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Graduate Student Research Awards

Graduate Student Research Awards (GSRA) are used to advance the scholarship of graduate students pursuing research and creative activities. Grants up to $5,000 are awarded to the selected students to help support their research, scholarship, and creative activity; give students experience writing grants; and foster the mentoring relationship between faculty and graduate students.

These were formerly known as Student/Faculty Research Awards.

View award winners from fall 2023 in areas such as human health, social sciences, and physical and agricultural sciences.

Proposal Instructions

Each proposal should be sent to the faculty mentor for review and evaluation before the student submits the proposal. An endorsement letter from the faculty mentor is required when the proposal is submitted. The deadline for proposals to be received in the Graduate School for spring 2024 is Tuesday, February 13, by 5:00 p.m.

Submit your application

A successful proposal must include the following elements. These requirements will form the basis for the proposal evaluation. Proposals that exceed the listed word limitations will be rejected. Graduate students must submit:

  • a narrative of no more than 1000 words (excluding references) describing the proposal 
    This should be written for an educated, nonspecialist audience and must include the significance of the project, as well as a clear explanation of methodology and expected outcomes.
  • a statement of how the project will advance the professional development and career outcomes of the student 
  • an itemized budget for the amount requested (between $1,000 and $5,000) and a projected timeline for use of the funds (see Use of Funds for restrictions)
  • if applicable, documentation of an invitation or host institution support 
  • CV of the graduate student (2-page limit) 
  • endorsement letter from the faculty mentor, which should include the ways in which the mentor will guide the student during the research process. 

These materials should be submitted online between noon on January 22 and 5pm on February 13. Please direct any questions to the Dean of the Graduate School ( 

Use of Funds

Restrictions may apply on the use of awarded funds. Awardees are expected to follow the fiscal policies of the university.

Additionally, note that GSRA funds may not be used for:

  • office equipment such as laptops, computers, Ipads, etc.
  • travel to attend conferences or to present research
  • salaries (such as hiring graduate assistants, student assistants, employees, etc.)
  • publication costs

Appropriate use of funds includes, but is not limited to:

  • research supplies
  • research equipment (however, these items become property of the University of Tennessee upon purchase)
  • incentives to research participants
  • contractual payments (such as hourly transcription, survey distribution, etc.)
  • copies, printing, etc. related to the research project
  • lab fees
  • software packages and/or certain related subscription costs
  • travel to conduct research or to receive training not available at UT (such as on a particular piece of equipment)

Travel does not include per diem expenses (meals and/or miscellaneous costs), nor does it include travel for anyone other than the graduate student.


A subcommittee of the Graduate Council, along with the Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School and a representative from the Office of Research Innovation & Economic Development, will evaluate proposals and make awards. 


If you receive an award through this program, please use the Graduate Student Research Award Reimbursement Form to submit expenses to be reimbursed. 


The GSRA One-Time Extension form should be used by awarded student/faculty pairs to request a one-time extension of your project.