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Western Kentucky University

The Graduate School - Research Grants

Please read the guidelines section to learn about how to apply for a research grant.  The calendar section contains important information regarding application deadlines and meeting dates. Included below are required forms and informational documents pertaining to the grant process.

Research Grant Budget Form

Research Grant Application

Research Grant Example

Paying Participants with Cash

Paying the Participants with Gift Cards

Please note: anyone currently employed by WKU can only be paid using Payroll Form 16 (instructions).  Please contact the Payroll office with any questions.

 Application Due Date Meeting Date
September 1, 2015 September 9, 2015
November 1, 2015 November 11, 2015
February 1, 2016 TBA
April 1, 2016 TBA


All meetings are held 2:30-4:30 PM in WAB 208.
Applicants will be contacted for the precise time of their appointment with the review committee.



Western Kentucky University is a center of learning dedicated to opportunities for creative scholarship and pursuit of excellence in higher education. The University strives to provide a suitable range of undergraduate and graduate specialties within an academic climate designed to promote the constructive objectives of liberal education. 

Creative scholarship implies research and the University recognizes that creative inquiry frequently leads to the necessity of acquiring materials and assistance not normally available. To encourage the extension of creative inquiry and contributions to knowledge, some limited monetary assistance has been made available for student research projects that conform to the general guidelines set forth below. This monetary assistance is to be treated as grant funding and the recipient will be held accountable for any misuse of funding.

The Graduate Student Research Grant Committee (GSRGC) reviews the student proposals and recommends funding to the Graduate Council. This committee consists of three faculty Graduate Council members and a student member .

A graduate student interested in securing funds through the Graduate Student Research Grant Committee of the Graduate Council should have a logical and clearly defined project. To assist in the formulation and for purposes of grant consideration, the student is requested to complete a rather basic grant request application form and supporting proposal documentation.  Please use these guidelines to prepare your proposal.


Applying for Graduate Student Research Grants

1. The student and faculty advisor will develop the research proposal and submit the grant application and budget forms. STUDENTS MAY APPLY FOR NO MORE THAN THREE STUDENT RESEARCH GRANTS PER DEGREE TOTALING $2000. (Note: This amount was recently increased from $1500 to $2000. If you received a grant under the previous guidelines, you may reapply for the remaining $500. These proposals must meet all other guidelines that are stipulated on this page.)

2. The grant application form requires signatures from the student, faculty advisor, department head, and college dean prior to submitting the application to the Graduate School.

3. The student and faculty advisor are responsible for meeting and adhering to all requirements and guidelines pertaining to graduate student research funding.

4. Please submit the following:

- Faculty letter acknowledging that the faculty member is aware of the student's request
- One-page student bio (CV/resume)
- Original copy of the application, proposal and budget form
- Copy of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval (if applicable).

The Graduate Student Research Committee reviews research proposals twice during the fall and spring semesters. The committee does not review proposals during December, May and the summer months. Students conducting research in the summer months should submit the application materials early in the spring semester to allow adequate time for approvals.

Preparing the Budget for Student Research Proposals

Fundable Expenses for student research funding include:
- Secretarial, subject participation payments, and other assistance where such is needed to carry out the project;
- Special materials and equipment, if they are not of the type that the department would be expected to have or to acquire
- Travel where such is vital to conducting the research
- Cost of interlibrary loan and copying for procurement of information and documents not otherwise available (Evidence should be presented ascertaining the availability of the materials in the off-campus library or other site)
- Necessary stationery, supplies, and postage, including that needed for questionnaires.

Non-fundable expenses for student research funding include:
- Funding for expenditures already incurred.
- Funding for conference fees or travel to conferences.
- Typing of the thesis, which may or may not have been related to the research grants.
- Equipment the academic department could be expected to purchase for normal operations or for support of a thesis/specialist project.
- Books the library may be reasonably expected to acquire as part of its holdings.
- Salary for the student.

Editing, per se, will not qualify for a grant. This is based on the assumption that the researcher or others have already performed the necessary research.

The student project budget must meet the following criteria:
- The budget for the proposed research project must be itemized.
- The budget must contain items directly related to and supported by the student's research proposal. Items with the intent of departmental use will not be approved.
- The student and faculty advisor are responsible for following the approved research budget. Any deviations from this budget will not be approved. If an item(s) need(s) to be added or substituted, and provided the total expenses do not exceed the amount awarded, the student may submit a revised budget for consideration. If a student incurs costs on his/her index that are not itemized on his/her budget he/she or the department may be held liable.
- The project budget must total at least $150.

Consideration of Student Research Proposals

The Budget Manager in the Graduate School will email an agenda to the student and faculty advisor noting the time and place of the meeting and estimated time of the student's appearance before the committee. Students should be prepared to provide an overview of the project and answer follow-up questions by the committee. Faculty advisors are strongly encouraged to attend.

The Budget Manager in the Graduate School will notify the student and faculty advisor of the disposition of the research project request. If the proposal is approved, the Budget Manager will contact the Accounting Office to set up an account under the student's name. Students will not be able to access funds at this point.

After receipt of the student account number in the Graduate School, the Budget Manager will send the student his/her account information. The student will receive the following forms by mail: (1.) Letter of approval with instructions on accessing the funds, amount of award, and the expiration date of the research account, (2.) An "Initial Contract" listing the student's account number, (3.) And a "Final Contract."

