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Chancellor's Graduate Research Award


Award Description

In an effort to maximize impact for our graduate students, the Graduate College revised the Chancellor's Graduate Research Award in Fall 2016.

Since its inception in 2009, the Chancellor’s Graduate Research Award has supported multidisciplinary scholarship in an attempt to expose graduate students to varied research and creative fields. The award mechanism has naturally evolved into a way for students early in their studies to develop new research directions for their PhD dissertations or terminal degree thesis/capstone project and has been used by graduate programs as a way for students to practice writing research proposals. Starting with the Fall 2016 competition, funding in the sum of $5,000 will now be available for one-year pilot grants to support preliminary research of students seeking future funding from external sources. (They are processed as awards--not grants. There is no tuition and fee waiver attached.)

Chancellor’s Graduate Research Award

  1. Proposals should describe pilot studies that will be used to develop their PhD dissertation project, or other terminal degree capstone project, in order to be competitive for external funding opportunities. In rare instances, we will consider funding for more senior students whose projects have changed direction.
  2. Students will be required to state their plans for seeking external funding and the potential granting agencies or foundations that they will target after the conclusion of the award.
  3. Inter- and multi-disciplinarity are encouraged, but not required.
  4. Students will be required to submit a statement of financial need justifying the use of funds, if awarded. The justification will be particularly important when the applicant is from a well-funded research group.
  5. Awards will be $5,000 paid out over five months: February 16-June 16, 2018.

Recipient Lists 

Terms of the Award

The award amount will be $5,000. There is no renewal and students may not win this award more than once. Previous winners of the Chancellor’s Award, when it was a two-year award, are also ineligible. 

Eligibility Criteria

  • Research and creative projects should be conceived as a pilot to garner larger external funding.
  • Inter- and multi-disciplinarity is encouraged.
  • The prospective recipient must be a full-time graduate student in good academic standing pursuing a PhD or terminal master’s degree with a capstone or thesis component.
  • The faculty mentor must support the proposed work.

Selection Criteria

  • Project’s merit and research outcome goals during period of support.
  • Plans for seeking external funding to complete the project.
  • Extent to which the applicant justifies financial need and the use of funds.
  • Record of academic performance and professional accomplishments, as attested to by CV, and letters of endorsement.

Review Process

Reviewers of the applications will consist of faculty members appointed by the Dean of the Graduate College. At least two reviewers will be assigned to each application. The reviewers will evaluate the applications using the eligibility and selection criteria. (These evaluations will be shared with the applicant to bolster subsequent external funding applications.) The reviewers will make recommendations to the Graduate College, who will determine the final recipients. 

Award Conditions

  • Where required, applicants must have secured compliance approvals by the time of the award’s initial disbursement. This includes completion of required training. Visit the website of the Office for the Protection of Research Subjects (OPRS) at for guidance.
  • Winners must submit a brief (one page) report to the Graduate College, by August 15th of the year of award allocation, outlining what they have accomplished during the period of their award, how these accomplishments fit with their original aims, and whether there were any necessary deviations from the proposed research activities.
  • Award recipients are strongly encouraged to present their research at the annual UIC Spring Research Forum.
  • Funds are disbursed directly to the student--not to the department. Departments may NOT reduce a student's funding package. This is a supplemental award.

Application Instructions

The student collects and compiles the required documents and submits them to the student’s academic degree program for review. The Director of Graduate Studies of that program submits the documents to the Graduate College. See below for deadlines.

Applicant Transmittal Form
The first step in completing the actual application is for the student to fill out the Transmittal Form, which will be submitted with the application packet. Information provided must include: student and mentor contact information, project title and description, and approvals/clearances checklist. Other information may be required. See the form for details. [Or download form here]

Applications must also include all of the following:

DGS Transmittal Form
The Director of Graduate Studies needs to complete this brief form. [Or download here.]

Mentor Agreement Form
The applicant should direct their faculty mentor to the Mentor Agreement Form. The faculty mentor completes this form and sends it to the student to include with the other application documents. [Or download here.]

Statement of Research Goals and Project Description (2 pages)

Applicants should include these sections in their statement:

  1. Background to place the research problem in context and the significance of the research project in the field. (~1/3 page)
  2. Overarching project or question (this might be the thesis/dissertation topic). (~1/3 page)
  3. Specific aims of research in funded period. (~1/3 page)
  4. Research plan or approach for each specific aim or research goal during funded period. Include in this section a statement of why these aims need to be completed in order for the overarching project to be pursued and succeed. (~1 page)

Although not required, references (end notes, citations) and/or relevant images may appear on ONE separate page. This page will NOT count toward the page limitations. Furthermore, it is recommended that applicants write to an educated layperson as at least one reviewer will likely be from a different field/department. Suggested layout: one-inch margins, single-spaced text in a 10 - 12 sized font. 

Plans for Future Funding and Justification of Financial Need (1 page)
The applicant should report their current funding situation and provide a brief statement justifying financial need for the award and future plans for external funding during the duration of the thesis/dissertation/capstone project.

Résumé or CV (Limit of 4 pages)
Include previous and current research experience, professional accomplishments (i.e., awards, honors, publications, presentations). ** Applicants are strongly encouraged to mention their qualifications (coursework; methods; linguistic competence; previous experience; etc.) for the proposed project. **

Two (2) letters of recommendation, of which one letter must be from the faculty mentor who will direct the project. The student must include all forms and documents and submit them electronically to the Director of Graduate Studies or designated staff of their degree program. The DGS will review the application and submit it to the Graduate College by the submission deadline. [NEW! Past competitions required three letters.]

Incomplete applications, and those exceeding the page limits, will not be considered. Students do NOT submit materials directly to the Graduate College.


Please visit the Graduate College Fellowship and Awards Deadline page.

*NOTE:  Your department/program has to review all student requests prior to submitting the documents to the Graduate College by the deadline of 4 p.m. (CST) on October 6, 2017. Consult with your program to determine its internal deadline.


The following is a link to general forms used for all fellowships. Use only those labeled for the Chancellor's Research Award.)

Forms that the applicant and faculty mentor must complete to apply for this award.

Information/forms for Directors of Graduate Studies/program submitters (Bluestem protected)

Awards and Student Loans  

Accepting an award may affect federal student loan or work-study eligibility. For example, students with awards may not be able to receive federal loans, or may alter your existing loan package. Check with the Office of Student Financial Aid on eligibility requirements.

Students who accept an award but have already received a refund from a federal loan for the current year may have to pay back the loan refund. Contact the Office of Student Financial Aid for further information.

If applying for loans and/or work-study, a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be completed. See the Graduate Student Guide from the Office of Student Financial Aid for more information.

The Graduate College cannot provide tax advice. Note that the award is reported on the 1098-T form.


Benn Williams, Fellowships and Awards Coordinator,