Student Funding


“This small-grant program is a terrific help to students…It greatly enhances the collaborative nature of research on campus.”


Graduate Student Research and Professional Development Funding

Buechley banding a bird while children look on

Evan Buechley banding birds in Ethiopia. The GCSC funded his project with Dr. Cagan Sekercioglu, “Conservation agriculture: A study of birds, ecosystem services, and the ecology of Ethiopian coffee farms”

As part of our commitment to graduate training, the Global Change and Sustainability Center offers small grants to eligible graduate students whose academic or research mentors are active faculty affiliates of the GCSC.

Research funding reinforces the importance of expanding research beyond a single discipline. Graduate students who conduct interdisciplinary projects benefit from exposure to other fields of study, gaining a broader perspective on approaches to research questions.

Professional development funding is offered while travel is restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic. We are adapting the program to support graduate students’ continued professional development. We will consider requests to support presenting at or attending meetings and workshops held online, as well as other qualifying activities which include learning components that contribute to professional skills development.

Travel funding is temporarily on hold. Such funding supports student participation in professional meetings, opening the door to a number of important benefits. Students have the opportunity to present their research to peers and professionals in the field. Networking at professional meetings can not only lead to potential collaborations and other professional opportunities, but students are also likely to gain an expanded view of the discipline, its culture, and how their research interests fit into the broader landscape.

Go here to see past funded student research projects.

Applications  are considered twice each year.
Be sure to plan ahead and work with your faculty advisor on your proposal.
  • Fall deadline September 15, 2020

Decisions by mid-October

  • Spring deadline March 15, 2021

Decisions by mid-April

Research Funds

Research funds ($1,000-$3,000) can be used for thesis-related research needs; however, the research project must be multidisciplinary, combining the graduate student’s thesis interest with another area of focus.

Eligibility and Requirements
  1. The graduate student’s advisor/research advisor must be an active member of the GCSC
  2. The project or activity must be in an area related to the mission of the GCSC: interdisciplinary research on global change and sustainability
  3. Proposed projects must be interdisciplinary
  4. Applicant must not have received a GCSC research award in the preceding 12 month period. (If you received an award in March 2020, you will not be eligible until the March 2021 cycle.)
  5. Awardees will be expected to present a research poster at the annual GCSC Research Symposium
Proposal submission
  1. Please use this grant application form to submit a 1 to 1 1/2-page (max) proposal describing the proposed project or activity. Include the general objectives or hypotheses, general methods and expected outcomes. The proposal should be written for individuals from different disciplines. Avoid jargon as much as possible.
  2. Please submit a budget description of no more than a half-page. The following items are non-allowable expenses: computers, tuition, or graduate student salary-related expenses and benefits.
  3. Please ask your faculty advisor to submit a letter of recommendation with the following to gcsc@utah.edu. (These are not to be submitted by the applicant.)
    • Recommendation for your proposal
    • Description of the faculty advisor’s participation with the GCSC in the past year (committee service or other engagement.)
  4. Applications that are incomplete at the deadline (including letters of recommendation) will not be considered.
Proposal evaluation

The selection committee will consider the following criteria in evaluating proposals:

  1. Relevance to the GCSC mission
  2. Interdisciplinary nature of the project
  3. Clarity of the proposal (rationale, methods, goals)
  4. Likelihood for success within the given timeline and budget
  5. Relevance to the student’s thesis/graduate degree

Students receiving awards are eligible to re-apply again (only one award may be made in a 12 month period). For more information, please contact: Laurie Mecham, Program Coordinator.

Travel Funds – temporarily unavailable

Due to University travel restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic, we are not accepting applications for travel funds.

The GCSC is committed to supporting graduate student participation in professional meetings. Travel awards of up to $500 are expected to assist students in leveraging other funds (e.g., from Departments and Colleges, the Graduate School etc.) to cover meeting expenses.

Eligibility and Requirements
  1. The graduate student’s advisor/research advisor must be an active member of the GCSC.
  2. The work that the student is presenting must pertain to an area of research related to the mission of the GCSC.
  3. The work must be interdisciplinary.
  4. Applicant must not have received a GCSC travel award in the preceding 12 month period. (If you received an award in September 2019, you will not be eligible until the September 2020 cycle.)
  5. Applications for travel that has already occurred prior to the application deadline are not eligible.
  6. Students who receive travel grants will be expected to present a poster at the annual GCSC Research Symposium.
Application submission
  1. Please use this grant application form.
  2. Using the application form, upload a copy of the student-authored abstract that was submitted to the meeting organizers. (On rare occasions, the GCSC will consider supporting travel for professional meetings at which the student is not presenting.)
  3. On the form, explain how the research is interdisciplinary and relates to the mission of the GCSC.
  4. Please ask your faculty advisor to submit a letter of recommendation with the following to gcsc@utah.edu. (These are not to be submitted by the applicant.)
    • Recommendation for your proposal
    • Description of the faculty advisor’s participation with the GCSC in the past year (committee service or other engagement.)
    • The GCSC may not be able to provide funds to more than two students from a lab group. In the event that more than two students from a lab group apply for funding, the faculty advisor should communicate funding priorities to the GCSC.
  5. Applications that are incomplete at the deadline will not be considered.

Professional development funds

While travel is restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic, the GCSC is committed to supporting graduate students’ professional development, including participation in meetings held online. Eligible graduate students are invited to apply for GCSC awards of up to $500. For some purposes such as virtual conferences, these awards may help students leverage other matching funds (e.g., from Departments and Colleges, the Graduate School, etc.) to cover expenses.

Qualifying activities must include learning components that contribute to professional skills development. Examples of qualifying activities include:

  • Attending an online conference
  • Online webinars, workshops, or training modules
  • Certification
  • Publication costs
  • Software or hardware purchases

Examples of activities not eligible for reimbursement include:

  • Academic work for credit
  • Field research data collection or activities that are part of the degree program
  • Travel expenses
  • Living expenses
  • Editing services
  • Memberships or dues for professional organizations

ELIGIBILITY AND REQUIREMENTS

  1. The graduate student’s advisor/research advisor must be an active member of the GCSC.
  2. If presenting at a workshop, the work that the student is presenting must pertain to an area of research related to the mission of the GCSC. The work must be interdisciplinary.
  3. Applicant must not have received a GCSC travel award in the preceding 12 month period. (If you received an award in March 2020, you will not be eligible until the March 2021 cycle.)
  4. Applications for activities/purchases that have already occurred prior to the application deadline are not eligible.
  5. Students who receive professional development grants will be expected to present a poster at the annual GCSC Research Symposium.
Application submission
  1. Please use this grant application form.
    • In the application, upload a copy of the student-authored abstract that was submitted to the meeting organizers (if presenting at a meeting), or describe the planned professional development activities or purchases.
    • On the form, explain how your research is interdisciplinary and how it relates to the mission of the GCSC.
  2. Please ask your faculty advisor to submit a letter of recommendation with the following to gcsc@utah.edu. (These are not to be submitted by the applicant.)
    • Recommendation for your proposal
    • Description of the faculty advisor’s participation with the GCSC in the past year (committee service or other engagement.)
    • The GCSC may not be able to provide funds to more than two students from a lab group. In the event that more than two students from a lab group apply for funding, the faculty advisor should communicate funding priorities to the GCSC.
  3. Applications that are incomplete at the deadline will not be considered.

The Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund is another funding opportunity for students (both graduate and undergraduate), faculty, and staff from all disciplines and departments to engage in projects that enhance the sustainability of our campus and community.