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Award for Graduate Research

Announcement Date: 
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Application Deadline: 
Friday, March 15, 2019

The Graduate College’s longest-running support for research by graduate students at UIC is the Award for Graduate Research (AGR), which was formerly named the Provost’s Award for Graduate Research and the W.C. and May Preble Deiss Fund for Biomedical Research Award, or collectively the Provost/Deiss Award. We have shortened the name to avoid confusion with other funding mechanisms. The AGR is open to all graduate students currently enrolled at UIC and the Deiss Fund will continue to fund research in clinical or basic medical sciences. Past winners of the Provost/Deiss are not eligible.

Effective Fall 2018, there are three main categories for funding: travel, summer stipend, and materials/supplies.

Students may apply on a competitive basis for awards of approximately $1000 to $3000 to support their research. Awards will be made in two competitions annually, once in Spring semester and once in Fall semester. Please note: The awards committee reserves the right to award less in support than the student applicant requests, and frequently does so.

Awards are designed to allow students to take advantage of unique opportunities to further their research, and to aid progress toward their degrees. Effective Fall 2018, the Graduate College is delineating three spending categories--research travel, summer research stipend, and materials/supplies--if not covered by other sources, such as the grant of a major advisor. 


While all degree-seeking students in good academic standing in Graduate College programs would be eligible, the Award for Graduate Research and The W. C. and May Preble Deiss Fund for Biomedical Research are intended primarily for students who are actively engaged in research for a project, thesis, or dissertation. For PhD students, this typically will involve having completed the preliminary exam. Students at other stages of master’s or doctoral work may be competitive if they show exceptional research promise, with justification from the student’s research advisor and program director. A student may receive only one award during pursuit of a particular degree.


The following selection criteria that will be used to evaluate all proposals for Awards for Graduate Research:

  • Significance:  Extent to which the project, if successfully carried out, will make an original, important, and novel contribution to the field of study;
  • Approach:  Extent to which the conceptual framework, design, methods, and analyses are properly developed, well integrated, and appropriate to the aims of the project;
  • Feasibility:  The likelihood that the proposed work can be accomplished by the investigator within a reasonable timeframe, given their documented experience and expertise, past progress, preliminary data, requested or available resources;
  • Impact:  The likely impact of the award on the successful completion of the student’s academic program.
Terms of Award: 

Awards will be made on the basis of scholarly merit and are subject to available funding.

Awards are not paid directly to the student. ICR transfers are made to the student’s department, which will likely require receipts to reimburse the student for allowable expenses incurred.

Post Grant Responsibilities: The student is responsible for submitting a brief (one page, single-spaced) report to the Graduate College outlining what they have accomplished during the period of their grant, how these accomplishments fit with their original aims, and whether there were any necessary deviations from the proposed budget and research activities. Research award recipients must submit this short report to Benn Williams ( within six months after the end of the grant period, but not later than the date that all degree requirements are completed. The short report should be copied to their advisor.

The student’s advisor is responsible for submitting a letter or email to the Graduate College certifying that the student completed the funded research and used the awarded funds appropriately within one year of these announcement date and before degree completion.

Nomination Procedures: 

Applications for the award consist of seven parts. The student must provide the:

  1. Application form with applicant information, including compliance with requirements of the Office for Protection of Research Risks.
  2. Guarantee of Matching Funds form (when total requested funds exceed $2000). The student will obtain written approval and signature from the research director/advisor, director of graduate studies or department head who will provide the matching funds. The Guarantee of Matching Funds form that the student completes only requests details of this agreement. See “Matching” section below for additional information. 
  3. Itemized Budget Proposal form. See the form for further information.
  4. Proposal Statement of no more than 1000 words, written by the student, outlining the proposed research and justifying expenses. Use one-inch margins and 12-point font. The statement should be typed or pasted into the table on the form provided. Students may wish to segment the statement according to the award’s selection criteria.
  5. Condensed CV, not to exceed two pages. The CV should be typed (and attached) or pasted into the form provided.
  6. In addition, the student must arrange to have a confidential endorsement letter for the proposal from the student’s graduate advisor (or research director), on letterhead, submitted to the department. Consult with the department to determine if they would prefer to receive an electronic or hard copy from the author. (Only ONE letter of recommendation.) Also, the student should contact the department to ensure it has arrived in time.
Documents Required: 

In addition to those mentioned above, the department must add:  the Director of Graduate Studies/Department Head Approval form.

Selection Procedure: 

Applications will be reviewed once each semester by a subcommittee of the Graduate College Awards Committee, and its recommendations transmitted to the dean, who will make the final determination of awards.  Applications for summer support may be submitted to either the fall or spring competition.

Awards will be made on the basis of scholarly merit and are subject to available funding.

Submission Instructions: 

Documents Submitted by Student to Department/Program

  1. Application Form
  2. Guarantee of Matching Funds Form (if total requested > $2000)
  3. Budget Proposal
  4. 1,000 word (max) statement explaining/justifying expenses [an earlier version of this page erroneously stated "700"]
  5. Condensed CV, not to exceed two pages

Student requests endorsement (or letter of recommendation) from the advisor or research director to be sent to the student's department/program.

The student's program/department collates the materials above, in order, and adds the approval form from the Director of Graduate Studies or Department Head/Chair. The department then submits the application as a single PDF to the Graduate College via Box.

Submit via email to the appropriate division folder in Box. If you are uncertain, refer to the list of programs by division.


Behavioral & Social Sciences:

Engineering, Mathematics, & Physical Sciences:

Life Sciences:


Eligible Expenses:  Awards are designed to allow students to take advantage of unique opportunities to further their research, and to aid progress toward their degrees. Effective Fall 2018, the Graduate College is delineating three spending categories--research travel, summer research stipend, and materials/supplies--if not covered by other sources, such as the grant of a major advisor.

Examples of allowable travel expenses are: travel to field sites (domestic or international) where research is to be conducted; travel to archives; travel to confer with collaborators or with distinguished researchers who can make an unusual contribution to the student’s research project; expenses related to attending specialist conference(s) directly in the student’s research area; expenses related to offsite and non-CMEP specialized coursework directly related to the student’s research project.

Examples of allowable summer research stipend expenses are: expenses of conducting surveys; expenses for performances or exhibitions; summer stipend for uninterrupted scholarship in lieu of taking an off-campus, seasonal employment.

Examples of allowable expenses for materials/supplies: extraordinary laboratory materials; access to databases or libraries; significant and unusual photocopying expenses (e.g., of archival materials); special software essential to research; compensation for focus group respondents, data transcription, and/or research assistance. Note: the graduate student and their department would responsible for all aspects of such sub-payments and appointments.

Examples of expenses which are not allowed: purchase of routine equipment or software that is already available to students in department labs and facilities, journal subscriptions, books, professional society dues, computers for routine use, travel to professional society meetings or general conferences, visa/permits, immunizations for fieldwork.

Full guidelines can be downloaded here.


Updated 12/07/18bw