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OIA-BOSP Companion Grants maximize overseas faculty-in-residence time with international research collaborations

September 09, 2019

In 2017, the Office of International Affairs (OIA) and the Bing Overseas Studies Program (BOSP) joined hands to create the Companion Grant, sponsored by the Roberta and Steve Denning International Research Exploration Fund. The grant supports BOSP faculty-in-residence to pursue research opportunities related to the BOSP location where they are teaching. The collaboration between OIA and BOSP was sparked through recognition that faculty who commit to teaching for a quarter in a BOSP location may wish to also pursue an international research collaboration, in spite of the additional challenge of being far from their lab, office and colleagues.

With up to $15,000 awarded per grant, faculty have used the funds in creative ways, ranging from bringing a graduate student to the BOSP location to participate in their research, involving undergraduate BOSP students in research opportunities relevant to their course curriculum, or bringing international research collaborators from that region to Stanford. These exchanges have enabled faculty to maximize their time overseas, and to have direct engagement with diverse researchers at key locations.

The 2019 OIA-BOSP Companion Grant recipients are:

  • Mykel Kochenderfer, assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics and, by courtesy, of computer science, is collaborating with Oxford Robotics Institute researchers, Professor Ingmar Posner and Dr. Ioannis Havoutis, as well as with two Stanford PhD students from the Aeronautics and Astronautics department. They aim to study how to enable machine learning to reason about uncertainty for robotic autonomy. Currently, robots can operate safely and reliably when in highly repetitive and predictable conditions. By advancing machine learning techniques to better adapt and understand their surroundings, autonomous robots can be used in a wider range of scenarios to improve quality of life.

  • Jeanne Tsai, professor of psychology, is collaborating with Dr. Yukiko Uchida from the Kokoro Research Center, Kyoto University, and a 2nd year PhD student in her lab, to analyze what factors promote romantic attraction when considering cultural differences in the emotional states of North Americans and East Asians.

For more information about the OIA-BOSP Companion Grant and seed grants, please visit the Stanford Seed Funding website or contact Pauline Larmaraud at

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