SICB Grants-in-Aid of Research (GIAR)
GUIDELINES FOR SUBMITTING A PROPOSAL TO THE GRANTS-IN-AID OF RESEARCH (GIAR) PROGRAM
DEADLINE: October 24
The Grants-in-Aid of Research (GIAR) program was established in 1996 to provide supplemental awards to graduate students in support of their research in the fields of integrative and comparative biology.
Students may apply to ONLY ONE program, either the Grants-in-Aid of Research (GIAR) or the Fellowship for Graduate Student Travel (FGST).
The GIAR program typically makes 25-35 awards for a total of approximately $30,000 to students from all divisions of the Society.
Previous recipients of any SICB award (GIAR or FGST) are not eligible. Awards are limited to graduate students currently enrolled in degree programs who are active members of SICB. Non-members must become members for the current grant year to be eligible to receive awards. Please also be sure to affiliate with one of SICB’s divisions as you will be asked to report your division affiliation on the grant application.
If two or more applicants are working on part of a larger project but are applying separately for support, each one should identify the other applicant(s) of the project. Unless indicated to the contrary, the SSC will assume that failure to provide support for one applicant does not affect the ability of the other applicants to pursue their research.
Use of funding:
Awards are made payable to the individual recipients (please log in to SICB as a member and check the address associated with your membership; this is where funds will be sent!). No part of an award may be used for the payment of indirect costs to the recipient’s institution. All funds must be expended directly in support of the proposed investigation. GIAR funds can NOT be used to cover major travel expenses related to research (see below for details); the FGST support mechanism is dedicated to supporting research that requires major travel. Any equipment purchased shall be the property of the institution. Awards are made in amounts up to a maximum of $1,000.
Travel-related budget items that ARE supported by the GIAR mechanism:
- Costs to cover gas if conducting research at a local field site near your university.
- Any supplies, consumables, or gear necessary to conduct research in the field (applicant should provide evidence that they have funding to travel to the field site)
- Equipment costs for field-related research (applicant should provide evidence that they have funding to travel to the field site)
- Bench fees or equipment fees at field stations – e.g., use of freezers, dissecting microscopes, bench space, SCUBA tank rentals, gear rentals (applicant should provide evidence that they have funding to travel to the field site)
- Costs associated with being mobile after getting to a field site – e.g., vehicle rental fees at a field stations, rental fees for things like kayaks or canoes, gas or batteries for vehicles (applicant should provide evidence that they have funding to travel to the field site)
Travel-related budget items that are NOT supported by the GIAR mechanism:
- Travel to scientific meetings or symposia
- Airfare to facilitate travel to a distant field site, field station, museum, or collaborator’s laboratory
- Fuel costs if you are conducting research that requires driving long distances regularly (e.g., outside of what you would consider ‘local’ field work)
- Dormitory, housing or lodging costs at a distant field site, field station, museum, or other university
The following other budget items are NOT supported by the GIAR mechanism:
- Educational programs and curriculum development
- Stipends for applicants or assistants
- Manuscript preparation and publication costs
- Purchase of standard equipment and supplies that should normally be available in an institutional research laboratory
- Requests for a second award (regardless of the type, GIAR or FGST)
Electronic application process:
All grant applications must be filed electronically using the forms provided on this website. All fields in the electronic form, including your division affiliation, must be completed unless noted otherwise. The electronic submittal system will not accept any empty fields! Limits of field length apply.
The application will have specific fields for you to enter information about your identity, your institutional affiliation (or field stations/labs at which you’ll be conducting research) and the identity of your principal investigator or other associated personnel. Do NOT provide identifying information in any other sections of the proposal.
Proposal writing and evaluation:
Proposed investigation (3000 characters maximum, including spaces) is the most critical part of the proposal. This should be written by the applicant. The SSC recommends that the applicant distribute her/his proposal well in advance to receive feedback from their major professor, graduate committee, peers, or others willing to provide a constructive review.
Suggestions for writing the proposal: In the first paragraph, state the focal problem clearly and concisely with an explicit research hypothesis that has been set in the context of a broader theory or model. Non-experts will be reading the proposal, so pertinent background information is necessary. The second paragraph should describe the proposed research methods and experimental design and how the gathered data will relate to previous work in the field, the hypothesis, and broader theory or models. The application should include a brief description of the statistical/analytical approach. The third paragraph should present the planned use of the funds. A well-proofread application indicates professionalism and credibility. Literature citations should be indicated, but used sparingly. Include the authors’ names and date of publication (e.g., Darwin 1859, rather than a number) in the narrative. The full citation should be given in the appropriate field using the format in the Society journal, Integrative and Comparative Biology.
There are three sections outside of the proposal itself that the applicant will fill out.
Budget Justification: Justify each budget item. Spend some time on this section because the SSC will need to evaluate whether the funds will be utilized in a reasonable fashion. The best way to do this is to provide an itemized list of budget items with quantities and costs.
Location of the Proposed Research: If you are conducting a field study or a study where the bulk of the work will be done outside of your institution, provide information about the locations that allows the SSC to evaluate the context of your field research and the feasibility of the work. Do NOT provide any specifics about whose laboratory you will be working in. If you are conducting purely laboratory work, you may state “This study will be conducted in the laboratory at my institution” and leave it at that!
Describe the Available Facilities, Supplies, and Financial Supported: Provide details on infrastructure, equipment, and supplies that will help to facilitate the success of your research program. Also, provide details on any other sources of support that are currently available or that are currently pending. Do NOT provide any specifics about the identity of your principal investigator or other associated personnel in this section.
Each proposal will be evaluated in a number of categories. Reviewers will provide scores for the following questions:
- Is the background sufficient for you to understand the study and the appropriate literature cited?
- Is there a clear statement of the primary research goal that links to broader issues in Biology, and has the applicant stated an explicit hypothesis to be tested?
- Is the experimental design clearly explained, justified, and appropriate given the stated goals and hypothesis?
- Is the approach for interpretation of the data clearly described and justified?
- Is the grant well-structured in terms of writing clarity, organization and proofreading?
- Did you find the proposal creative and interesting or especially likely to address an important issue in Biology?
- Is the proposed research feasible (e.g., realistic, likely to yield interpretable results)?
- Are the funds requested reasonable and sufficient to perform the proposed work?
Requested support should contribute directly to the success of the proposed study. The SSC attaches low priority to support for institutional and departmental equipment and facilities.
The SSC will provide feedback to applicants concerning their individual proposals.
For answers to some frequently asked questions, please go to the FAQ page