International Dissertation Research Fellowship (Idrf)

SSRC President Ira Katznelson on the 20th Anniversary of IDRF

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF) program at the Social Science Research Council. Since 1997, with generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, IDRF has provided support for more than 1,200 PhD students pursuing dissertation research across the globe.

SSRC IDRF fellows have gone on to be leading scholars in their fields, providing rich contributions to scholarship. Beyond academia, the program’s fellows have gone on to achieve success across many different career paths.

In recognition of the contributions that IDRF has made to the US scholarly community, the program will be featuring the work of our esteemed alumni whose research benefited from its support early in their careers. We celebrate the work of our fellows—past, present, and future—and IDRF’s continued commitment to young scholars.

IDRF Interviews 2007 alum Tariq Thachil

IDRF Interviews 2006 alum Ahmed el Shamsy


SSRC’s International Dissertation Research Fellowship Program Selects 2017 Cohort

70 Young Scholars Will Pursue Research Projects Worldwide

BROOKLYN, NY (June 26, 2017) – The Social Science Research Council (SSRC)’s International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF) program has announced its 2017 cohort of 70 fellows, whose research spans the breadth of the social sciences and humanities, as well as virtually every region of the world.

Now in its 20th year, the IDRF program has funded nearly 1,200 projects, undertaken by the next generation of scholars in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. The mission of the IDRF program from its inception has been to support such scholars in their quest to advance knowledge about non-US cultures and societies. From the beginning, the program has been funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Keeping with the two-decade tradition of IDRF, the 2017 fellows will undertake research in diverse disciplines, including anthropology, art and architectural history, history, language, political science, sociology, urban planning, and area and regional studies, among others. The group, representing 33 different universities, will conduct research in North and South America, the Caribbean, South and Southeast Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Eastern and Western Europe, and Eurasia.

“The IDRF has been a cornerstone of the far-flung, impactful work of the SSRC for 20 years,” said SSRC president Ira Katznelson. “The 70 young scholars in this 2017 cohort will undoubtedly add much to America’s understanding of the world, building on the work of outstanding individuals who preceded them as IDRF fellows.“

Past IDRF fellows have cited the fellowship as a career-changing milestone. “The time IDRF allowed me to spend doing participant observation in the Galapagos has been the foundation of my career,” said Elizabeth Hennessey, a 2011 IDRF fellow and now assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

For more information on the International Dissertation Research Fellowship program, please visit


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