Call for proposals: Graduate School Graduate Summer Award Program

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Graduate Summer Award Program

Deadline for Summer 2023 Award Applications: March 31, 2023 (Friday) by 5:00 p.m. Number of Awards/Funding Amount: Up to 10 / $3,000 each
Notices of Awards to Recipients: anticipated by April 21 (awards distributed May 2023)
Point of Contact: Dr. Bryan Porter, Associate Dean,, 757-683-3259

Old Dominion University’s Graduate School in partnership with the Office of Research is pleased to announce the 6th annual Graduate Summer Award Program (GSAP). Open to graduate students from across the University, the GSAP is a competitive program that supports a range of original graduate student scholarship, including basic research, field study, data analysis, performances and exhibitions, and community-based learning initiatives. The program can be used to support thesis or dissertation projects or other capstone projects at the master’s or doctoral level. The scope of the proposed project should allow the graduate student to produce a measurable research or scholarly product by the end of a minimum of six uninterrupted weeks during the summer months.

Graduate students wishing to apply for this award must identify and approach a faculty member to serve as a mentor during the tenure of the program award. The faculty member may advise the student in creating a strong project proposal, explain the expectations for scholarly activity, supervise the scholarly activity, and provide advice from the proposal stage to the completion of the final report. However, the faculty member is not permitted to produce work on behalf of the student.

Students applying for the award will be the primary investigators for these projects. It is expected that a graduate student with this funding will produce original scholarship. The award is not for lab assistant or graduate assistant duties that support a faculty project.

Period of Award and Time Commitment
This award will be distributed for the summer funding period, specifically paid in the first part of the summer regardless of when in the summer the work occurs. This is required because funds must be distributed prior to the end of FY23.

The recipients of the award must identify a minimum of six uninterrupted weeks during the summer months during which the work will be completed. During those weeks, students are expected to devote 20 hours per week toward the project.

This award program is open to all ODU students admitted and enrolled in a graduate degree or graduate certificate program who meet the following criteria:

  1. They must be in good academic standing;
  2. They must demonstrate a commitment to 20 hours a week for a minimum of six
    uninterrupted weeks during summer 2023 to devote to the project;
  3. They must not be simultaneously funded by the University or ODU Research Foundation to do work during those same weeks (e.g., they must not have an assistantship during the
    period of the award; they must not hold another funded position at the university during
    the award);
  4. They must not have been funded by this program in the previous two years;
  5. If they are international students, they must be eligible for on-campus employment,
    verified in advance by the Visa & Immigration Service Advising Office (VISA) (questions regarding employment eligibility should be addressed by the VISA office at; and
  6. The research must be allowable (e.g., approved by the IRB if relevant; allowed under Office of Research COVID-19 rules if variants impact campus accessibility; etc.).

Each award is $3,000, which may be used to cover the student’s time to complete the work, to fund the scholarly work’s material needs, or both. Awards are paid directly to students via Payroll.

Application Format
The funding application shall be no more than five single-spaced pages in Times New Roman 12 pt. font, with page margins of 1 inch. The sections required in this 5-page limit are described in numbers 2 – 6 below. Additionally, the funding application should include a cover page, as well as any relevant attachments and appendices (e.g., interview questions; surveys; reference pages). These latter materials are not included in the 5-page limit of the proposal itself; see numbers 1 and 7 below.

The entire proposal should be written with a general, educated audience as the focus. Excessive use of jargon not clearly explained to this audience will be penalized.

A letter of support should be submitted under separate cover by the faculty mentor. The letter of support should include the faculty member’s assessment of the project, their knowledge of the graduate student’s prior academic work, and the details of the working relationship envisioned during the tenure of the award. If the graduate student proposal is linked to a larger faculty project, the mentor should provide a clear explanation of the student’s role in that project and how the work to be funded by the Graduate School and Office of Research is clearly and wholly under the control and direction of the student.

The following components should be included in applications for the award:

  1. Cover Page (not part of the 5-page limit)

The cover page should include: the title of the project; the name, University ID number, departmental affiliation, degree program, address, email, and phone number of the graduate student; and the name, departmental affiliation, address, email, and phone number of the faculty mentor. The submission date should be centered at the bottom of the page.

  1. Project Description

Provide a 1-page description of the project. Explain exactly what the project will be and why this project is significant. Describe how the proposed work will contribute to a field of study.

