Visiting Student Researchers
What is a visiting student researcher? A visiting student researcher is typically a current doctoral student in their home country who wishes to advance their research for a short period of time (typically 6-10 months) at a U.S. institution. They seek an affiliation with a specific faculty member at an institution and do not take credit-bearing classes. As their research is intended to be a full-time activity, visiting student researchers cannot engage in other work opportunities. Visiting student researchers are expected to start their programs within the academic year (August – May) following selection. As Fulbright is both an academic and cultural exchange program, visiting student researchers must live in the U.S. community of the host institution where they are affiliated and are expected to engage with the local U.S. community.
Who can host? University or non-profit research institutions that can offer in-person advising on the candidate’s research topic. To host the visiting student researcher, there must be a point of contact at the host university or non-profit institution that can act as an advisor during the duration of the visiting student researcher’s affiliation.
What is required/expected of a hosting institution? Through the Fulbright grant the visiting student researcher will receive ASPE health benefit coverage and J-1 visa sponsorship. They may also receive funding to cover their living expenses, although this varies by country program. From the hosting institution, the researcher may need access to computer facilities, library borrowing privileges, workspace, access to appropriate laboratories, access to health services and on-campus or off-campus housing resources. The visiting student researcher is expected to conduct independent research while utilizing the resources available to them.
The host’s responsibility is to act as an advisor that can help introduce the resources available to the researcher and provide general guidance on the research subject. Hosts are expected to meet in-person with visiting student researchers regularly throughout the research period, but the frequency of these meetings should be determined by the visiting student researcher and the host. Depending on the nature of the research projects, some projects may necessitate nearly daily meetings while others may only require meeting once a month. The host contact will be required to understand the participant’s progress and complete a full-time engagement form and a mid-program progress report to certify that the Visiting Student Researcher’s program is progressing as expected and that they are engaging in full-time program related research activities.
How the placement process works: For candidates whose placements are arranged by IIE, the IIE placement team reviews the candidate’s research objective and experience and reviews US faculty profiles, research interests, and courses taught to determine academic research fit. The placement team will reach out to the potential US hosting institutions to discuss the candidate’s research interest and objective. Once the faculty member or department has expressed interest in hosting a candidate, the placement team will review and confirm affiliation requirements of the hosting institution and finalize any application requirements. Please note that in some countries, students may be responsible for organizing their placement directly with the host institution.
After the affiliation has been accepted/approved: Both the Fulbright grantee and the host should be in touch with one another before the arrival of the visiting student researcher. Before arrival it is beneficial to discuss housing resources, onboarding requirements, and any other necessary information that may be helpful to settling in.