Human Subjects and I have not yet started the review process, can I still apply?

Yes and no. One of the criteria for granting an IAC award is the feasibility of the project. For research that falls under the jurisdiction of the Human Subjects Protection Committee (HSPC), both claims for exemption and applications of approval require a review process that can take many months. Either exemption or approval from the HSPC’s Institutional Review Board is required prior to conducting any research. Therefore, the feasibility and timeframe of your project will be questioned. If your project involves Human Subjects research, please discuss in your application where you are in the review process and your ability to complete the research within the 12-month time allowed.

Note: All research related to Human Subjects must be submitted for Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval. Research using oral history for thesis or dissertation work is subject to Human Subjects approval; some projects may be eligible for exemption. Please view the current policy of Human Subjects and Oral History: https://ora.research.ucla.edu/OHRPP/Documents/Policy/3/Activities_Requiring_Review.pdf.

For research based on conducting oral histories, view the Guidance and Procedure: Level of Review - Certification of Exemption from IRB Review: https://ora.research.ucla.edu/OHRPP/Documents/Policy/4/Exemption.pdf.

Both claims of exemption and applications of approval must be reviewed by the Human Subjects Protection Committee operated by the Office of the Human Research Protection Program (OHRPP). For more information, please visit https://ohrpp.research.ucla.edu.

Q: Do the free COVID-19 Self-Tests at UCLA provide travel clearance? Does the research grant cover COVID-19 testing?

No and no. The no-cost testing paid for by UCLA was not implemented to provide documentation for domestic/international travel.If you need a COVID test to certify for travel, we recommend finding a community lab that will complete testing within the timeframe needed, and provide a certificate for travel.

If you need a test urgently or for travel by a specific date, we recommend scheduling an additional, backup test -- as sometimes tests come back inconclusive.