Spring 2015 April Update

During spring 2015 we’ll provide a monthly update, including upcoming events, noteworthy deadlines, tips for searching and applying for funding or other useful information. These updates are designed to provide highlights so be sure to check other resources posted to this blog for more comprehensive information.

An important component of the grant writing process is soliciting feedback on your proposal. The prospect of asking others to evaluate your work can be intimidating, for accomplished researchers and first-time applicants alike. If you learn to embrace the feedback process rather than run from it, you can use it as a tool to develop more competitive applications.

We’ve organized a few tips on receiving feedback that can help you make the process work for you rather than against you.

Think carefully about the type of feedback you need and who may be in a good position to provide that feedback. A good way of conceptualizing what type of feedback you need is to consider Global vs. Local concerns.

Global concerns are “big picture” such as your argument or clarity of purpose. It is critical to address Global concerns in early drafts, as you don’t want to revise your entire theoretical framework right before your deadline. Good people to ask for Global feedback include peers in your discipline, your faculty advisor, or writing professionals (such as staff at the UMass Writing Center). Be cautious, however, about providing your advisor with your very first draft—you may want to get some of the kinks out first by working with peers.

Local concerns are “small picture” or sentence level, such as grammar, punctuation, or citations. This tends to be the focus for feedback in later drafts, when the Global concerns have been addressed. Good people to ask for Local feedback include non-expert family or friends or, again, the staff at the Writing Center.

When you ask for feedback, provide some guidelines for your reviewer. Simply saying “tell me what you think” is unclear for the reviewer and won’t likely yield the specific attention to Global or Local concerns you seek.

When you receive feedback, assume best intentions on the part of your reviewer. It can be had to hear critique of your work, but seeking this feedback is actually a way to let others do some of the work for you.

If you seek feedback from multiple people you may receive conflicting advice. Clearly you can’t take every suggestion offered, but learn to view this as a strength of the feedback process. Evaluating what feedback to accept and what to reject forces you to develop greater clarity on your own message and purpose. Ultimately, this is your proposal and you need to be happy with the results.

As a final suggestion, seek feedback early and often in your writing process. Be sure to allow your reviewers sufficient time—as with all aspects of the writing process, plan ahead!

Thanks to our colleagues in the OPD Graduate Writing Initiative for these tips!

Upcoming Events

GRFP Informational Panel and Proposal Development Workshop
Thursday, May 22, 9am-1pm ▪ Location TBD
This workshop will provide effective strategies to prepare a competitive application for the Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). Sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), these awards provide a $32,000 annual stipend for three years to early-career graduate students. Preregistration required; registration details coming soon. 

The Office of National Scholarship Advisement will be hosting a series of events to support students interested in applying for various Fulbright competitions. Register for these events by contacting onsa@honors.umass.edu.

Fulbright Information Session
April 15, 12pm, Office of National Scholarship Advisement, Commonwealth Honors College, Events Hall East
Thinking about applying for a Fulbright year abroad?  To study or complete a research proposal?  Or teach English? The 2015-16 UMass Fulbright program kicks off with a general information session, featuring a panel with a representative from Fulbright New York and this year’s Fulbright winners.

Fulbright-Clinton Scholarship
April 15, 1:15pm, Office of National Scholarship Advisement, Commonwealth Honors College, rm 305
Graduate students in public policy fields (education, public health, public administration, communications, technology)  who are interested in spending a year working in a foreign government ministry are invited to hear more about the Fulbright-Clinton Scholarship.  Lunch served. 

Fulbright Boot Camp
May 7, 9:00am – 12pm, Office of National Scholarship Advisement, Commonwealth Honors College, Events Hall West
Get an early start on your Fulbright application by attending this three hour session to explain what Fulbright is looking for, how to maneuver through the on-line application, and how to craft your essays.

Fulbright ESOL Workshop
May 7, 1:00pm – 4:00pm, Office of National Scholarship Advisement, Commonwealth Honors College, rm 305
An introduction to the fundamentals of teaching English to foreign students to assist candidates applying for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship.

Spring 2015: March Update

During spring 2015 we’ll provide a monthly update, including upcoming events, noteworthy deadlines, tips for searching and applying for funding or other useful information. These updates are designed to provide highlights so be sure to check other resources posted to this blog for more comprehensive information.

