Challenge Grants

Graduate Student Challenge Grants

The 2013-2014 Graduate Student Challenge Grants: Building
Research Partnerships Across Disciplines

We are pleased to announce the Graduate Student Challenge Grants: Building Research Partnerships Across Disciplines. For the last several years we have had remarkable success with this program. These awards are up to $5000 per research team and are being made available through the USF Office of Graduate Studies and the Office of Research & Innovation. These are one-year projects and are available to both master's and doctoral students (unfortunately MD students are not included). We highly encourage master's students to apply.

NEW!!! No student can serve as a member of the group or lead a challenge grant more than twice. No student can serve as a member or lead a group in two consecutive years. If you are enrolled in a dual-degree program it is highly recommended that at least one other member of your group be enrolled in a college not part of the dual-degree program.

It is very important that students develop research skills that will allow them to excel in their chosen fields. It is part of the mission and strategic plans of USF, a top research university, and the Office of Graduate Studies to build leaders through excellence in graduate education-and this must include exemplary research. In today’s world, problems that need to be solved require multiple perspectives and thus collaboration among scholars from a variety of disciplines.

Each proposal must be submitted by a team of four (and only four) graduate students, where at least two of the students are from two different colleges. Please note different departments/schools within one college (such as different Schools in the College of Arts and Sciences) will not suffice-the proposal must show two DIFFERENT COLLEGES. The more colleges involved the better. All projects must be signed and approved by the student mentors and each College Associate Dean for Research indicating approval of the project. Proposals must clearly advance students’ academic programs. For example, the proposed projects may serve as pilot studies for graduate-level projects, theses, or dissertations. You may utilize Blackboard and look under Organizations to find the USF Office of Graduate Studies. All graduate students have access to this site. There you will be able to communicate with other graduate students to find team members for this project or to discuss issues with your team once it is created. You may communicate through the Blog or Discussion Board. Remember to keep all communication proper and courteous. This has been used very successfully in the past.

The proposals must be submitted in one of the following topic areas:

  • Neuroscience
  • Sustainability of populations and/or the environment
  • Diabetes and autoimmune disorders
  • Partnerships with industry (These awards could compete for I-4 Technology Corridor funding)
  • Global (International) research
  • The Arts

We are looking for innovative and creative projects-so think outside the box!!

Proposals that do not comply with the criteria below will not be scored.

Proposals must not be longer than 6 pages, use New Times Roman Font Size 12, be double-spaced, and have one inch margins. The abstract and reference pages are not included in the page limit. Proposal must contain the following sections clearly labeled:

  • Project Title
  • Listing of All researchers with programs and colleges/departments noted and the ROLE of each person on the project-a leader must be designated. Each person must also provide his/her email address and phone number.
  • Identification of the Project Topic Area (choose from the 6 listed above) and its Broad Significance-this must be very clear to the reviewers
  • One-paragraph abstract (no more than 150 words)
  • Background and Significance
  • Research Objectives
  • Research Methods
  • Project Timeline that clearly shows the project can be completed within one year
  • Evaluation Plan
  • Disclosure as to how this project may or may not overlap or be part of theses/dissertation research
  • Detailed Budget with Budget Justification. The Budget may only be used for necessary supplies and travel reimbursements related directly to the project. No salaries or consultation fees are paid with these funds. Incentives for research participants are allowed but must follow the rules of the university.
  • A reference page must be attached.
  • Review and Approval by student College mentors (may or may not be the advisor) and the College Associate Dean for Research must be included. If the mentor and College Associate Dean are the same this must be noted. Use this approval page for signatures and attach the approval pages to the proposal. It is expected that all individuals signing the form have REVIEWED the proposal.

The following criteria will be used to score the proposals:

  • Significance of the Project to the Field and Topic Area - 30 points
  • Research Approach - 30 points
  • Innovation - 20 points
  • Interdisciplinary Design - 15 points
  • Ability to Advance Academic Programs - 5 points

Students are encouraged to attend the Office of Graduate Studies workshops on how to develop research projects before submitting the proposals. Information about our workshops with handouts can be found on our website at Proposals will be scored by a faculty committee comprised of representatives from the Graduate Council Policy and Fellowship Committee. It is anticipated that approximately 7-8 teams will be funded. It is important that necessary IRB and other necessary approvals are obtained for projects that require this information.

A progress report and presentation is due six months from the start-date and a final report is due upon conclusion along with a PowerPoint presentation given to your mentors, Departments, Colleges, the Office of Graduate Studies, Provost Office and the Office of Research and Innovation. You may also be asked to participate in various research and academic related events throughout the year.

We look forward to receiving your projects! Please submit all projects electronically to Dr. Karen Liller, Dean of the Office of Graduate Studies and Associate Vice President for Research & Innovation at The due date is October 26, 2012.

Notification of awards will be made in early to mid-December, 2012.

Good Luck with your scholarly pursuit of these awards!

*If additional funds are needed, these need to be secured from the students' academic departments.

2013 2014 Graduate Student Challenge Grants and Sample Abstracts

2012 2013 Graduate Student Challenge Grants and Sample Abstracts (PDF)