  1. Methodology

Provide a description of the research question or problem that will be investigated. Explain what methods will be used to approach this question or problem. Detail how the student will explore the answers to this question or the solutions to this problem. If applicable, include plans for the protection of human or animal participants and the environment. (Note: relevant IRB or Office of Research procedures must be followed; funding is contingent upon any and all required approvals to be received).

  1. Goals and Objectives

Provide an explanation of the anticipated goals and objectives associated with this project. Goals are broad contributions to a field of study or knowledge base. Objectives are specific and tangible (i.e., a conference paper; report; journal article; exhibition; performance; graduate thesis; workshop).

  1. Budget

Explain how project funds will be used. Provide a justification for how the funds will be used. Generally, funds may be proposed for: a justified living stipend; participant costs; archive access; supplies needed for data collection; travel if required to collect data (not for general conference attendance); and other similar direct costs. Questions about allowable expenses should be directed to Dr. Bryan Porter,, prior to submitting the proposal.

  1. Mentorship and Eligibility Statement

Discuss the working relationship between the faculty member and the graduate student. Explain why this faculty member is an appropriate mentor for this project. Present evidence that this project consists of independent research and scholarship (i.e., not lab assistant work; course work; or simple technical tasks undertaken on behalf of the mentoring professor). Additionally, the applicant should provide a description of prior work they have undertaken that is relevant to the proposed project.

  1. References, Appendices, and Other Attachments (not part of the 5-page limit)

If appropriate, include additional materials relevant to the project. These may include questionnaires, sample interview questions, a recruitment poster, and/or a reference page or bibliography.

Submission of Applications (To be sent by the Student)
The student should send the proposal (numbers 1 to 7 above) as a single attachment to Dr. Bryan Porter, Associate Dean of the Graduate School, at The proposal should be sent by March 31, 2023 by 5:00 p.m. to be considered on-time.

Email proposals from the ODU student account with subject line: “[last name] – Graduate Summer Award Program.”

The proposal can be emailed as a Word or PDF attachment, although PDF is preferred.

Faculty Letter of Support (To be Sent by the Faculty Member)
The faculty member chosen to provide a letter of support should send the letter directly to Dr. Bryan Porter, Associate Dean of the Graduate School, at The letter should be sent by the application’s deadline (March 31, 2023 by 5:00 p.m.) to be considered on-time.

Include the graduate student’s last name in the subject line. As mentioned earlier, the letter should include: the faculty member’s assessment of the project; his or her knowledge of the graduate student’s prior academic work; and the details of the working relationship envisioned during the tenure of the award. If the graduate student proposal is linked to a larger faculty project, the mentor should provide a clear explanation of the student’s role in that project and how the work to be funded by the Graduate School and Office of Research is clearly and wholly under the control and direction of the student.
The letter of support can be in the message of the submitted email, or within a Word or PDF attachment. However, a signed letter in PDF format is preferred.


Applications received after 5:00 p.m. on March 31, 2023, or those that are incomplete by the deadline, will not be considered, no exceptions. To be complete, the student application and the faculty letter of support must be received by the deadline (each document is sent via two different emails as stated above).

Review of Applications
A University panel composed of faculty and staff from diverse disciplines will be appointed by the Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School to review proposals. This committee will select the projects that will be funded under this program. Incomplete proposals as defined above will not be reviewed. Applications that have too small a font (to gain space for more materials within the page limit), exceed the 5-page limit, or use margins smaller than 1” on all sides will also not be considered. Eligible proposals for review are evaluated on the basis of merit and how clearly the student explains and justifies the project to a general, educated audience.

Notification to Award Recipients
The recipients of the Graduate Summer Awards will be notified by April 21, 2023. Award distribution will occur in the first summer payroll period.

Additional Requirements
Within one month after the conclusion of the funded period (e.g., approximately late September 2023), student awardees are expected to submit a final report to the Graduate School. This report should be up to five pages in length, and should clearly document the actual methods conducted, results obtained, and objective achieved via the use of the funds. Long-term expected outcomes (e.g., article submission, conference presentation) should be outlined.

The final report should have a cover page, as defined under the application process, and references/appendices not counted toward the 5-page limit for project outcomes. Other relevant deliverables (e.g., a copy of a submitted article if completed in the award period) should be included; these, too, are not counted toward the 5-page limit.

Completed final reports should be sent electronically to Dr. Bryan Porter at

Recipients are expected to acknowledge the support of the Graduate School and Office of Research’s Graduate Summer Award Program in any publications or products generated because of this award. The following statement or similar may be used: “This research was supported by a Graduate Summer Award Program from the Graduate School and Office of Research at Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA.”