ConDev’s Student Media Grant

Publish Date: Sep 30, 2015

Deadline: Oct 31, 2015

About the Grant

ConDev’s Student Media Grant is an annual opportunity offered to students interested in using innovative methods to research and chronicle issues facing fragile and conflict-affected nations.

Grant winners will spend at least three months next year engaged in and documenting an issue that reflects the challenges faced by fragile and conflict-affected nations, including but not limited to: food insecurity, natural resource protection, youth unemployment, and local institution management. Past grant winners have produced photography, films and radio broadcasts in Mali, India, Perú, Kenya, Haiti and elsewhere around the globe.

During their experience, students will be required to:

  • Demonstrate a minimum three-month engagement with international development issues through extension activities, internships, student research, or other pursuits;
  • Create a multimedia deliverable for ConDev’s social media and/or website and document their chosen subjects through photo, video, radio or some other form of media that draws attention to conflict and development issues;
  • Publish or exhibit their work in a form of refereed media with the possibility of publishing with Texas A&M University Press.

Who’s Eligible?

The program is open to undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled at an accredited university worldwide. Students graduating in May 2016 are also eligible to apply. Not a student? Consider applying for ourTransformative Solutions (TS) Grant next spring.

Application Timeline

  • September 1, 2015:  Begin Accepting Applications
  • October 31, 2015 (due by 11:59pm CST):  Proposal Deadline
  • November 2015:  Review Period – please be patient as we review your incredible proposals!
  • December 7-23, 2015:  Notification Period
  • January-May 2016 (Depending on proposal timeline):  Funding Disbursement

Proposal Format

  • No more than four (8.5”×11”) pages
  • 12 point, Times New Roman font

Students should submit proposals that describe their anticipated travel, research, and photographic subjects or activities.

Proposals must include:

  • A cover sheet including:
    • Applicants’ personal contact details, academic year and academic department
    • The names and contact information of at least two faculty or staff who could serve as references
  • Thematic focus
  • Motivation for doing this work (½ to 1 page)
  • Planned activities over a 3-month period
  • Specific plans and deliverables for media (film, podcasts, photography, radio, etc.)
  • Target media for publication
  • A letter signed by the student’s supervising professor
  • Timeline
  • Budget

Applicants are also permitted to include links to samples of their previous work in their proposals.

Submission Instructions

  • Proposals should be submitted to with “SMGP: [Name of Student]” as the subject line. Only one proposal can be submitted per student.

Selection Criteria

  • Thematic Focus:
    • Is well thought out and provides a clear thematic focus and/or issue to be chronicled
    • Proposes innovative use of media to chronicle chosen issue
    • Has clear goal that is related to the issue
    • Is pulled from a variety of sources
  • Motivation for Work:
    • Provides at least 1 page of statement of motivation for work
    • Motivation is clearly focused in an organized and thoughtful manner
    • Information is constructed in a logical pattern to support the theme and/or issue to be chronicled
  • Planned Activities over 3 Month Period:
    • Planned activities span a three-month period
    • Provides plans for media/publication/blogging
    • Provides clear deliverables
  • Budget and Travel Plans:
    • Provides well-structured budget and requests amount under the $5000 limit
    • Provides high leverage to project with external funds (not required, but encouraged)
    • Provides clear travel dates
    • Majority of requested budget is spent conducting project in the field


  • What inspired ConDev to start this grant? Who manages it?
  • Are teams allowed to submit a joint proposal?
    • A maximum team size of two people is eligible to submit a joint proposal. The funding limit will be the same ($5,000 maximum). One principle investigator (PI) must be listed at the primary contact with ConDev.
  • How much money are we talking about, anyway?
    • Awards are expected not to exceed $5,000 per awardee and will be made at the discretion of the Chair.
  • Are there any travel restrictions?
  • When are the funds allowed to be used?
    • The grant will be eligible for use between January 2016 to December 2016. If your travel dates are outside that period, please apply to the 2016 call for proposals.
  • Are graduating students allowed to submit an application?
    • Yes, graduating students are allowed to submit an application.
  • Are incoming students allowed to submit an application?
    • No, incoming students are not yet eligible for SMGP. Please wait until the next call for proposals to be released and apply during that competition round.
  • What does a successful application look like?
    • A successful application will have thorough responses and adequately answer all the prompts explained above.  You are welcome to use this sample proposal for guidance.
  • Is the cover sheet included in the page limit?
    • No.
  • What happens after I’m accepted?
    • A second round of individual interviews may be required. You’ll be required to provide some more information, like: a letter signed by your supervising professor, evidence of good health and medical insurance that is valid in the area to which you expect to travel, etc. You’ll also have to register your emergency contact information with the Study Abroad Office.
  • “I applied last year and did not get funded. Can I reapply?”
    • Yes. You can reapply in following SMGP rounds. Update your proposal based on previous feedback and proposal guidelines to better your chances of receiving an award.
  • How many grants will be awarded each year?
    • The number of grants awarded is based on the number of applicants and the amount of funding available. Two proposals are expected to be funded.
  • What type of multimedia is suggested?
    • Photography, blogging, social media posts, documentary film, video animation, audio recordings are all accepted forms of multimedia!

All work produced by Fellows will be used by the Chair and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation to advance advocacy and public awareness of critical issues facing international development. Information about the #SMGP grantees and their associated projects will be presented annually to the Board of Advisors of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation Chair on Conflict & Development and the H. G. Buffett Foundation. There will be unrestricted access and use of published materials by these entities to advance mutual goals. Fellows will sign a release granting these permissions.

Still Have Questions?

Get in touch with Kelly at or 979-458-9399.

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