Provost’s Graduate Research Award
The 2021 competition is now live! (There will be no extension of the deadline.)
For the fall 2021 research award competitions, the Graduate College encourages scholarship addressing discrimination, inequality, and health disparities in communities of color. For the PGRA, we are particularly interested in these themes vis-à-vis the study of cancer and cancer-like conditions. The competition is not, however, limited to the above research areas.
Doing research during a global pandemic: If an applicant's proposed project will require travel (e.g., visiting an archive, conducting interviews) or may otherwise be impacted by travel and/or public health restrictions—whatever those might be—then the applicant should address this fact transparently and demonstrate awareness of contingencies.
The Provost’s Graduate Research Award seeks to maximize our impact. We envision that the PGRA will be a steppingstone to larger external funding awards.
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 15-20 projects. Awards will be $5,000 paid out over five months: February 16-June 16, 2022.
(NB: They are processed as awards to the student, not grants; no tuition waiver is attached.)
- 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.
- 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.
- Inter- and multi-disciplinarity are encouraged, but not required.
- 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.
- 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 graduate program must be under the auspices of the Graduate College. Ineligible programs include (but are not limited to) DMD, DPharm, DPT, DrPH, LLM, JD, MBA, MD, MEng, and MPH (unless in a joint-degree in an eligible program). Past winners are not eligible.
- 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.
Procedure:Reviewers of the applications will consist of faculty members appointed by the Dean of the Graduate College. There is no standing committee. Approximately three reviewers will be assigned to each application. Reviewers evaluate applications using the eligibility and selection criteria. (These anonymized evaluations will be shared with the applicant to bolster subsequent external funding applications.) The reviewers will make recommendations to the Graduate College, which determines the final recipients.
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; this is a supplemental award.
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.
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 below for details.
DGS Transmittal Form
The Director of Graduate Studies completes this brief form. See below.
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.
Statement of Research Goals and Project Description (2 pages single-spaced)
Applicants should include these sections in their statement:
- Background to place the research problem in context and the significance of the research project in the field. (~1/3 page)
- Overarching project or question (this might be the thesis/dissertation topic). (~1/3 page)
- Specific aims of research in funded period. (~1/3 page)
- 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. These confidential documents should be sent to the DGS or staff for collation and inclusion in the application.
The Director of Graduate Studies reviews the application package electronically submitted to the program by the student. The DGS completes the Director of Graduate Studies Transmittal Form (fillable form), adding it as the cover page. The PDF file must be submitted to the Graduate College using the secure Box email link. [Provost.email@example.com]
- Save the forms/documents listed above as one single PDF per nominee.
- 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_2020_Hist_BaudelaireC.pdf
- Do not use spaces in the pdf name.
- *NOTE: The department/program reviews and submits documents to the Graduate College prior to the deadline. Student should consult their program regarding internal deadlines.
WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED BY DECEMBER 2nd
frequently asked questions
1. Which terminal master’s degree programs are eligible? For this competition, UIC’s terminal master’s programs are: Architecture (MArch; MS); Architecture in Health Design (MS); City Design (MCD); Civic Analytics (MS); Design Criticism (MA); Biomedical Visualization (MS); Environmental & Urban Geography (MA); Forensic Science (MS); Forensic Toxicology (MS); French and Francophone Studies (MA); Graphic and Industrial Design (MDes); History (MAT); Latin American & Latino Studies (MA); Moving Image, New Media Arts, Photography, Studio Arts (MFAs); Museum and Exhibition Studies (MA); Occupational Therapy (MS); Spanish (MAT). Students in professional programs and/or programs not under the auspices of the Graduate College are ineligible.
2. Are international students eligible? Yes.
3. How/where do I submit? See the email button at the bottom of this page. If your email client is not configured correctly, right-click for the email address.
4. Is there a naming convention for the single PDF? Of course! PGRA_2021_PgmAbbrev_LastnameF.pdf, e.g., PGRA_2021_Hist_BaudelaireC.pdf for Chuck Baudelaire, a fictional doctoral student in History.
5. How many nominees can our program put forward? Currently, there is no maximum.
6. Do evaluators provide feedback? Indeed, this is the rare funding mechanism in which we expect evaluators to provide qualitative feedback.
7. Is the award taxable? It may be; however, we are not tax experts. Visit https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p970.pdf for more information.
8. I’m a prospective donor and wish to underwrite this competition — can you help me? Of course. Contact Benn Williams, Fellowships and Awards Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional questions? Contact Benn Williams, Fellowships and Awards Coordinator, email@example.com with any questions.
DEADLINE for submission by the student’s academic program: 4 P.M., OCTOBER 15th (Central Time).
Pillars of Faith
Colonialist and imperialist fantasies often envision archaeological sites as ruins, evoking abandonment in the popular imagination and a perceived distance from modernity, thus erasing indigenous voices for whom these sites are sacred and/or religious. In my study of 15th-19th century mosques, I find that most Early Modern mosques in Java have been in continuous use since their construction centuries ago. Built by early Muslims who likely existed in dispersed diasporas amongst a backdrop of Hindu-Buddhist political and religious majorities, these early mosques have since been renovated and expanded to fit the needs of their current congregations. However, in most cases, the soko guru––massive teak pillars that form the original foundations of the entire mosque––still stand. While the numerous renovation events offer unique analytical challenges to archaeologists, the “lived” nature of these mosques allow insights into how religious spaces were used centuries ago. This picture was taken at Masjid Agung Sang Cipta Rasa, a 15th century mosque located in Cirebon, West Java, where thousands of people from all over Java still visit every day as pilgrims. This picture, and my research, would not be possible without the generous help of colleagues and friends from the anthropology department at UIC, Universitas Indonesia, and the caretakers of the many mosques we visited together.PhD student, Anthropology (PGRA-funded)|