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YouthMappers Research Fellowship

The YouthMappers Research Fellowship is designed to enlist, enable, and showcase the contributions of open, geospatial data for research on resilience of vulnerable populations around the world.


Applications must include exactly two individuals working as a team: a university faculty mentor together with one undergraduate or graduate student who is currently enrolled in any field at an institution of higher education that has a YouthMappers chapter in good standing, including having submitted an Annual Chapter report.* Students who have previously received a YouthMappers Leadership or Research Fellowship are ineligible.


The student member of the team will propose a research project and will be competitively selected on the basis of four criteria (a) the student’s long-term potential to contribute to this research topic; (b) the merit of the research to advance understanding on resilience of vulnerable populations; (c) the innovative creation and use of OSM data in the study; and (d) the research must take place in a county with USAID presence. If the student research proposed is also planned to be submitted in part or whole for an undergraduate thesis, masters thesis, or dissertation, the faculty mentor who is supervising this work should ideally be the second member of the team. For applications from teams in non-USAID countries (USA, Canada, etc.), preference will be given to proposed research collaborations with universities who will establish a YouthMappers chapter or plan on working with an existing YouthMappers chapter located in a country with USAID presence. These applications must include a letter or email of interest from the host university as indicated in the list of required materials, below.


The role of the fellowship faculty mentor is to guide and advise the student fellow in the conduct of their research project and offer supervision of the completion of requirements such as the final report. It is anticipated that the student is most likely either enrolled at the mentor’s home institution or will be working closely with the institution on fieldwork; this institution is thus considered to be the local host organization for the project and is encouraged to provide or assist in addressing extra needs related to the research, such as workspace, libraries, information, communication access or other relevant institutional resources wherever feasible. If the research proposed is in a different country** other than the location of the student’s home university in order to conduct extensive fieldwork, a faculty mentor who is working in and a native from that country could also be an appropriate choice for the second member of the team. 


Both Fellowship students and mentors are invited to attend Research Methodology Symposia*** in the United States, and will receive logistical support, airfare, hotel and subsistence to attend, subject to visa approval. There, they will take part in customized technical training sessions, engage in scientific discussions, and share about successful data and analysis practices. The purpose of the symposia is to enhance the quality of the proposed research and communication of results. Participation in the symposium is a REQUIREMENT of both mentor and student for receiving the fellowship. Selected finalist teams unable to confirm Research Methodology Symposia attendance will be replaced with alternate applicants.


From 6 to 8 student-mentor teams will be selected for this fellowship. Over the life of the program, the teams will have the opportunity to interact and exchange ideas with other teams from around the world that will be selected through this YouthMappers program. Research topics should relate to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and explain how open geospatial data will help address the global challenges we face.

*Chapters are considered in Good Standing when they have been 1) formally approved by the program via certificate (see complete list of approved chapters) and 2) have submitted a 2019 annual report by November 1, 2019. Please note - applicants are NOT required to be formal officers of the chapter. There is NO LIMIT on the number of applicants considered per chapter, but the program may limit the number of selected participants for any given chapter or country in order to diversify participation.


**Preferred Countries include any country with a USAID presence and/or a YouthMappers chapter. Chapters located in countries without USAID presence (Canada, United States of America, etc.) can propose research in a country with USAID presence, with preference given to proposed research collaborations with universities who will establish a YouthMappers chapter.


*** Research Methodology Symposia will take place in the United States in early June 2020. The first week will be held in Washington, D.C. and include training in data collection tools and analysis techniques for OSM data taught by faculty at The George Washington University and the Arizona State University Washington, D.C. campus. A visit to the USAID Headquarters and other organizations germane to the needs of the selected fellows will also be included in the agenda. Student-faculty teams will also receive training in stakeholder outreach and scientific communications to improve the dissemination of results by experts in these areas from The George Washington University, Arizona State University, and West Virginia University. 

This program is organized by the YouthMappers co-founding administrative team at Arizona University, Texas Tech University, West Virginia University, and The George Washington University with funding support provided by the United States Agency for International Development through the USAID GeoCenter, Cooperative Agreement Number: 7200AA18CA00015

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