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Provost's & Deiss Awards for Graduate Research

Announcement Date: 
Friday, February 5, 2016
Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Graduate College’s longest-running support for research by graduate students at UIC is the Provost’s Award for Graduate Research and the W.C. and May Preble Deiss Fund for Biomedical Research Award; which are collectively called the Provost/Deiss Award. The Provost's Award is open to all graduate students currently enrolled at UIC and the Deiss Fund is for graduate students engaged in research in clinical or basic medical sciences.

Students may apply on a competitive basis for awards of $1000 to $3000 to support their research. Awards will be made in two competitions annually, once in Spring semester and once in Fall semester.


While all degree-seeking students in good academic standing in Graduate College programs would be eligible, the Provost’s 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 his or her pursuit of a particular degree. 

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. Grants will not be awarded for routine expenses, or for expenses which are ordinarily covered by other sources, such as the grant of a major advisor. Examples of allowable expenses are: 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 conferences directly in the student’s research area; expenses of conducting surveys; expenses for performances or exhibitions; expenses for extraordinary laboratory materials; access to databases or libraries; significant and unusual photocopying/scanning expenses (e.g. of archival materials); or special software essential to research. Examples of expenses which will not be allowed are: stipends, journal subscriptions, books, professional society dues, computers for routine use, travel to professional society meetings or general conferences.


Awards will be made on the basis of scholarly merit, subject to available funding. Applications may, at the committee’s or the dean’s discretion, be deferred to a later competition, or re-submissions may be invited.

The following criteria that will be used to evaluate all proposals for Provost’s Research Awards:

• 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 his or her 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: 

Budget Guidelines:

Students may apply on a competitive basis for awards up to $3000 in support of their research. Request the minimum amount that will allow you to conduct the research. Enter whole dollars only on the budget form. Be sure to justify each item fully and provide the source of your cost estimates. Allowable expenses vary according to the disciplinary area of the proposal. Recipients of awards will have approximately one calendar year in which to use their Provost’s Research Award. Note: Recipients of the award may receive less than the requested amount, if that is what is determined by the reviewers. Matching: There will be no requirement for cost-sharing with advisors, departments and disciplinary colleges for awards up to $2000. Awards in excess of $2000 require a 1:1 match, and the proposal must include letters of commitment signed by funders. [See the full announcement for details and examples]. If expenses for the proposed activity exceed the amount requested (even when no match is required) an explanation should be provided as to how the excess will be paid.

Nomination Procedures: 

There are components that the STUDENT provides and that the DEPARTMENT provides.

Documents Required: 

Applications for the award consist of several 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 are greater than $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 (not the actual letter or signature, although it may be requested from the student at a later date). 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 700 words, written by the student, outlining the proposed research and justifying expenses. The statement should be typed or pasted into the table on the form provided. 

5. Condensed CV, not to exceed two pages. The CV should be typed 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. Also, the student should contact the department to ensure it has arrived in time. The student should consult with his/her department to determine how they would like to receive the above listed documents. The forms are fillable PDFs and may be completes/saved and emailed to the department, or completed and printed and given to the department as paper. 

The department must add:  The advisor or research director’s letter of endorsement of the project (see point 6) and 

7. The Director of Graduate Studies/Department Head Approval form, which is located on the Bluestem protected section (for dgs/heads/staff) of the Graduate College website. The department will combine the file of the five items requested from the student with the two above items, make a single PDF file (named “PD_S16_deptabbr_studentLastNameFirstInitial.pdf" for example "PD_S16_HIST_GeschichteJ.pdf") and upload it through a secure link provided on the Graduate College Bluestem protected section of the website. The Graduate College must receive the upload by the deadline.

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. Winners will be announced April 21, 2016.