The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

Guidelines and Instructions for 2017 Huck Graduate Research Innovation Grant Proposals

The graduate student grants/awards previously known as Huck Graduate Dissertation Research Grants (2015) and Huck Graduate Enrichment Awards (2014) were replaced in 2016 by the Huck Graduate Research Innovation Grants (Huck GRI Grants). Applicants for 2017 Huck GRI Grants should take care to follow the application instructions below (do not to rely on instructions from previous years).

 

Purpose of Huck GRI Grants: To recognize aspiring doctoral students who demonstrate outstanding ability to independently conceive, plan, and cogently propose important, original experiments to augment their thesis research. Awardees will each receive $5000 of research support from the Huck Institutes to be used towards their proposed experiment(s).

 

Eligibility: Applicants must be 2nd or 3rd year students in good standing in one of the 5 Huck-supported interdisciplinary life science graduate program and have permission from their thesis advisor to apply. Applicants must have passed their candidacy exams. Previous recipients of Huck GRI Grants are not eligible to apply. 

 

Submission date: on or before 6pm March 30, 2017

 

Application Requirements:  Applicants must submit a short (≤5 pages not including references) research proposal which describes and rationalizes an important, innovative experiment/set of linked experiments that represent the applicant’s original, creative synthesis. The proposed experiment(s) should:

1)     address a critically important question in the applicant’s field of study

2)     complement the student’s PhD thesis and other research in the advisor’s laboratory

3)     represent the student’s own creative synthesis and be distinct from experiments (proposed or ongoing) from the thesis advisor’s group or from collaborators

 

Declaration of Original Authorship:  Applicants and their thesis advisors must co-sign a Declaration of Original Authorship form attesting that the proposal was conceived and written by the student, that the proposed experiments are the student’s own creative synthesis, and are not part of any other grant proposal from the applicant, the advisor, or others. The student is allowed/encouraged to discuss the research objective(s) and basic plan with the advisor at an early stage to get feedback about significance, approach, and feasibility. The co-signed Declaration form (original or pdf copy) should be submitted together with the applicant’s GRI grant proposal pdf.

 

Application format (5 page limit, not counting Research References page):

1) Page 1 should begin with: title of the research proposal, applicant’s name, email address, graduate program, thesis advisor’s name

2) Proposal abstract:  ≤200 words

3) Brief summary of applicant’s PhD thesis research to date: 2-3 paragraphs, ≤200 words

4) Specific aim(s), background and justification, experimental plan, and relevant Figures or Tables

5) Interpretation and Significance of Data – brief discussion of possible outcomes, their potential significance and impact on the field

6) Budget and budget justification  

7) Research References (≤1 page, not counted as part of the 5 page limit)

 

Evaluation ProcessEach proposal will be evaluated by 3 Huck-affiliated faculty with relevant expertise. Evaluators will score the proposals with regard to each of the four evaluation criteria given below.

 

Evaluation Criteria (Evaluators will assign scores ranging from 1-5 for each of the 4 criteria):

•   Significance, cogency, and impact – Does the research proposal rigorously address an important and timely question in the field of study to which the work pertains? Is the proposal focused, logical, interesting, and cogently written? Are the experimental aims realistic and well justified? If the aims are achieved, how much impact are the results likely to have in terms of advancing knowledge, technical capability, and/or practice in the field? What is the likelihood that this research could either significantly strengthen or significantly challenge a current important paradigm in the field? How much potential does this research have to broadly impact other fields beyond the applicant’s current area of specialization?

•   Approach - Are the methodologies, experimental design, and statistical analyses adequately described and justified, technically sound, and appropriate to accomplish the aims within the funding period? Are there any experimental design flaws that detract from the proposal? Is the budget appropriate to accomplish the aims within the funding period?

•   Innovation - Is the project a creative/novel synthesis of ideas, theoretical concepts, approaches, and methodologies? Are the experiments novel/innovative? Are these innovations likely to be productively adopted/adapted by others in the field (assuming the research is published)?

•   Infrastructure/environment - is the instrumentation and technical support available to the student appropriate to ensure the research aims can be successfully accomplished?

 

Allowable use of Huck GRIP Grant funds:

·       Lab supplies, reagents, animal costs, computation costs, and facility usage fees necessary for the grantee’s proposed experiments

·       Travel to study areas and/or presentation of findings by the grantee at a national or international meeting

·       Publication fees when grantee is first author

 

Non-allowable:

·       Stipend/salary or fringe benefit expenditures

·       Lab supplies/other costs which are not specifically required for the grantee’s proposed experiments

·       Computer equipment exceeding $2000

·       Unrelated travel expenses

 

Submission Deadline:  Applications and Declaration forms should be submitted to Dr. Pam Mitchell (pjm23@psu.edu) by 6:00pm Thursday March 30, 2017. Proposals that are late or non-compliant with the above Application Format requirements will be returned without review.

 

Awarding of Funds: Awardees will be notified in early July 2017, and funds will be made available within 1 week following the announcement. Funds must be spent within 18 months and are not transferable to another institution. Requests to extend funding beyond 18 months must be made in writing and will be decided on a case-by-case