BORDERS Awards in Immigration Research - Call for Proposals - DEADLINE EXTENDED to November 7



Call for Proposals: Summer 2012 BORDERS Awards in Immigration Research

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.

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: 

  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)
  5. CV (2-page NSF style, including 5 most relevant publications)


Award Recipient Requirements

  1. Produce a research paper
  2. Produce a policy brief for policymakers
  3. Present findings at the BORDERS annual partner meeting in Tucson, AZ, December 2012.


Timeline and Funding

Deadline for submission of application has been extended to MONDAY, November 7th

Expected award announcements: March 2012

Performance Period: April 1, 2012 – December 31, 2012 (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 Tucson, AZ. In the case of team projects, it is the PI’s responsibility to distribute funding to co-authors.


To apply for the NIS awards your application must contain the following:

  • CV of Applicant (2 page, NSF style)
  • Budget and Budget Justification
  • Proposal (5-page limit, 12pt font, Times New Roman) -- Proposal must include the following:
    • Abstract (250 word limit)
    • Overview and Research Objectives
    • Contribution to the Field
    • Methodology / Use of NIS Data
    • Applied Relevance and Significance


Links for Submitting Application

Please click on the links in the box below to submit your application through e-mail. 

When you click on the links below, the subject line of the e-mail will automatically populate – Please do not change the subject of the email except for adding your last name where prompted.

Please make sure to submit all documents in PDF format. 



click here

Application Package

click here

Recommendation Letters

click here


If you are unable to use the e-mail links above to submit your application, please adhere to the following guidelines:

E-mail applications to using the following subject lines in your e-mail:

  • Application Package (last_name_here)
  • Recommendation Letter (last_name_of_applicant)



Frequently Asked Questions

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


When are applications due?

The deadline has been extended to Monday, November 7, 2011 by 11:59 PM Mountain Standard Time.

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.

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.

Will there be IDC on the award funds?

The payments will be made directly to the researcher awarded as an independent contractor.  There should be no IDC involved on the researchers' end (does not go through the awardee's university).

What should be included in my budget?

Please use the template below to construct your budget.

NIS Budget Template Amount
Operations: Materials and supplies  
Operations: Other  


When will wave 2 of the NIS data be released?

They are currently working on this but it may not occur until the middle of 2012. 

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.