72749_438069952943719_326566882_nEvery grant application begins with a blank page. Thinking about where to being can be daunting, but the opening paragraph of any grant application or research proposal actually follows a fairly simple formula. There are five main points to address with a sentence (or two) each:

  •  What is the focus of your research? [larger issue/topic]
  • What is the problem you will address? [complication, disruption]
  • What is the impact of this problem? [consequence]
  • How might your research contribute or help? [response]
  • Why does this matter? [potential significance]

Crafting your first paragraph with this formula provides two advantages. First, it gives you (and your reader) a roadmap for the rest of the proposal. You are essentially providing teasers for your literature review, methodology, and research impacts; when you write those sections you will already have a clear starting point.

Second, reviewers generally move quickly through applications. If your first paragraph doesn’t wow them, they may simply stop reading and move on to the next application. The first paragraph is often referred to as the “hook” paragraph because, when written well, it can hook the reader in, leaving them wanting to read more.

Here’s an example of a hook paragraph, following the formula outlined above:

Service learning experiences are becoming wide-spread in US colleges and universities. [common ground/background] However, the students who participate are predominantly Caucasian and often middle-class, while the communities they serve are largely minority groups and poor. [complication] As a result, this dominant model for service-learning programs may reproduce the race and class power dynamics in the larger society. [consequence] This study will analyze a service learning initiative, offered at a large state university, where students worked with ethnically and linguistically similar youth and communities. [response] This study will offer feasible alternatives to traditional service-learning models and thereby help disrupt the current practices which perpetuate race and class domination. [response – potential contribution to consequence]

Happy writing!

Upcoming Events
Registration information and full descriptions can be found on our Spring 2015 Events page.

  • Fellowship Opportunities for Graduate Students of Color, Thursday, April 2, 12-1:30pm, Bartlett 107, Co-sponsored by the Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR)
  • Info Session: National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, Monday, April 6, 2:30-3:30 pm, Goodell 5th Floor Lounge (outside room 538)

Upcoming Deadlines
The Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) Department in the UMass Amherst Libraries is accepting applications for fellowships in digital humanities. Graduate students from any department enrolled at UMass Amherst are eligible to apply. Fellows will receive an honorarium of $500, plus hourly compensation for 150 hours of work. Applications are due Friday, April 17, 2015; more information available here.

Du Bois Library Fellowships offer up to $2500 for four weeks in residency at UMass’s Du Bois Library. Applications are welcome from scholars researching the major themes that characterize Du Bois’s scholarship and activism, including the history and meaning of racial, social, and economic justice; the problems of democracy and political inclusion; the role of capitalism in world affairs; and the global influence of African cultures. Applicants must be U.S. citizens. Applications are due March 31, 2015; more information available here.

The US Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate Student Research Program offers funding and other forms of support for students conducting doctoral research on topics that address scientific challenges central to the Office of Science’s mission. Applications are due April 14; more information is available here.

The Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) Department in the UMass Amherst Libraries is accepting applications for fellowships in digital humanities. Graduate students from any department enrolled at UMass Amherst are eligible to apply. Fellows will receive an honorarium of $500, plus hourly compensation for 150 hours of work. Applications are due April 17, 2015; more information available here.

Wenner-Gren Dissertation Fieldwork Grants are available for research that will make a significant contribution to the field of anthropology. You do not need to be enrolled in an anthropology graduate program to apply. Grants are for up to $20,000 and are due May 1, 2015; more information available here.

Spring 2015: February Update

During spring 2015 we’ll provide a monthly update, including upcoming events, noteworthy deadlines, tips for searching and applying for funding or other useful information. These updates are designed to provide highlights so be sure to check other resources posted to this blog for more comprehensive information.

time_travelAlmost all graduate students will need funding at some point, but as you move through your graduate career your funding needs will change. It’s helpful to recognize the stages of your graduate career and the types of funding relevant for each. In general, you can break your time as a grad student into three phases: Early, Middle, and Late. These phases are most relevant to doctoral students, although Master’s students go through similar phases but on a more condensed timeline.

Early: Think of this as the pre-dissertation phase. You are taking courses, exploring potential dissertation topics, and learning the literature and research methods of your field. To support this stage, search for pre-dissertation fellowships. These generally support students (based on skills, experience, or other factors) rather than specific research projects. Funders know you are likely still lining up your dissertation research; pre-dissertation fellowships provide support for this task.

Middle: Think of this as your dissertation research phase. You likely need funds to complete this research, including purchasing equipment, travel, or living expenses in the field. To support these efforts, search for dissertation research grants. Keep these funding opportunities in mind when you consider when to seek candidacy, as some funders require you to be a PhD candidate at the time of application.

