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Call for Proposals: 2018 Seed Grant for Reducing Time to Doctoral Degree (RTDD)

Submitted on February 8, 2018

Purpose of the Initiative

Time to degree remains persistently high in our country, and the University of Arizona is no exception to this.  While in the STEM fields students take on average seven years to earn a PhD, those in some humanities fields can take more than nine years to complete their degrees.

Most studies agree that timely graduation is as much about leadership and culture as it is about resources. It is to the benefit of an institution’s leadership and the success of graduate programs to invest resources to improve time-to-degree and graduation rates of PhD students.

In this respect, the Graduate College is pleased to announce the launching of a Seed Grant “Reducing Time of Doctoral Degree” Funding Initiative to support doctorate programs reduce graduation time and rates. This is a one-time funding support to graduate programs to propose activities that would help improve graduation time of PhD students with a research-based dissertation requirement.

Funding Priorities

Grant proposals may consider one or more of the following topics among others:

  • Adaptation of curricula and/or degree requirements;
  • Academic development opportunities for students in relation to their degree research projects;
  • Foster and/or enhance on-going national and/ or international collaborations that graduate students may have in relation to their doctoral work;
  • Advising and mentoring activities to support students;
  • Development of tools and/or applications that will help track/monitor students’ progress
  • The program does not fund: Ongoing operational funding for existing activities, projects, or programs

Review Criteria

Proposals will be reviewed according to the following criteria:

  • Does the proposal trigger a cultural shift that supports improvement of time to degree?
  • Will the effects of the proposal be long-lasting?
  • Does the proposed activity have or have the potential for self-sustainability after the expiration of seed-grant funding?
  • Does the proposal result in application/transfer of ideas or best practices outside of a single academic unit

Application Contents

  1. Cover Sheet (1 page)
    1. Project title
    2. Names of team members, department affiliations, and email addresses
    3. Brief description of key roles of team members (150 words/person)
  2. Proposal (maximum 3 pages)
    1. Project summary (maximum 250 words). Describe project, including goals, proposed activities, impact, timeline.
    2. Background information and rationale (maximum 500 words). Explain the context and background of your project with an explanation of why the proposed activities will be effective.
    3. Project description (maximum 2000 words). Must include the following subsections:
      • Detailed plan for the project
      • How the project will be evaluated for its effectiveness, including what will be measured and how it will be measured.
      • Relevance of proposed activities to funding priorities and review criteria of the "Reducing Time of Doctoral Degree Initiative".li>
      • How the project or benefits from the project will be sustained beyond the funding period and how that sustained activity will be assessed.
      • Project timeline
    4. Letter of endorsement: If applicants are graduate students, include a letter from at least one faculty member or program director endorsing your project.
    5. Letter of support from Department Head, Dean or Associate Dean: Please provide a letter of support from the project home department head (if not the PI), Dean or Associate Dean.
  3. Budget (maximum 2 pages)
    1. Budget: Suggested categories include supplies/equipment, personnel*, training, facility rental, etc.
    2. Budget justification (no more than one page)

* May consider temporary but not full-time salary for person involved in the development of a program/activity related to the grant proposed activities.

Proposal Formatting Guidelines

Pages must have a one-inch margin (sides, top, bottom) and should be numbered with the name of the project at top right.
Font type should be Arial or Times New Roman and size should not be smaller than 11 points.
Please use single spacing.

Submission Directions

Proposals must be submitted via email to Dr. Patricia Stock (
Please include the following information in the "subject section" of the email: "RTDD Seed Grant - PI last and first name"

Submission Deadline:  May 15th, 2018
Award Announcement: June 8th, 2018