COSMOS* International Graduate Travel Award

Most Recent Award Value: $4,000

This award supports deserving international graduate student who needs support for research/field work to be conducted in the student’s region or country of origin.

In adjudicating the award, first preference is given to students associated with the Institute, second preference to students in Resource Management and Environmental Studies, third preference to students in Zoology, and fourth preference to those in Forestry. The award is made on the recommendation of the Institute in consultation with the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

The IOF will award a scholarship annually to the student making the best academic proposal for research/field work. Proposals should be no longer than 1,000 words. Submit an email proposal and CV to

Proposal submission deadline is typically mid-August.

The money will be paid as a lump sum by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. A budget is required in the proposal, and the money can be spent in any study-related fashion. The student is responsible for all tax implications.

Conditions of Award

  1. The work must be completed by August 31 two years after the award was made.
  2. The successful applicant provides as product a short paper for one of the IOF’s research publications, with the intention to submit later to the peer-reviewed literature.
  3. Photos of the research trip, with informative captions, will be submitted to the Institute’s social media channels.

Previous Winners

Tashi Tsering
Tashi Tsering, PhD student in the UBC IRES Resource Management and Environmental Studies Program, plans to use the award to help fund his field research on climate change implications on agrarian society and water management in the arid Himalayas. Concerned about the interest of marginalized contemporaries such as subsistence farmers living in climate-sensitive regions, he is interested in exploring social and fairness issues of sustainabilty and climate change. His field site is the Spiti Valley in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, a high-altitude desert region where farmers are fully dependent on snow and glacial melt water for irrigation. This research aims to make two important contributions: Investigate how social and cultural practices in the region are sculpted by water resource availability, and to document indigenous perspectives on climate change.

Lydia Teh
Ms Lydia Teh’s research project aims to develop a systematic zoning procedure for marine conservation and fisheries management that integrates human behavioural, socio-economic and ecological attributes across space that at the same time requires minimum investment in technology, labour, and data, such that it is readily accessible to data-poor and resource limited tropical fisheries in developing countries. Her field work was carried out in the Semporna Islands Group in south-eastern Sabah, Malaysia, over two months in 2008 to gather ecological and socioeconomic data for representation in fuzzy sets; and to investigate socio-ecological relationships that will help to formulate realistic heuristic rules governing human aspects of site selection. She conducted interviews with fishers to investigate their perceptions and knowledge of ecological and socio-economic dynamics in the reef fisheries, their spatial fishing patterns, and their responses and adaptation to real or perceived social, economic, and ecological changes in the reef fisheries. Interview responses will be analysed to form relationships between ‘attributes’ and ‘descriptors’ within the fuzzy model. Other field activities included creel surveys and rapid underwater assessment using ReefCheck to examine coral reef habitat status and validate fishers’ information.

Louise Teh
A PhD student in the Resource Management and Environmental Studies Program, Louise Teh conducted an investigation of the discount rates of small-scale fishers in the Sulu-Sulawesi Marine ecoregion. Her research aims to address two main questions: 1) How does integrating the time preferences of fishers affect fisheries management strategies? 2) What ecological and socio-economic factors may influence the discount rates of fishers? She did two months of field research at Banggi and Semporna Islands, Sabah, Malaysia, conducting fisher surveys and monitoring fish landings. Ms Teh then intends to estimate individuals’ discount rates and evaluate the cost of management from the fishers’ perspectives. Finally, she will use GIS software to investigate what socio-economic, ecological and governance characteristics of the fisheries may affect discount rates.