Diplomacy Lab


Launched by Secretary of State John Kerry in 2013, the Diplomacy Lab enables the Department of State to “course-source,” or work with students and faculty experts across the United States, on innovative research related to foreign policy challenges.

Diplomacy Lab addresses two priorities:

  1. Engagement: The Department of State’s determination to engage the American people in the work of diplomacy.
  2. Education: The imperative to broaden the State Department’s research base.


How Diplomacy Lab Works

Diplomacy Lab students explore real-world challenges identified by the Department of State. A Diplomacy Lab team is comprised of State officials, university faculty members and student participants (undergraduate and/or graduate). This initiative allows students to receive credit while contributing directly to the policymaking process and also helping the Department of State achieve its goals. 


Faculty & Staff Resources

Diplomacy Lab enables faculty from esteemed universities to aid the Department of State in “course-source,” innovative research related to real-world foreign policy challenges. Faculty participants come from a variety of disciplines and work with Department of State officials from consulates around the world.


Project Menu and Bidding Process 

  1. The Department of State releases a Project Menu each term. Each Project Menu lists between 50-100 projects worldwide.
  2. Faculty will have 2-3 weeks to review the Project Menu and submit bids to the Department of State via the UT Austin Diplomacy Lab Coordinator. Faculty can bid on more than one project. Keep in mind that students must receive credit for their work, either in the form of an associated course or independent study.
  3. Faculty should expect to hear back about their project bid within 3-4 weeks after submitting.
  4. Once a bid has been awarded, the Department of State will contact the faculty participants directly to discuss details and next steps.


Tips for a Successful Project Bid

Proposals may be a maximum of 200 words. A few notes to emphasize in your proposal:

  • Interdisciplinary projects are highly encouraged.
  • Proposals should contain information regarding how projects/courses will be conducted.
  • If a topic seems too broad to tackle properly in a semester, the project bid should clarify the scope of the proposed project.
  • Project subjects vary by semester, so if there is one closely related to an area of expertise or research interests, proposals should emphasize that.
  • Once a project bid is submitted, the university pledges to complete the project and bids are considered final.


Anticipated Fall 2020 Timeline


Fall 2020 Cycle

Sign Up to receive the Diplomacy Lab Project Menu

March 1, 2020

Project Menu Circulated

Mid-March 2020

Final Bid Submission Due


Project Selections Finalized

Late April

Begin Projects with State Department

August 2020

Final Product Deadline to State Department

Note: Once a project bid is submitted, the university pledges to complete the project.

December 2020 (End of Semester)


For More Information

Contact Lena Suk, Program Administrator