Graduate Student Council Research Grants - 2019


Key Dates   

RFA Announced:                 November 27, 2018
Applications Due:                February 4, 2019, by 5:00 pm
Awards Announced:            Week of March 26

GSC Grants Workshops:     Various times in January

View workshop schedule and sign up at:


Through this RFA, the Graduate Student Council (GSC) solicits applications from currently enrolled graduate students in any discipline. GSC Research Grants are funded by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) and the Graduate School (hereafter, “the UM Sponsors”).

Program Goals

  1. Increase marketability, competitiveness, and graduate/postgraduate opportunities of UM graduate students by helping them develop a record of writing and winning grants.
  2. Increase the number of proposals from, and awards for, UM students to fund graduate research, study, and creative scholarship.
  3. Expand the ability of UM graduate students to conduct research, creative, or innovation projects to a degree that would not be possible with departmental funds alone.

Timeline and Funding

        The Sponsors will award up to twenty grants of up to $1,000 each in Spring 2019 for projects to be conducted between May 2019 and April 2020. Applications requesting more than $1,000 will be returned without review, as will those with total project costs exceeding $1,000 that fail to list the committed sources (departmental, personnel, etc.) of funding for costs above the $1,000 grant.

          Each application will contain two main parts: a proposal to conduct a project at UM (the GSC project); and a proposal to prepare and submit an application to an appropriate External Funding Opportunity that the applicant has identified. The awarded funds will be spent on the GSC project. However, as a condition of the award, the Awardee will also be required to prepare and submit between May 2019 and April 2020 a compliant, on-time application to the identified External Opportunity. Thus, development of the application for the External Opportunity will happen in parallel with the execution of the GSC project. The two may be related, but do not have to be.

Principal Investigator (PI) Eligibility

UM (Oxford) graduate students from any discipline that conducts research, creative scholarship, or innovation activities are eligible to apply, as long as they are enrolled in good standing in their respective programs, and are planning to be enrolled in the summer or fall 2019 semesters. Applicants must attend one offering of the one-hour GSC Grants workshop that has been scheduled for three dates in December and January. Students view the workshop schedule and sign up at Previous GSC Grant recipients who have completed those projects and submitted final reports may apply again. The graduate student/applicant will be the Principal Investigator on the project. No more than one graduate student may serve as a PI per application/award, and each graduate student may submit only one application.

Part II. The Funding

Eligible costs

Funds may be used for research or presentation supplies, travel directly related to field research, participant support costs, equipment that will be owned by the university, and costs directly related to essential technical support.

Examples of ELIGIBLE costs include (but are not limited to):

  • Research supplies, such as chemicals, sample bags, software etc.
  • Presentation supplies & contracted expenses (e.g.: poster-board, printing charges)
  • Travel expenses related for field work
  • Upgrades to existing university computers (memory, graphics cards)
  • Gift cards to incentive research study participation
  • Wages and fringes for undergraduate student research assistants
  • Transcription services
  • Computing devices that will be owned by the university

Ineligible costs

GSC Research funds may NOT be applied to educational expenses, travel to professional meetings/conferences, self-education projects/programs, or food for persons. Generally, the award amount will not be enough to buy equipment. However, there are some categories of items that the university considers equipment regardless of purchase price (  Any purchased equipment will need to be tagged for inventory purposes by the Office of Procurement services, and added to the equipment inventory of the student’s academic department.  Applicants must demonstrate in their proposal budgets and budget justifications that they understand all applicable UM procurement and spending policies and guidelines, and, along with their Advisors and Departmental Points of Contact, must exercise responsibility for ensuring all expenditures comply with UM Policy. (To learn about procurement policies and guidelines, see Applicants with questions about eligible costs may direct those questions to the GSC Point of Contact listed in Part VI of this RFA; award recipients may direct their cost questions to their Advisor or Departmental Point of Contact.

Part III.  The Application

General Rules

Applications must have at least 1” inch margins on all sides, and should use Times New Roman or Arial, font size 12 for all narrative text. Smaller text sizes may be used for tables and graphics, so long as they are still legible. Incomplete, late, improperly formatted, or otherwise noncompliant applications will be returned without review.



Content and Form of Application

Application Document Consisting of the following sections:

Summary (1 page maximum)

The summary should consist of three clearly labeled sections: 1) Overview (1-4 sentences summarizing who you are, including graduate program and your standing and year in the program, and what you are going to do in your GSC project); 2) Intellectual Merit (summarizing why the project is important to the field itself, and any methods to be used); and 3) External Opportunity (summarizing the external opportunity that you will apply to, including sponsor name, program name, and application due date, and how it will benefit your academic career).  These applications will be reviewed by UM faculty and staff who may have generally relevant knowledge, but will rarely be experts in your particular field.  Write in a way that is understandable to those in other disciplines, define terms where necessary, explain issues clearly, and proofread carefully.

