Graduate Research Grant

The Graduate Research Grant (GRG) is intended to help PhD and MFA students, in historically underfunded disciplines meet expenses related to scholarly research and creative endeavors.

Deadline

  • Monday, October 2, 2017 11:59 pm (letters of recommendation due Friday, October 6, 11:59 pm)
  • Monday, January 22, 2018 11:59 pm (letters of recommendation due Friday, January 26, 11:59 pm)
  • Monday, April 16, 2018, 11:59 pm (letters of recommendation due Friday, April 20, 11:59 pm)

Eligibility

PhD and MFA students in the following schools/disciplines:

  • Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences (humanities and social sciences projects)
  • School of Education and Social Policy
  • School of Communication (humanities and social science projects)
  • School of Music
  • Clinical Psychology (social science projects) 

At the time of application, PhD students must have completed at least 3 quarters of full-time, full tuition registration. (An exception may be made for students who will commence working on the project in the summer after their first year). MFA students must have completed at least 1 quarter of full-time registration.

Students who have exceeded the time limitation for their degree are not eligible.

A student may receive only one grant equivalent to $3,000 (or multiple grants whose cumulative total may not exceed $3,000) under this program during his or her graduate career at Northwestern. Applicants who have applied before and have not received an award may apply again.

Awards will not be granted for retroactive payments.

Awards will not fund projects/expenses that don’t relate to the student’s research/creative work, nor will they fund seminars/skills-building not related to the dissertation or overall scholarly project.

Students may utilize grant funds only while students in The Graduate School at Northwestern. Should students graduate or otherwise depart the University prior to completion of the project and/or expenditure of funds, funds must be returned to The Graduate School.

Award

The maximum award amount for a student over the course of his or her graduate career at Northwestern is $3,000.

Awards are for a twelve-month period (beginning from the date funds are awarded) and require that a final report be submitted at the end of the award period. Recipients of grants are determined at the quarterly meetings of the University Research Grant Committee (URCC). Decisions are based on the committee’s final evaluations and the availability of funds.

Awards are announced at the end of the quarter and available starting the quarter following the application deadline.

This is a competitive award. More applications are received than can be funded.

Review Process and Criteria

All applications are reviewed by a faculty committee. Applications are evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Impact of project. 
    • The impact of the project on the field and the impact on the author’s own research or creative work
    • The likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence in the field
    • For creative projects, plan and aims for the medium-specific impact (ways in which the work will reach and affect audience, community, and/or field) 
  • Significance of the project: 
    • How the project addresses an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field
    • Potential for knowledge, technical capability, and/or practice to be improved
    • Potential for successful completion of project to influence the concepts, methods, technologies, or interventions that drive this field 
    • For creative projects, contribution to artistic field and place of the project in the applicant’s current work and future trajectory
  • Innovation of the project: 
    • How the project challenges and seeks to shift current research paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches/methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions
    • Refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions
    • Originality of the project
  • Approach and feasibility:
    • Feasibility of work plan, budget, schedule and project outline
    • Overall strategy, methodology, and/or analyses are well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project 
    • Potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success are presented 
    • Applicant is capable of completing the proposed work given their level of training and as evidenced by prior work and letters of recommendation 
  • Letters of recommendation indicating academic/research performance and potential.
    • Recommendation letter addresses the specific proposal/project

Application Instructions

Please note that grantees are responsible for obtaining all regulatory approvals. TGS does not check compliance and funding does not imply any approval of research practices (such as those involving human subjects or animal care and use.)

The materials described below must be submitted by the deadline via The Graduate School online grant/fellowship application tool.

1. Description of the project

Must be in PDF format and may not exceed five pages, double-spaced:

  • The description should present the conception, definition and organization of the work and plan of study. Include information about sources used, the thesis and the interpretive stance of the research.
  • The applicant should include a statement that articulates the anticipated impact of the work (on the field, community, and/or audience).
  • If the grant is for work on the dissertation, include a chapter outline and a summation of progress to date, such as research already completed or chapters already drafted. If the grant is for work leading to the MFA thesis, include an overall project plan and summation of progress to date.
  • The description of the proposed project should be written in plain language, free of jargon. Committee members who may not have specialized knowledge of an applicant’s area of study.
  • Endnotes, references, or pictures do not count toward the 5-page limit, but may not exceed two additional pages.
  • Artists submitting a proposal for a creative project must also include work samples from the artistic medium in which they normally work.  These samples may be either from past work or from the creative work in progress (for which a proposal is being submitted). The proposal should illuminate what the grant reviewer is meant to note when looking at these samples.  See the guidelines below for submitting samples of creative work. Creative work samples do not count toward the 5-page limit, but carry their own limitations, outlined below.*

2. Itemized budget

Itemize the estimated expenses using the budget worksheet. Budget worksheet must be saved as a PDF in order to upload to the online grant/fellowship application tool. 

