Letter of Faculty Support
The student investigator must have a faculty sponsor for the proposed project. The intent of this requirement is for the investigator to have a faculty sponsor as a mentor who will assist the student in preparing his/her proposal as well as who will understand how to proceed once awards are provided. The faculty sponsor must be a full-time or emeritus faculty member, research associate, or person holding faculty rank or faculty equivalence. The faculty sponsor must provide a letter to be included in the proposal that details his/her support of the investigator and specifically addresses whether regulatory committee approvals will be necessary. The letter is not simply a letter of recommendation.
Provide a brief abstract (limited to 200 words) as a non-technical description of the research question, work to be performed, and expected outcome(s). The abstract should serve as a guide to the reader, introduce key concepts and provide the groundwork for understanding key points. The abstract is page two of the forms packet.
As part of the total award, you may request up to $4,000 in support of operating and travel expenses. The total award, stipend plus expenses, cannot exceed the maximum award listed in the current Request for Proposals. The budget must be well justified and directly relate to the proposed project. Allowable expenses include travel, analysis and equipment access fees, and consumables needed for the execution of the proposed research.
Regulatory oversight checklist
Any research proposal involving controlled substances, radioactive materials, human beings, or animals must be cleared with the appropriate university compliance committee(s) before any funds are released from the C.R. Stillinger Forest Science Research Fellowship. In addition, projects involving the use of controlled substances must be (co-)sponsored by a tenured or tenure-track faculty member who is properly licensed by the appropriate state/federal agencies, and the necessary license information and/or identification must be noted in this section. If you do not need approval from these committees, your faculty sponsor must acknowledge in his/her letter of support that no such approvals are required.
The narrative section is limited to 10 pages [single spaced, 12 point font (Courier New, Times New Roman or Arial)], including charts, tables and optional sections. The page limit does not include citations.
It should present your proposed research in sufficient detail to permit evaluation.
Required sections include (10 page limit):
- Introduction, Background and Purpose – Describe the proposed research, the overall goal, and your specific objectives plus include relevant background information. If germane, include research hypotheses.
- Justification/Importance – Explain how the proposed activity will contribute to the investigator’s academic success, and science in general as well as to the advancement of the discipline of Forest Ecology. Finally, what is the relevance of your proposed project to the aims of the funding source?
- Theory and critical concepts – What theories, if any, have been used to study your topic in the past? What are the strengths and limitations of these theories in light of your proposed research? Explain how you will test theory, apply theory, generate theory, combine theories or use theory in some other fashion (e.g. as an interpretative tool) in your project. If useful, include a graphic theoretical model displaying relationships among the critical constructs and variables in your research.
- Methodology/Design/Methods – Describe in detail your overall approach or design and the procedures or techniques you plan to use to ensure the quality of the data you generate. Be sure to address your selection of a study location and defend your approach to sampling or selection. Briefly discuss the type of data you expect to collect or generate and how you will store and process it. If appropriate, explain your choice of statistical methods.
- Project implementation (tasks, timeline and products) – Provide a table that connects tasks, estimated time, and the outputs. It should demonstrate that you have a realistic understanding of the sequence of tasks and the amount of time it will take to complete them as well as characterize the outputs (e.g., data, journal article, model) and longer-term outcomes (e.g., impacts to forest ecology, impacts for management) will be.
- Institutional resources available – Briefly describe the resources already available through the university that will aid in the completion of your project (i.e. laboratory facilities, existing equipment, etc).
Optional sections (included in 10 page limit)
- Regulatory oversight - If you marked yes to any of the questions on page three of the forms packet, your project will likely require compliance committee oversight. Describe the committee approvals or exemptions you have to obtain or have sought to date. Please be aware that if your project is deemed to need committee oversight, you will have to provide evidence of necessary approvals (e.g., human subjects, animal control, export control) prior to release of any funds.
- Other – Provide any other information that demonstrates you are capable of conducting the activities specified in the proposal.
Citations (does not count towards page limit)
- Literature Cited – You may use any standard format that is used in the primary scientific literature, and it is expected that literature will be used throughout all sections of the proposal.