The Whitaker International Program provides funding to emerging U.S.-based leaders in biomedical engineering/bioengineering to conduct a study and/or research project abroad, with the underlying objective of increasing international collaboration in the field of Biomedical Engineering (BME). Grant projects – including lab research, coursework, public policy work – are intended to enhance both the recipient’s career and the field. Founded in 2005 by the Whitaker Foundation (now closed), the program is administered by the Institute of International Education.
Whitaker International Program grants are awarded based on an activity/project proposal that is relevant to biomedical engineering. Note that not all aspects of the project have to be strictly BME related, but the applicant should showcase how the award will enhance his/her future goals in the bioengineering field. The program also allows for non-BME majors to apply as long as the candidate has relevant experience and interest in BME.
We anticipate offering about 50 grants, but only the highest-quality applicants are offered awards. In the last three competitions, 40, 60 and 50 grants were awarded. There is no limitation on number of grants awarded and there is no quota on number of grants to a certain country.
All eligible students who are exploring the idea of going abroad for a post-graduate/post-doctoral project are encouraged to apply. It is recommended that any post-graduate coursework be combined with a research project or an internship. Aside from the personal and professional benefits to the individual grantee, benefits to the home institution also accrue, as new university partnerships have developed with hosting institutions overseas; collaborations have developed between U.S. bioengineers and their academic counterparts worldwide; and U.S. labs have benefited from having their students learn and bring back new and, sometimes, cutting-edge technologies and procedures.
Awards have included research in heart blood flow, improved prosthetic leg design, development of affordable oral cancer screening tools, and investment in BME research. Projects occur worldwide, and have taken place in many European countries, as well as in such places as Australia, Bangladesh, China, South Africa, Vietnam, and many more.
Types of Grants
The Whitaker International Fellows and Scholars Program has two categories:
· Fellows – Graduate-level applicants, from graduating seniors through current PhD students. Fellows receive a stipend for one year, and are eligible for tuition reimbursement.
· Scholars – Post-doctoral applicants, who recently received their PhD. Scholar awards can be for as little as one academic semester or as long as two years, depending on their needs. Second year funding is contingent upon demonstration of progress made during the first year.
Website & Online Application
The online application is now open with a January 21, 2014 deadline. The website listed above has all the information pertaining to the program, including eligibility requirements, examples of potential host institutions, and former grantee profiles.