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The Graduate School - Research Grants

Note: Recipients of grants have one year to use the funds. All funding accounts will be closed prior to student's graduation.

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.


Application Due Date

Meeting Date


Fall 2020

TBA (if available)

TBA (if available)

TBA (if available)

TBA (if available)


Spring 2021


 TBA (if available)

TBA (if available)

TBA (if available) TBA (if available)
Recipients of grants have one year to use the funds. All funding accounts will be closed prior to student's graduation.


The February and April meetings are subject to the availability of funds. If no funds remain, the meetings will be cancelled.  Students are encouraged to apply for this grant by the earliest possible application due date as funds may be depleted later in the cycle.

The following documents are REQUIRED when applying for a Research Grant. Failure to submit the required documents will result in an incomplete application and the Graduate Council will not review the application. ALL REQUIRED MATERIALS SHOULD BE SUBMITTED TO gsresearchgrant@wku.edu


1.)    Research Application Form
        a. FOUR signatures are required: Student, Advisor, Department Head, and College Dean
                Please note:  By signing the research application form, the student and faculty advisor certify
                that no documents included in the research grant proposal have been plagiarized. If such
                plagiarism is suspected, or discovered by the committee, the student’s application will not be
                awarded funds.
        b. NOTE: Fellowship students must use this form to apply
2.)    Formal Budget Form
        a. Further guidance as to how to fill out the Formal Budget Form is provided below
3.)    Research Proposal
        a. Items that should be included in the Research Proposal are as follows:
            i. Title of Proposed Project
            ii. Purpose of the Study
                1. Describe the nature of the research project or creative activity
                2. State the objectives or hypotheses of the research or creative activity
                3. Indicate how this study will advance knowledge in your field
            iii. Design of the Study
                1. Describe the methods to be followed
                2. Include a copy of instruments to be used to gather data, such as surveys, interview
                    questions, focus group questions, description of observations, as applicable
                3. Description of analytical or interpretive approach  (e.g., statistics, literature reviews,
                    thematic or textual analysis)
            iv. Intended Use of Results and Possible Application of Results (thesis, publication, class
                 project, or other expected outcomes)
4.)    One-page student bio (CV/Resume)
5.)    Letter of endorsement of the research project or creative activity from the advisor 


1.) Evidence of cooperation with off-campus entities


1.)    Attach a copy of the Human Subjects Review Board (HSRB)
2.)    Attach a copy of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) Letter

NOTE: All application materials are to be sent to gsresearchgrant@wku.edu. If materials are sent to an alternative email address, your application will not be reviewed by the committee.

Fundable Expenses:
     - Clerical, subject participation payments, coding, 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 or creative activity
     - Cost of procurement of information, documents, and media not otherwise available (Evidence should
        be presented ascertaining the availability of the materials in the off-campus library or other site)
     - Necessary stationary, supplies, and postage, including that needed for questionnaires

Non-Fundable Expenses:
     - Funding for expenditures already incurred
     - Funding for conference fees or travel to conference
     - 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
1.)    All materials are submitted to the Graduate School in person or via email to gsresearchgrant@wku.edu.
2.)    The student will receive an email notifying them of the date, time, and place of the Research Grant Committee meeting. Students should be prepared to provide an overview of the project and answer follow-up questions by the committee.
3.)    After the committee meeting has been held, the students will receive an email notification informing them whether or not they have been awarded funds. Within this email, the dollar amount will be stated and a letter of feedback will be provided by the committee.
4.)    Once funds have been awarded, the Graduate School contacts the Accounting Office to set up an account for each student. This process typically takes approximately 2-3 weeks. Students will not be able to access funds until the account is set up by the Accounting Office.
5.)    After the Graduate School receives the account information from the Accounting Office, the student will be contacted immediately. Within this email, the students will be sent (a) Letter of Approval, (b) Initial Contract and (c) Final Contract.
     a. Letter of Approval – includes instructions on accessing the funds, the amount awarded, and the expiration date of the research account; copies will also be sent to the faculty advisor
     b. Initial Contract – MUST BE SUBMITTED PRIOR TO RECEIVING 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 (gsresearchgrant@wku.edu).
          i.  Once the student returns the Initial Contract, funds will be transferred into the student’s account. This transfer may take several days as several departments are involved in the process. When the funds are in place, the student may begin purchasing items from the budget.
     c. 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.
6.)    Once the student has completed his/her research project (or thesis) or expended all available funds (whichever comes firm within the one-year expiration period), s/he must submit a detailed expense sheet.
     a. 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.
7.)    Student must submit all of the documents mentioned above to the Graduate School at gsresearchgrant@wku.edu.

• Students and faculty advisors should work with the department office associate (or other knowledgeable staff) to submit requests for purchases. All purchases must be made with the department’s procurement card , except for the following: travel, services rendered expenditures, payment of human subjects with either gift cards or cash and University-available services.
     - 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 above) 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 to the Graduate School for approval. The faculty advisor or department office associate should be able to assist the student in completing these forms.
     - Travel Expense Voucher – allows students to be reimbursed for travel expenditures
     - Payment Authorization Sheet – allows the individual who renders services to receive a paycheck from the University
     - Both forms 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.

• According to the Office of the CFO, all purchases made for/by Graduate Student Research Grant, must follow the WKU Purchasing Policy (link to WKU Purchasing).  Please contact Shanda Hopper in the WKU Graduate School Office to assist with any questions.

• ALL MATERIALS MUST BE SUBMITTED TO gsresearchgrant@wku.edu.

 • Incomplete applications will be returned. If applications are not submitted to the proper email address, the application will not be considered by the committee.

• Graduate students may apply for up to three research grants per degree. Students may not receive more than $3000 in research grants per degree.

• Fellowship students are not eligible for additional funding above their $1000 allotment for travel and research.

• 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.

• 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.

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

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

• Proposals should clearly identify the research questions being answered by the proposed work.


• Expenses incurred prior to receiving the grant are ineligible for reimbursement.

• 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 publications.

• Finally, please keep in mind that receiving a grant is a rather lengthy 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 possible 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 School 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!

A list of the 2017-18 awardees is available here.



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 Last Modified 8/26/20