VIMS Student Research Grants

Request for Proposals

Deadline for submission of proposals for the 2023-24 Student Research Grants is August 31, 2023 at 11:59 p.m.

We anticipate that the maximum amount of an individual award this call will be up to $2,500, with a total of $20,000 approved for FY24 student research grants.  Funds can be requested for research supplies and equipment and analytical services in support of a student's research.  If you have questions related to the Request for Proposals, please contact [[kuehl,Steve Kuehl]].

Award Criteria

The following cannot be funded by this committee:

  1.         Fees for VIMS Dive Team membership
  2.         Short-course fees
  3.         Travel not involving scientific work (e.g., travel to and attendance of conference)
  4.          Field expenses

Proposal Submission Guidelines
  1. The proposal should have a single student as the primary investigator and proposer.
  2. Students who have received 2 or more awards in the past from the Student Research Awards Committee will receive funds only after other student proposals deemed fundable are awarded funding. Students who previously received a Student Research Award are expected to include a 1-page progress report with their application (to be placed between the application's abstract and main text). The proposal should also reference the information in the progress report.
  3. Projects proposing the use of live vertebrate animals must include a copy of the IACUC Review Request Form submitted to the Research on Animal Subjects Committee. If funded, the funds will not be released until evidence of IACUC approval is submitted to the Student Research Grants Committee.
  4. Submit proposals as pdf format email attachments to the [[academicaffairs, Office of Academic Affairs]]. The committee will meet in October to evaluate proposals. Awards will be announced at the end of October. Funds will be available immediately and must be spent in the fiscal year in which the grant was awarded. The deadline for spending is May 1 unless other arrangements have been made with the Office of Academic Studies.
  5. The criteria for selecting proposals for funding are meant to mirror those used by reviewers evaluating competitive proposals to federal agencies. These include the significance and originality of the proposed work, the organization and clarity of the proposal, and the past performance of the student. Because the members of the SRGC have varied specialties in marine science however, successful submissions must describe proposed research in a manner accessible to marine scientists outside the student investigator's specialty. Although the award can help support work proposed in the student's prospectus, it must not displace funding already received from other sources for identical work. Furthermore, the proposed work must represent ideas originating from the student; it must not be taken from another proposal initiated by anyone else (such as the student's advisor or another member of his or her research group). The proposal must also specifically identify the component of their work to be funded by this grant. Students may NOT provide their Dissertation or Thesis Prospectus as their Student Research Grant proposal. If students are asking to have a part of their Dissertation/Thesis research funded, they must clearly define how the scope of work to be funded by this grant relates to the larger context of their overall research project. The scope of the proposed work should be consistent with the funds requested.
  6. The proposal must be signed by the student's major advisor(s) in acknowledgement of their support of the proposed research.
Evaluation Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  1. Rationale and Hypothesis: Stated the research problem clearly, provided motivation for undertaking the research.
  2. Specific Aims: Provided succinct, clear, logical description of the objectives and plan of action.
  3. Background: Demonstrated sound knowledge of literature in the area, and of prior work on the specific research problem.
  4. Significance: Demonstrated the potential value of solution or contribution to the research problem in advancing knowledge within and outside the area/field of study.
  5. Research and Design Methods: Applied sound state‐of‐the‐field research methods/tools to solve the defined problem and has described the methods/tools effectively.  
  6. Results of Prior Support (if a previous awardee): Demonstrated the success of previously funded project.
  7. Quality of Written Communication: Described the proposed project clearly and professionally in written form.
  8. Critical Thinking: Demonstrated capability for independent research in the area of study, significant expertise in the area, and ability to make original contributions to the field.
  9. Budget and Budget Justification: Requested reasonable amount for the proposed work and provided appropriate justification for the itemized budget.  Provided a plan to spend the requested funds by May 1.
Proposal Format

The main body of the proposal cannot exceed 4 pages. Proposals with text exceeding 4 pages will be not be reviewed. Paginate beginning with the introduction (title and abstract pages should be unnumbered) in a footer. This page limit excludes the Title Page, Abstract, Literature Cited, Budget, student's curriculum vitae, and any figures or tables. All proposals must be single-space, using Times Roman 12 point font with 1-inch margins on all sides. Computerized spelling and grammar checks should not substitute for careful proof-reading. Include the following sections:

  1. A Title Page in the following format: Title Page Format

  2. Abstract: 1 paragraph concisely summarizing the proposal.
  3. Introduction: include essential background information (include any preliminary data), objectives/hypotheses.
  4. Materials and Methods: describe study design and methods to be used including appropriate statistics; include enough detail that the non-specialist can understand and evaluate the proposed methodologies; describe data analysis plans including statistical tests to be applied; provide detailed justification of budget.
  5. Anticipated Results: describe the types of results expected.
  6. Significance of the Proposed Work: How does the proposed study complement/extend the student's previously proposed thesis/dissertation work? How does the proposed work advance science in general?
  7. Literature Cited: List all citations referenced in the text and no others; using a consistent format that includes author, date, title, source, and pagination is more important than using a specific format.
  8. Itemized Budget and Budget Justification: Amount and purpose for money requested in this project.
  9. Research on Animal Subjects Form: Provide completed IACUC form if vertebrates will be used as experimental subjects (not counted in the 5 page limit).
  10. Curriculum Vitae: a 1- or 2-page summary including any scientific publications is required.
Amount of Awards

The Student Research Grant Fund consists of monies administered by the Office of Academic Affairs plus other secondary resources that may become available on a year-to-year basis. Student awards in past years have typically been up to $1,000-$2,000 each.  The level awarded to each successful student applicant will be up to $2,500 for FY24.  Any changes in the anticipated award level will be clearly stated in that year's Request for Proposals.