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Summer Graduate Research Assistantship Fund

Faculty Competition for Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA)

The University of Tennessee Office of Research and Engagement (ORE) is pleased to invite applications for the FY19 Summer Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) Program.

Program Objective

The program provides awards of $3,600 that will enable graduate students to supplement and enhance research support. The program is supported by the ORE Scholarly and Research Incentive Funds (SARIF) to help foster excellence in research, scholarship and creative activity across all disciplines. ORE welcomes applications from members of the faculty in all academic disciplines. The GRA positions will be awarded on a competitive basis for support of the proposed research/scholarship endeavors.

Award Priorities

Funding for the GRAs will be awarded primarily on the merits of the proposed research/scholarship opportunities, feasibility of the proposed project, past and potential productivity of the investigator(s), the award’s potential for increasing publication output and external funding, other available funding to the faculty member, alignment with UT’s strategic goals and objectives, as well as the research/scholarship priorities identified by the colleges/departments.


Eligibility to receive a GRA position is limited to members of UT faculty* with active research interests and responsibilities and must be in support of a named graduate student for the 3-month summer period.  While the research project may be in partial fulfillment of the graduate student’s degree requirements, the application must show how the research project will advance the faculty member’s research agenda or the student’s own independent research program in units that require separate research programs.

(View 2018 recipients)

* UTIA, UTSI, UTHSC faculty are not eligible for this award.

Award Terms

  • Award stipends are set at $3,600 for a three-month period (May, June, and July) of research activity in the summer term.
  • Award stipends are to support the student at 50% level of effort during the summer to conduct the research identified in the proposal.
  • Students are ineligible for this funding if, during the summer, they have any combination of another appointment, other additional pay, or enrollment in classes that would equate to more than 50% level of effort.
  • Payment to the student is to be processed by the faculty member’s department. This can be done by adding an appointment for the student or through additional pay. The full amount of the award will be transferred by ORE to the faculty member’s department this fiscal year.
  • One application may be submitted from each department or comparable unit for each 20 full-time faculty members (or part thereof) in the department. Thus, a department with 20 or fewer faculty may submit for one assistantship; a department with 21-40 may submit for two, and so forth. A faculty member may only submit one application per year.

Application Guidelines

The application should consist of the following items. Proposals that do not follow these guidelines will not be reviewed.

  1. Complete online form below
  2. Proposal (two-page maximum, no fixed format, see requirements below)
  3. Resume or CV for faculty member and graduate student (two-page maximum each, include previous, current, and pending funding)
  4. Documentation of support from department head:  copy of email or letter

The project proposal should be jointly prepared by the faculty member and the named graduate student.  It should consist of a two-page maximum, single-spaced (minimum 12 pt. font with one inch margins) narrative description of the project that details:

  • The project title.
  • The background/rationale for the proposed work, including how the graduate student’s activity will advance the overall scholarly program of the requesting faculty member or the student’s own independent research program in units that require separate research programs.
  • One or more specific hypotheses that will be tested (if applicable).
  • A clear description of the research plan and proposed methodology. (Applicants should keep in mind that the proposals will be evaluated by faculty from outside the applicant’s discipline.)
  • An assessment of the projected outcomes if the research is conducted as described (i.e., what will it all mean?).
  • Plans for disseminating the results of the research.
  • A statement of how this award could lead toward submission of a proposal for external funding, if applicable.

Submission Process

  • Deadline: The complete online application—including the proposal and resumes—should be submitted electronically by the faculty member online by noon of March 6, 2019. All attachments to the application form should be combined into one PDF document.
  • Evaluation: A subcommittee of the Research Council will evaluate the applications and make recommendations to the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Development. The committee recommendations will be based on the quality of the proposed research project. The AVCRD will seek to distribute the awards over as wide a range of disciplines as possible.
  • Selection Results: ORE will notify all applicants of the selection results during the first week of AprilUp to 25 applications may be selected for award.
  • Awards: Stipends are set at $3,600 for a three-month period (May, June, and July) of research activity in the summer term. This award is for a stipend only and may not be used for supplies, travel, benefits, tuition waivers, or maintenance fees.  Any funding not provided to the student is to be returned to the Office of Research and Engagement.

Please direct inquiries to, (865) 974-0437