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Provost's Graduate Research Award

Announcement Date: 
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Application Deadline: 
Monday, October 15, 2018

The Provost’s Graduate Research Award (named the Chancellor's Graduate Research Award prior to Spring 2018) has been revised in an effort to maximize impact for our graduate students.

Since its inception in 2009, this graduate research award has supported multidisciplinary scholarship to expose 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 is available for pilot grants (or preliminary research) so that students can then have stronger applications for funding from external sources. We anticipate funding 35 projects. (NB: They are processed as awards to the student, not grants; no tuition waiver is attached.)

Provost’s Graduate Research Award

  1. Students’ 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.

Awards will be $5,000 paid out over five months: February 16-June 16, 2019.

  • Research and creative projects should be conceived as exploratory, 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.
  • Project’s merit and research outcome goals during period of support.
  • Plans for seeking external funding to complete the larger thesis/dissertation 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 the CV, and letters of endorsement.
Terms of Award: 

The award amount will be $5,000. There is no renewal and students may not win this award more than once regardless of the award’s name (i.e., PGRA or CGRA). Funds are disbursed directly to the student—not to the department—except in rare and specific awards for supplies/materials. Departments may NOT reduce a student's funding package as this is a supplemental award.

Nomination Procedures: 

The student collects and compiles the required documents and submits them to their academic degree program for review. The DGS will review the application and submit it to the Graduate College by the submission deadline.  Incomplete applications, and those exceeding the page limits, will not be considered. Students do NOT submit materials directly to the Graduate College.


Documents Required: 

Applications must also include all of the following:

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 from: or here with Arial font:]

DGS Transmittal Form
The Director of Graduate Studies needs to complete this brief form. [Or download from: or here with Arial font:]

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 from: or here with Arial font:]

Statement of Research Goals and Project Description (2 pages single-spaced)

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 the funding period. Include in this section a statement of why these aims/goals need to be completed for the larger thesis/dissertation project to 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 since one or more reviewers will likely be from a different field/department. Suggested layout: one-inch margins, single-spaced text in a standard 10-12 sized font. 

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

Résumé or CV (Limit of 3 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 if relevant.

Two (2) letters of recommendation, of which one letter must be from the faculty mentor who will direct the project.

Selection Procedure: 

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. 

Submission Instructions: 

The Director of Graduate Studies reviews the application package that was electronically submitted to the program by the student. The DGS completes the Director of Graduate Studies Transmittal Form (fillable PDF), adding it as the cover page. The PDF file must be submitted to the Graduate College using the secure Box email link. []

  • Save the forms/documents listed above as one single PDF per nominee. Tips on combining multiple PDF documents (updated 10 September 2010)
  • The PDF files should be saved using the following naming convention: PGRA_YearofCompetition_DepartmentName_NomineeLastNameFirstInitial.pdf   Here is an example Chuck Baudelaire's application from History: PGRA_2018_Hist_BaudelaireC.pdf
  • Do not use spaces in the pdf name.
  • *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 10, 2018 Monday, October 15th. [The deadline has been extended.] Consult with your program to determine its internal deadline. THE DEADLINE HAS PASSED.



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Please contact Benn Williams, Fellowships and Awards Coordinator, at