Late: Think of this as the dissertation writing phase. You likely need funds to support yourself as you complete your dissertation, so search for dissertation fellowships and dissertation writing fellowships. Keep in mind that these could include a residency requirement, particularly those sponsored by individual colleges or universities. As you search for opportunities, take note of which allow you to apply more than once. Dissertation fellowships are generally designed to support the final year of dissertation writing; many funders expect you to apply when you have truly reached this stage and limit you to only one submission.

Many external funders require at least six months to evaluate funding applications so plan to search for opportunities before you transition to a new phase of your graduate career. Organize your search results around these phases so you can easily access relevant opportunities (but keep searching to collect new opportunities as you move through these stages.)

Upcoming Events
Registration information and full descriptions can be found on our Spring 2015 Events page.

  • Pizza and Proposals Workshop, Monday, February 9, 5-7 pm ▪ Campus Center 803
  • Intro to Grant Searching, Thursday, February 26, 3-4pm ▪ Goodell 5th floor lounge (outside room 538)
  • Intro to Grant Writing, Thursday, March 5, 3-4 pm ▪ Goodell 5th floor lounge (outside room 538)

Upcoming Major Deadlines
The UMass Graduate School Dissertation Research Grant provides up to $1000 to support research-related expenses such as transcription, equipment, or travel to research sites. You must be a doctoral candidate at the time of application, in good academic standing, and currently enrolled as a graduate student at UMass Amherst. Applications are due Tuesday, March 3, 2015; more information is available here. The Feb. 9th Pizza and Proposals workshop (see Upcoming Events above) is ideal for students who intend to apply for this grant.

The UMass Center for Research on Families offers three types of awards for current UMass graduate students working on any area of family research: Dissertation fellowships; awards to attend summer Methodology Workshops; and Research Travel Awards. Applications for all awards are due Feb. 27, 2015; more information is available here.

The US Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate Student Research Program offers funding and other forms of support for students conducting doctoral research on topics that address scientific challenges central to the Office of Science’s mission. Applications are due April 14; more information is available here.

The L’Oréal USA For Women In Science Fellowship Program will provide awards for five post-doctoral women scientists in the United States this year. Awardees will receive grants of up to $60,000 each. Applicants are welcome from a variety of fields, including the life and physical/material sciences, technology (including computer science), engineering, and mathematics. Applications open Feb. 2 and are due March 20, 2015; more information is available here.

Spring 2015: January Update

During spring 2015 we’ll provide a monthly update, including upcoming events, noteworthy deadlines, tips for searching and applying for funding or other useful information. These updates are designed to provide highlights so be sure to check other resources posted to this blog for more comprehensive information.

Goodell_ElsdenJanuary is a great time to make progress on external funding tasks. Search for spring deadlines, start or complete funding applications, or develop this year’s funding to-do list. It may seem daunting to plan a year in advance but you often need to think further ahead than you expect—developing a plan now will save you time in the long-run.

For tips on using your January time efficiently, check out our blog post from last year.

January is also a good time to plan your summer. Use Grant Forward, a searchable database, to find summer research funding or internship opportunities. GSGS maintains an institutional subscription to Grant Forward; instructions on how to create an account through this subscription can be found here.

Upcoming Events
Our first spring 2015 offering of Pizza and Proposals, a workshop to generate feedback on funding application drafts, will be held Thursday, January 29, 5-7 pm. Registration is required; for more information and the registration link see our Spring 2015 Events page.

Upcoming Major Deadlines
NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants (DDRIG) in Sociology (Feb. 15) and Biological Anthropology (March 12). Note that these applications need to be processed internally by UMass—for more information contact the Office of Grant and Contract Administration (OGCA). The process looks daunting, but don’t panic! Send a message to the OGCA general email (ogca@research.umass.edu) or our office (gsgs@grad.umass.edu) if you need help figuring out where to begin.

Guggenheim Foundation Dissertation Fellowships are due Feb. 1.

The Society for Women Engineers offer a variety of scholarships; applicants submit one application (due by Feb. 16 for grad students) and are then considered for all eligible opportunities.

ACLS Public Fellows Competition for Recent PhDs provide two years of funding with an annual stipend of $65,000. Applications are due March 17.

Many individual institutions sponsor dissertation fellowships (usually as a scholar in residence) with applications due in January and February. Search one of our suggested databases for opportunities.

Info Session on Fulbright Programs for Graduate Students

SH-Fulbright-LogoOn Tuesday, Dec. 2, the Graduate School Office of Professional Development and the Office of National Scholarship Advisement will offer an Info Session on Fulbright programs open to U.S. graduate students. The event will take place from 4:30-5:30 pm in the Goodell 5th Floor Lounge (outside room 538) and will provide information on various Fulbright programs, application information, and tips on developing a competitive application.

