Research Grants

CIRS awards research grants to scholars and researchers interested in the study of Gulf-related issues, and the broader Middle East. Our goal is to contribute to the existing body of knowledge in the region through supporting original research on various topics. CIRS funds empirically-based, original research projects to fill in the existing gap in the literature. Through regular CIRS-sponsored research meetings we create a scholarly forum where CIRS grant recipients share their research findings with other academics, policymakers, and practitioners.


Mobility, Displacement, and Forced Migration in the Middle East 

The Middle East is currently facing one of its most critical migration challenges, and the region has become the simultaneous producer and host to the world’s largest population of displaced people. Exploring the conditions, causes, and consequences of on-going population displacements in this part of the world is key to better understanding some of the profound social and political changes currently underway in the region. This project recognizes regional migration as a complex, widespread, and persistent phenomenon in the Middle East, and a topic best studied from a multidisciplinary approach. In effort to broaden our understanding of the complex population movements that are seen in the Middle East, CIRS is launching this grant-funded multi-disciplinary research initiative to explore questions related to this topic. 

***Note: The grant cycle for this project is now closed.


The Gulf Family

Few studies have explored the challenges facing the Gulf family in the context of the global forces at play in the Gulf region. In effort to understand how structural and ideational forces of change have been reflected in the everyday lives of Gulf families, CIRS launched this grant-funded multi-disciplinary research initiative to explore questions related to this topic. 

***Note: The grant cycle for this project is now closed.


Arab Migrant Communities in The GCC

Despite the increasing dominance of Asian migrants to the region, current estimates are that there are still somewhere around 4 million non-Gulf Arabs throughout the GCC states, or over 25 percent of the total migrant population. The Arab migrant community in the Gulf is predominantly composed of Egyptians, Yemenis, Palestinians, Jordanians, and Syrians. While the study of migration to the Gulf is increasingly garnering the attention from a number of academics and interested observers, the bulk of ongoing empirically-based research efforts are focused on non-Arab migrants. The Arab migrant communities present in the Gulf have been a neglected area and merit further scholarly discussion and focus. CIRS is launching a new multi-disciplinary research initiative to explore questions related to the topic through funding empirically-grounded, theoretically informed research proposals.

***Note: The grant cycle for this project is now closed.


Food Security and Food Sovereignty in the Middle East 

The Food Security and Food Sovereignty in the Middle East research initiative is comprised of original, empirically-grounded investigations that collectively offer the most comprehensive study available to date on food security in the Middle East. Some of the major themes examined include the ascent and decline of various food regimes, urban agriculture, overseas agricultural land purchases, national food self-sufficiency strategies, distribution networks and food consumption patterns, and nutrition transitions and healthcare. In 2010, CIRS launched a grants cycle on “Food Security and Food Sovereignty in the Middle East.” As part of this initiative, CIRS awarded five grants to support interdisciplinary projects that focus on examining some of the GCC’s international agricultural and land investments.

***Note: The grant cycle for this project is now closed.


Migrant Labor in the Gulf

The Migrant Labor in the Persian Gulf research initiative examines the multiple causes, processes, and consequences of labor migration in this region from the disciplinary perspectives of sociology, anthropology, political science, and economics. The outcome of this project is the Migrant Labor in the Persian Gulf book that critically analyzes the effects of migration on native communities through original and empirically grounded research, identifying the types and functions of formal and informal binational and multinational networks emerging from and sustaining migration patterns. The authors of this edited volume also explore the role of recruitment agencies, as well as look at the values and behaviors of migrant workers both before and after they set off for the Persian Gulf. In the 2008-2009 academic year, CIRS awarded grants to undertake research, as part of its Migrant Labor in the Gulf Research initiative. Four projects were selected for funding. 

***Note: The grant cycle for this project is now closed.