Allowable costs include:

  • Essential travel. Travel must be for well-defined research, creative and/or field work related directly to the proposed project, using the least expensive mode of transportation and accommodation. Airfares must be for economy class travel. Per diem and lodging should be listed separately. Funded graduate students who are receiving a regular stipend are not typically eligible for per diem and lodging.  If you are requesting such items, please fully justify how these expenses are outside of your regular cost of living and/or not supported by your stipend.      
    • Acquisition of research materials unavailable locally or via microfilms, photographs, photocopies, etc.
    • Payment for services. On rare occasions, funds may be approved to reimburse subjects from outside the University for tests and experiments or to pay technical or clerical aides if their services are essential to the research project. Decisions about whether payment for services will be permitted will be based on the justification provided by the applicant for why the service is essential and why the work cannot be done by the applicant themselves.  The budget should include specifics of how the individuals providing services will be identified, who they are, how they will be selected, and the specific rate of compensation. 
    • Artistic supplies beyond what would be considered normal and customary in the field.
    • Construction, rental or purchase of special equipment not available on campus. The possibility of renting or leasing (rather than purchasing) such items as audiovisual and photographic equipment should be explored. All merchandise purchased with University funds is the property of the University.

Non-Allowable Costs:

  • Tuition fees
  • Costs of preparing the dissertation
  • Travel to professional meetings, including symposia, conferences, colloquia, summer institutes, and seminars
  • Travel to consult with members of the dissertation committee
  • Retroactive charges for expenditures incurred or committed prior to review and approval of the GRG application
  • Computers or other electronic devices. Such devises are generally used for many different activities/projects and/or for personal use and therefore are not allowable.  In specific situations, the purchase of computers or other electronic devices required specifically for the conduct of the proposed research may be allowed.  In such cases, the proposed cost must be well-justified in the budget and proposal and the applicant must indicate how the device will be used solely or primarily for the research/project in question.

Applicants must list any other applications, either funding or pending, to support the proposed project.  Any changes in the status of pending funding must be communicated to gradfund@northwestern.edu

3. Curriculum vitae (in the format specified by this template, saved as a PDF)


4. Unofficial Northwestern transcript (PDF)


5. Letter of recommendation

  • Submitted by a faculty member best qualified to comment upon the student's academic/research performance and potential (typically the advisor).
  • The letter of recommendation must address the specific proposal.
  • When submitting the application via the online application tool, applicants will have an opportunity to invite a faculty member to submit a letter of recommendation. (Note: Faculty member must be invited using their primary Northwestern email address.) See the "Deadline" section, above, for recommendation letter deadlines. Applicants should notify the intended letter-writer in advance of entering their name in the online application tool.  Applicants can check the status of the recommendation letter or change the recommender via the online application tool. 

Applicants resubmitting an application

If your application was denied in a previous cycle, include the following:

  • Include a point-by-point response to the reviewers’ comments. This can be up to one page included in the research description, but does not count against the page limitation. 

Resubmitted proposals that do not conform to these requirements will be returned without review.

Contact

Email Kate Veraldi for more information.

*Guidelines for Including Work Samples to Accompany Proposals for Creative Projects

Cinema and Media

  • Filmmakers, videographers and artists working in film, video and media should submit one sample of a film, video or new media work (no longer than 5 minutes).
  • Note whether the sample is a complete work or an excerpt and what role (director, co-director, writer, etc.) you played in creating the piece.
  • If desired, submit a 75-word description with the work sample.

Creative and Dramatic Writing:

  • Fiction, creative non-fiction and other creative prose writers (including writers of graphic novels) should submit a complete work or excerpt of no more than 5, double-spaced pages total (including any images, if working in mixed-media/graphic language arts).
  • Poets should submit no more than 5, single-spaced pages of their work.
  • Screenwriters and playwrights should submit up to a 5-page writing sample of a play, screenplay or teleplay (either a complete work or an excerpt of one or more works).
  • Note whether the sample is a complete work or an excerpt, and whether the work is finished or in progress.
  • If desired, submit a 75-word description with the work sample.

Performance and Theatre:

  • Directors and performers should submit a portfolio of recent work in the form of a PDF or PowerPoint presentation (no more than 10 images) or audio/video files (no more than 5 minutes in duration) that may be accessed on the internet. 
  • Directors working on devised pieces or adaptations may instead submit a writing sample, following the guidelines for the relevant discipline as described above.
  • Note whether the sample is a complete work or an excerpt, whether the work is finished or in progress, and what role (director, co-director, writer, etc.) you played in creating the piece.
  • If desired, submit a 75-word description with the work sample.

Visual Arts:

  • Visual artists should submit a portfolio of recent work in the form of a PDF or PowerPoint presentation. This may include up to 10 images and/or links to digital or audio files—totaling no more than 5 minutes in duration—that may be accessed on the internet.
  • Note whether the sample is a complete work or an excerpt, and whether the work is finished or in progress.
  • If desired, submit a 75-word description along with the work sample.