Graduate School Awarded $120,000 to Doctoral Student Researchers

Heidi Bauer-Clapp of the Graduate School’s Office of Professional Development leads a grant-writing workshop for doctoral students.
Heidi Bauer-Clapp of the Graduate School’s Office of Professional Development leads a grant-writing workshop for doctoral students.

In May, the Graduate School awarded 29 research grants to Ph.D. students. Combined with an additional 39 grants awarded in December, the Graduate School provided more than $120,000 in 2017-18 to support 68 graduate student researchers.

The research grant program is overseen by Heidi Bauer-Clapp, assistant director for grants and fellowships in the Graduate School’s Office of Professional Development. Bauer-Clapp organized multiple grant-writing workshops and helped students draft and revise their research statements prior to submitting their applications.

“The Research Grant Competition serves as a vital tool for advancing doctoral student research,” said Barbara Krauthamer, dean of the Graduate School. “Dr. Bauer-Clapp has developed a valuable program for enhancing student success in the increasingly competitive arena for research funding.”

Seventeen students received Predissertation Research Grants, which offer funding during the dissertation research development phase. Grants are designed to help students test research methods, identify research sites, conduct pilot studies, or engage in other activities that will lead to more feasible and successful dissertation research plans. Among the projects supported by 2017-18 Predissertation Research Grants are a Ph.D. student testing potential materials and methods to improve solar cell stability, a student conducting a pilot study to investigate the evolutionary origins of human sweating, and a student seeking training in German handwriting to better utilize hand-written archival accounts of forced sterilization during the Holocaust.

Offered to Ph.D. students conducting dissertation research in any discipline, 31 students received Dissertation Research Grants in 2017-18. Supported projects include a study on the potential of structured physical activity in preschool curriculums to improve classroom behavior, examination of opioid treatment utilization in pregnant and post-partum women to inform more effective interventions, and research on the experiences of rural, first-generation college students.

In 2017-18, 20 students were awarded Fieldwork Grants, which provide financial support for research conducted away from UMass and the western Massachusetts area. Projects supported by these grants include investigation of how Syrian refugees produce and use media messages about their experiences, testing non-invasive animal camera “traps” to better monitor species presence and habitat use, and comparing experiences of deportees and voluntary return migrants to Mexico to develop better reintegration support.

Graduate School Research Grants were awarded in 2017-18 to students representing 29 departments or programs in six schools or colleges.