Row of flags from around the world against blue sky

Diplomacy Lab

Through the Diplomacy Lab, students and faculty experts at UT work on real-world research related to foreign policy challenges for the Department of State.

At a Glance

For:

Undergraduate and Graduate Students, Faculty

Focus:

Foreign Policy Research Topics

Program Features:

Research

Partners/Sponsors:

U.S. Department of State

Contact

Dr. Lena Suk
Program Adminstrator

How Diplomacy Lab Works

Launched by Secretary of State John Kerry in 2013, 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 has 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.

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 and 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.

Fall 2021 Timeline

Sign Up to receive the Diplomacy Lab Project Menu March 1
Project Menu Circulated Mid-March 
Final Bid Submission Due

Mid-April

Project Selections Finalized Late April
Begin Projects with State Department August 
Final Product Deadline to State Department

December (End of Semester)

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