Participants include Professor David Mednicoff, a Fulbright scholar and Director of Middle Eastern Studies; Kathryn Julian, a PhD candidate in History and Fulbright student in Germany last year; and John Dickson of the Office of National Scholarship Advisement.

Pre-registration requested, register here.

UMass graduate students have a high rate of success with applications for Fulbright programs. Last year all eight students who applied won the award. Graduate students are eligible for several Fulbright programs, which can support up to one year of research or further study abroad.

More information on various Fulbright programs can be found here.

 

Chateaubriand Fellowships

Chateaubriand

 

 

 

 

Chateaubriand Fellowships are offered by the French Embassy in the U.S. to support research in France. PhD students enrolled in American universities are welcome to apply.

There are two different programs (see below for details and links). Applications for both programs are due January 20, 2015. Application details vary by program–consult the website for the relevant program for specific information.

For students in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) disciplines, click here.

For students in Humanities and Social Sciences disciplines, click here.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: Grand Challenges

Gates FoundationThe Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and its Grand Challenges partners are now accepting applications for several grant programs.

Graduate students are eligible to apply; for more information on these programs please visit the grant opportunities page at www.grandchallenges.org.


1) The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has launched three new Grand Challenges:

Proposals will be accepted until January 13, 2015.

2) Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) Round 14 is still accepting applications for the following topics:

Proposals will be accepted until November 12, 2014, at 11:30 a.m. PST.

3) In response to the ongoing Ebola epidemic, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched Fighting Ebola: A Grand Challenge for Development to develop practical and cost-effective innovations to improve infection treatment and control that can be rapidly deployed. Submissions received by November 7, 2014, will be part of the first round of review, and submissions received by December 1, 2014, will be part of the second round of review. Expressions of interest received after December 1, 2014, will be reviewed in subsequent rounds. 

Boren Fellowships for International Study

Boren FellowshipsBoren, an initiative of the National Security Education Program, provide up to $30,000 for international language learning. Graduate students receive funding to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests, and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The countries of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are excluded.

In exchange for fellowship funding, all Boren Fellows must agree to the NSEP Service Requirement.

Applicants seeking funding to learn an African language may also apply for funding under the African Flagship Languages Initiative.

The 2015-16 Boren Fellowship application deadline is January 27, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. EST.

For more information, see the Boren Fellowships website.

 

Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship

DOE NNSAThe Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship is open to any U.S. citizen or permanent resident planning full-time, uninterrupted study toward a doctoral degree at an accredited U.S. university.

Those eligible to apply include senior undergraduate students and first- and second-year graduate students focusing their studies on high energy density physics, nuclear science, or properties of materials under extreme conditions and hydrodynamics. The fellowship offers a $36,000 annual stipend (renewable up to four years), a small research allowance, and a research practicum.

Applications are due January 14, 2015. For more information see their website.

Funding Opportunities from the Social Science Research Council

ssrc_logoThe Social Science Research Council  (SSRC) offers a variety of grants and fellowships to graduate students. Opportunities include:

— Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowships (applications due Oct. 15th)
— International Dissertation Research Fellowships (applications due Oct. 15th)
— Mellon Mays Graduate Initiatives Program (open only to those who were Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows; applications due Nov. 1st)
— Multiple geographically-specific dissertation fellowships (deadlines vary, most are Dec. 1st)

All SSRC graduate and postdoctoral funding opportunities are listed here.

Searching for Funding as a non-US Citizen

globeMany grants and fellowships state that only US citizens or permanent residents are eligible to apply, which makes searching for funding as a non-citizen challenging.

We’ve located a few resources to help make that search easier. The Cornell University Graduate School Fellowship Database  includes “citizenship” as a search filter.

Educators for Fair Consideration publishes a list of Graduate Scholarships and Fellowships that don’t require proof of citizenship or residency.

Finally, UCLA’s Graduate & Postdoctoral Extramural Support Database allows you to exclude opportunities open only to US citizens from your search results.

If you’re still having trouble locating funding opportunities, schedule a consultation appointment with our office–look for the “Book Now” button.

Smithsonian Fellowships

STRIlogoThe Smithsonian Institution offers a variety of fellowships, many of which are available to grad students or as postdocs to recent PhD recipients. A full list of fellowships is available here.

Short-term research opportunities are available through the Smithsonian’s Tropical Research Institute in Panama. Application materials are available here.