The letter of approval includes instructions on accessing the funds, the amount of the award, and the expiration date of the research account. Copies will be sent to the faculty advisor.

The Initial Contract must be submitted prior to receiving the funds. This contract includes the student's account number. It is the student's responsibility to know his/her account number. The student and faculty advisor must sign and date this form. The contract should be returned to the Graduate School.

The Final Contract must be submitted after the research project is completed. The student must fill in appropriate information and attach an itemized expenditure sheet. The student and faculty advisor must sign and date this form. The contract and expenditure sheet should be returned to the Graduate School.

Provided the student returns the Initial Contract, the Budget Manager will transfer funds into the student's account. This transfer may take several days as several departments are involved in the process, and the Graduate School is not notified when the funds are available. When the funds are in place, the student may begin purchasing items from the budget.

Other items of note:

1. If a collaborative project is proposed, then the collaborators should either 1) stay within the announced funding limits and submit a single application or 2) submit separate applications that clearly describe the contribution made by each individual and the different unique attributes distinguishing one application from the other.

2. Faculty mentors may attend the graduate student presentation,but the review committee will expect the student to answer all questions. Faculty mentors are encouraged to support an application by submitting a letter of endorsement for the proposed project.

3. Priority will be given to students who have not already received funding from this granting resource.  Students should recognize thatif they receive funding early in their graduate studies, they may be unlikely to receive additional funding later in their graduate studies.

4. Proposals should clearly identify the research question being answered by the proposed work.

5. One-page student biographies should be in the form of a resume or CV.

6. If the IRB and ACUC approval is not applicable to the proposed work, please include the following statement in your proposal to indicate that you have considered this need but determined it to be Irrelevant:

"IRB and IACUC approval is not required for the proposed work."

7. Incomplete applications (e.g.,missing faculty letter, student resume) may be returned without review.

8.Grant applications should be limited to $1500.

Accessing Student Research Funds

Students and faculty advisors should work with the department office associate (or other knowledgeable staff) to submit requests for purchases. Except for travel, services rendered expenditures, payment of human subjects with either gift cards or cash and University-available services, all purchases must be made on the department's procurement card. Students, faculty advisors, and departments will not be reimbursed for expenses which do not adhere to proper purchasing procedures. Under no circumstances will inter-account transfers or other vouchers (those not listed below) be approved for reimbursement.

Students may need to pay for travel expenses or services rendered as approved by the Committee. In this case, the student should complete a Travel Expense Voucher or a Payment Authorization Sheet (for services rendered) and submit it to the Graduate School for approval. The faculty advisor or department office associate should be able to assist the student in completing these forms. The Budget Manager will consider the form(s) after reviewing the student's budget. If the form is approved, it will be forwarded to the appropriate department. Travel vouchers allow students to be reimbursed for travel expenditures; the Payment Authorization Sheet allows the individual who renders services to receive a paycheck from the University. (The Travel Expense Voucher and Payment Authorization Sheet can be found on the Office of the Controller's website.)

Students paying human subjects with either gift cards or cash should refer to the Guidelines for paying human subjects and should have Human Subjects Review Board (HSRB) approval. (Guidelines can be found on the Graduate School's website.)

The University provides several services, i.e., printing (copying) and postage, to its constituents. The student must use a University service if that service is available. In this case, the student must obtain a permission form from the Graduate School before using the service.

Completing Student Research Projects

Once the student has completed his/her research project (or thesis) or expended all available funds (whichever comes first within the one-year expiration period), s/he must submit a detailed expense sheet. This sheet must include all purchased items and their costs and total amount of used research funds, and may be included in the final project report. (See "Budget Form").


While research has recognizable characteristics visible in all disciplines, it is recognized that variations in techniques and points of emphasis exist among the disciplines involved. Consequently, the comments and examples set forth in these guidelines should not be construed as exhaustive, but rather as measures to facilitate the prime objective--expansion of graduate student research on Western Kentucky University's campus

To encourage research on a wide basis, the committee will fund as many projects as possible. Therefore, grants will be limited to a maximum of $2000, except for unusually meritorious requests. Any equipment or other items purchased with grant funds become property of the University.


Graduate student research funds are provided from state appropriations and, consequently, must be utilized in accordance with approved regulations. The funds are maintained by the Office of Accounts & Budgetary Control and are used transactions, which have been properly processed. The student must work through departmental procedures in obtaining office associate help, purchases, and other forms of assistance. Out-of-state travel requests must be initiated with the department head at least two weeks prior to the departure date.

While publication is not the primary goal of the committee in granting financial assistance, proposals aimed toward publication or presentation at professional meetings are encouraged. Appropriate acknowledgment of support should appear in any resulting publication.

Please keep in mind that receiving a grant is a process. There are many offices and people involved in gaining access to the grant money once it is awarded through the proper channels. Be mindful that from the date you turn in your application for a grant, if approved, it will possibly be several months before you have access to the money, depending on when the review committee next meets. This includes the time needed to schedule a presentation time, be approved by the Graduate Student Research Grant committee, be approved by Graduate Council, have a grant index established, have paperwork prepared for the grantee to sign and return, and for the money to be transferred to a usable index. Please be patient with the process and apply early! 

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 Last Modified 9/24/15