BORDERS Awards in Immigration Research 2013- CALL FOR PROPOSALS DUE: November 9, 2012



BORDERS Awards in Immigration Research, 2013


The National Center for Border Security and Immigration (BORDERS), a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Center of Excellence (COE) led by The University of Arizona, is dedicated to the development of innovative technologies, proficient processes, and effective policies that will help protect our Nation’s borders and enhance long-term understanding of immigration dynamics.

Immigration processes and policies continue to be the subject of much political and scientific debate. To enhance new research on immigration, BORDERS invites proposals for Awards in Immigration Research. Projects will utilize the New Immigrant Survey (NIS) (, a multi-cohort prospective-retrospective panel study of new legal immigrants to the United States that provides a public use database with information on immigrants’ background, family, transfers, economics, health and housing. The NIS is supported by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation.

Award Eligibility

This peer-reviewed competition is open to U.S.-citizen researchers in any social science-related discipline. Awards will be given based on the innovativeness and quality of the proposed research for faculty ($30,000/project) and young researchers – postdoctoral fellows or doctoral students ($12,000/project). Teams are encouraged to apply, however, one person must serve as PI and only they will receive funding from BORDERS.  Note that recipients of the 2012 award are NOT eligible for funding in the 2013 round. 

Research Focus Areas

Project research findings should assist BORDERS in examining immigration issues that are central to USCIS mission critical policies, particularly concerning immigrants’ integration and participation in American civic culture. Projects should ideally bolster and advance the use of the NIS dataset as well as other foundational immigration research.

Research should focus on one (or more) of the following areas:

  1. Immigrant Integration. Evaluate the integration of immigrants in American society, as well as their children, in one or more of four sub-areas: linguistic, political/civic, economic, and socio-cultural. For example, in the linguistic sub-area, projects might explore the English language acquisition of youth, adults or special populations or bi/multi-lingual language maintenance. A project focusing on the political/civic sub-area might examine political awareness and participation. Economic research questions could consider employment mobility, transfers, and other related issues. Socio-cultural-targeted proposals might examine issues of identity, norms, social membership and interactions, etc. (These are only possible foci; researchers should feel free to examine other sub-area factors of interest which are not listed here).
  2. Migration and Naturalization Motivations. Evaluate the migration and naturalization motivations of Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) with regard to why they immigrated to the U.S., their plans to naturalize, the role of social networks in their aspirations, transnational and diaspora ties, and plans to petition for other family members to come to the U.S.
  3. Comparative Analysis. Compare the NIS survey data with other major U.S. and/or international longitudinal surveys to facilitate cross-cutting evaluations of immigrants and their respective experiences.\


Evaluation Criteria

Awards will be based on the following criteria:

  • Intellectual merit of the proposed research project, including quality, impact, creativity, and originality;
  • Qualifications of investigator(s);
  • Centrality of NIS data utilization in the research design;
  • Relevance to USCIS mission critical issues;
  • Project organization and feasibility of successful project completion within period of performance


Application Package

Interested applicants should submit the following application materials using the submission instructions below:

  1. Identify research focus area(s) addressed (identified above)
  2. Proposal (5 page limit, 12 point, Times New Roman font, single spaced, 1 inch margins) including:
    1. Abstract (250 words)
    2. Overview and Research Objectives
    3. Contribution to the Field
    4. Methodology /Use of NIS Data
    5. Applied Relevance and Significance
  3. Two letters of recommendation
  4. Budget and budget justification (including travel) – Template will be provided
  5. CV (2-page NSF style, including 5 most relevant publications)

Click here for submission process instructions.

Award Recipient Requirements

  1. Produce a progress report
  2. Produce a research paper
  3. Produce a policy brief for policymakers
  4. Present findings at TBD 2013 meeting


Timeline and Funding

  • Deadline for submission of application: Friday, November 9, 2012
  • Expected award announcements: March 2013
  • Performance Period: April 1, 2013 – December 31, 2013 (Note: the summer period is envisioned to be the concentrated research timeframe.)
  • Payments: One-third of the award will be payable upon investigator’s acceptance; one-third upon submission of progress report and a draft research paper; and the third payable upon completion of research paper, policy brief and presentation. In the case of team projects, it is the PI’s responsibility to distribute funding to co-authors.


Frequently Asked Questions

Are non-U.S. citizens eligible to apply?

No. The PI must be a U.S. citizen. 

When are applications due?

The deadline is Friday, November 9, 2012 by 11:59 PM Mountain Standard Time.

How do I apply?

For submission instructions, click here.

How should my letters of recommendation be submitted?

Please direct the person writing your recommendation letter to this website and ask them to use the email link above to send the letter.

Will the NIS-2 data be released in time for projects under this award?

NIS expects to release the NIS-2 data in Spring 2013 which should be in time for researchers to use the data during the performance period.  If your proposed project uses NIS-2 data only, you may submit a 1 page contingency plan with your proposal in case the NIS-2 data is not released in time.

Are research teams eligible to apply?

There must be only one, U.S. citizen Principle Investigator (PI) per project. This is the only person who will receive the funding. However, the PI may work with a team if he/she chooses.

Who should I contact for more information?

What is BORDERS?

The National Center for Border Security and Immigration (BORDERS) is a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Center of Excellence (COE) led by The University of Arizona. As a consortium of 15 premier institutions, BORDERS is dedicated to the development of innovative technologies, proficient processes, and effective policies that will help protect our Nation’s borders, foster international trade, and enhance long-term understanding of immigration dynamics.

Will there be IDC on the award funds?

The payments will be made directly to the researcher awarded as an independent contractor NOT as a sub-award to an instituion. This way, there is no IDC involved on the researchers' end (does not go through the awardee's university) and they have a larger budget to work with.