GSC Project Research Strategy: (4 pages maximum)
Describe the research project. You may include such information as: the overall goal of the work, the two or three objectives or specific aims for this project, the methodology to be employed, any activities to be undertaken, the significance and relevance to the field and to your academic career, the novelty of the approach, how you intend to disseminate the results, risks and mitigation strategies, and/or any broader impacts to society or the institution anticipated. Briefly list any facilities, equipment or other resources you will have at your disposal (and intend to use) in the completion of the described project.
GSC Project Deliverables and Timeline (1 page maximum)

List any items, products, accomplishments, findings, results, and/or disseminations that you expect to result from your project. Give a timeline illustrating in what months or quarters of the award year (between May 2019 and April 2020) you plan for the efforts supported by the grant to be carried out.

GSC Project Budget and Budget Justification (1 page maximum)

Detailed Budget
List supplies, commodities, travel, and other research related expenses you are requesting and the estimated cost of each. Pay careful attention to ensure all proposed expenses are compliant with this RFA and with the University’s spending and reimbursement policies.      

Budget Justification

Include a paragraph describing why each of these costs is necessary for the project.

Current and Pending Support

Detail all sources of current or committed funding (including graduate assistantships) to conduct this project. For proposed projects whose total costs exceed $1,000, show how the additional costs (over the $1,000 GSC award) will be met.

External Opportunity Overview: (1-2 pages)

Describe the external opportunity that you plan to apply for. This could be a scholarship, a graduate or post-graduate fellowship, or some other type of grant to the institution that will result in an opportunity for you, perhaps through a graduate assistantship. Be sure to include all of the following information, where applicable: sponsor name, program name, due date, type of funding (e.g., scholarship, fellowship, grant, etc.), maximum amount of award (and how much you plan to ask for), eligible costs (for what you are allowed to use the money), who receives the award (the student or the institution), who submits the application (the student or the institution), eligibility requirements, anticipated duration of the award (start and end dates), review criteria, anticipated number of awards, and any other relevant information we should be aware of. Please provide a URL link to the opportunity, and also tell us how you learned about the external opportunity.

External Opportunity Plan (1-3 pages)

Describe your plan for competing for this opportunity. You may wish to include such information as: an overview of the project or theme of your proposal/application (which may or may not be directly related to the proposed GSC Research Project); a timeline for developing and submitting your proposal; a draft plan for how you will spend the award money, in accordance with the opportunity guidelines; and how this opportunity, if funded, will impact your own academic or career trajectory, whether at University of Mississippi, some other institution, or beyond. If a graduate advisor is required, who will serve as yours?

Results From Prior GSC Grants (1 page maximum)
For past recipients only. Tell the title, dates, and advisor of the previous GSC grant, the status and amount of funds spent/reimbursed, and whether the project was completed and final reports submitted. Summarize the results of the project, in terms of activities, findings, and dissemination of results (presentations given, articles submitted or published, conference presentations given or accepted, etc.) Your final report(s) from any previous GSC grant may be a source for preparing this section.
References Cited: (no page limit)

Use the citation style that is customary in your discipline (APA, MLA, etc.) and be consistent.

Biographical Sketch: (Suggested: 2 pages)
Include a biographical sketch—preferably in the prescribed format of the sponsor of your identified External Funding Opportunity; if no such format is prescribed, you might consider using the NIH format or the NSF format. The NSF-style biographical sketch, for example, includes sections for: Professional Preparation, Appointments (including graduate assistantships), Products (including publications), and Synergistic Activities. Be sure to reference and follow the online guidelines for whichever biosketch style you choose—do not just freestyle it.

Terms of Agreement Form

Completed and signed by the Applicant, the Advisor, and any other Departmental Point of Contact for financial administration (e.g., the Chairperson’s Administrative Assistant).

Submission Requirements

All applications must be submitted by the posted deadline via the InfoReady Review Portal (hereafter simply “the Portal”) at First time InfoReady users will need to register for an InfoReady account using your or e-mail account. Once signed in to the Portal, select “Graduate Student Council (GSC) Grants 2019” under the “Student Competitions” category of Open Competitions, then click the Submit Application button to initiate your application. Complete all require proposal components, combine them into one PDF, and upload the PDF, then click Submit Application before the deadline. When your proposal has been accepted for review by the GSC, you will receive an e-mail acknowledgement.

Part IV. The Review

Review and Selection Process

The GSC will perform a preliminary review of the applications for completeness and compliance. Incomplete and noncompliant applications will be declined by the GSC and not forwarded on for scoring. Compliant applications will be accepted by GSC and passed along to the UM Sponsors, who will in turn assign each application to at least two faculty reviewers drawn from the same broad discipline as (but a different home department from) the applicant: 1) Arts, Humanities, Journalism & New Media; 2) Social Sciences and Education; 3) Business, Law, and Accounting; 4) Physical and Life Sciences; and 5) Math, Computer Science, and Engineering. Once the reviews and scoring are complete, the UM Sponsors will select which applications to fund, based on the scores of the reviewers and the disciplines represented. The UM Sponsors will notify the GSC of the accepted applicants, and the GSC will let the applicants know the results of the competition. All applicants will then be able to use the Portal to review the scores and any comments provided by the reviewers, whose identities will not be shared with the applicants.

Review Criteria (maximum of 50 points)

GSC Research Project: Merit (10 points)

Does the narrative make a compelling case that the proposed work will advance knowledge and understanding in a way that complements, or fills a gap in, work that has come before? What is the novelty or originality of the proposed work?

GSC Research Project: Soundness of Plan (10 points)

Does the narrative make a compelling case that the project will be completed as proposed within the project period, using the resources available? Are potential risks identified, and are contingencies in place to mitigate those risks?

Overall Clarity (10 points)

Are all aspects of the proposal compelling, easy to understand by non-experts in the field, and grammatically correct?

External Opportunity: Merit (5 points)

Is it clear that the applicant has researched and understands all the key requirements of the external opportunity? Is the opportunity appropriate for the student’s stage and program of study?


External Opportunity: Soundness of Plan (10 points)

Given what was written, how likely does it seem that the student will be able to develop and submit an on-time, compliant application or proposal? How competitive is the proposal likely to be? 


Biosketch (5 points)

Is it clear what format the applicant was writing their biosketch in? Is it appropriate for the external funding opportunity being targeted? How compliant does the biosketch appear to be with the prescribed format? How complete and compelling is the biosketch?

Part V. The Award

Accessing Grant Funds

Upon award notification, an ORSP Accounting Point of Contact will set up the award and draft an award document, which will be fully executed upon signature by the applicant/awardee, their Advisor, and the Director of Research Development. Award funds will be maintained and managed by the Advisor or a Departmental Point of Contact on behalf of the Awardee.  Recipients may access these funds by presenting receipts for reimbursement. Items submitted for reimbursement must be acceptable both within the award budget/award document, and within UM Procurement rules and policies. If ever there is a discrepancy between what the award document says funds can be spent on, and what UM policy says, UM policy will supersede the award document. For more information about university-allowable costs, see UM Procurement Services at, or ask your Advisor or other Departmental Point of Contact. For travel, the recipient should work with the Departmental Point of Contact to ensure proper authorizations are in place at least five days before the travel takes place. The project period will be clearly stated within the award document, but in general, will start no earlier than May 1, 2019, and end no later than April 30, 2020. Any unspent award balances as of July 31, 2020, will be reclaimed by ORSP. For additional information, see the agreement document or contact the Departmental Point of Contact. Awardees who experience administrative difficulties that cannot be solved in a timely manner by their Advisor or Departmental Point of Contact should seek assistance from Dr. Robert Doerksen, Associate Dean of the Graduate School.


All awardees will be required to present a 1-2 page mid-term progress report, highlighting progress made on the project and expenses incurred, to the GSC point of contact by December 15th, 2019, and a final report by April 30, 2020. The GSC will share these reports with the Graduate School and ORSP by May 15, 2020, and serve as the collecting agent for overdue reports. Awardees with unfinished projects as of April 30, 2020 should submit a progress report by that time, and request a no-cost extension to complete the project no later than July 31, 2020, at which time the final report will be due.


Recipients will be required to participate in the UM Three Minute Thesis Competition, organized by the Graduate School, in Fall 2019 and Fall 2020 (if enrolled). Recipients will also be required to present a poster in the Spring 2020 Graduate Research Symposium organized by the GSC, if enrolled.


Any publications resulting from GSC-sponsored research should include an appropriate acknowledgement of receipt of a University of Mississippi Graduate Student Council Research Grant Copies of all such publications and news of all such events and presentations should be included with the final progress report, to be sent to the GSC Point of Contact.

Part VI. Contact Information

The GSC Point of Contact for this program will be the GSC Secretary
(, who will route questions within the GSC. All student questions to the UM sponsors should be directed to the GSC Point of Contact. The UM Point of Contact for issue escalation and resolution is Dr. Robert Doerksen, Associate Dean of the Graduate School (

Part VII: Application Checklist

A completed application packet consists of the following components/documents, each of which should be uploaded into the Portal:

The Application Document

One PDF file, as detailed in Part III, Section 2, including:

  • Summary (1 page)
  • GSC Project Research Strategy (4 pages)
  • GSC Project Deliverables and Timeline (1 page)
  • GSC Project Budget and Budget Justification (1 page)
  • External Opportunity Overview (1-2 pages)
  • External Opportunity Plan (1-3 pages)
  • Results from Prior GSC Grants (1 page, if applicable)
  • References Cited (no page limit)
  • Biographical Sketch (2 pages)

Signed Terms of Agreement Form

The Terms of Agreement form on the next page should be printed, signed, scanned, and uploaded to the InfoReady portal along with your other application documents.

See the attached PDF version of this announcement, which also includes the Terms and Agreement Form (last two pages):

PDF icon GSC-ResearchGrants-RFA-v7.pdf382.79 KB