CAFNR Dissertation Research Improvement Grants

The College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Office of Research is pleased to offer the CAFNR Dissertation Research Improvement Grants (C-DRIG) of up to $2,000 to support or partially support dissertation research projects proposed by doctoral students in the College. Eligible students will have completed their coursework and have advanced to candidacy or will advance to candidacy within six months of the C-DRIG awards.

Proposals will be evaluated by the CAFNR Research Council, an advisory body that advises CAFNR Office of Research and is made up of representatives from each Division in the College.

Awards have a duration of one year, beginning May 1 and expiring on April 30 of the following year. Pre-award costs may be incurred for expenditures up to 90 days prior to the award start date with approval from Associate Dean Shibu Jose; however, no-cost extensions will not be granted, and any remaining funds will be reclaimed.

  • Application Deadline: March 15
  • Estimated Number of Awards: 5
  • Anticipated Funding Amount per Award: $2,000
  • Winners Announced: Early May


  1. Students must be currently enrolled in a CAFNR PhD program.
  2. Student must have completed their graduate coursework and advanced to candidacy or will advance to candidacy within six months of the award.
  3. Dissertation committee must have approved the topic for research and specific objectives/approaches to that topic.

Application Process

Prepare all materials using a minimum of 11 point font, with one inch margins all around. Be sure to include the following:

  1. Title Page (1 page maximum): Include the Title of the Project, Name and Contact Information of the Student, Name of the Doctoral Program, Name of the Division, Name and Contact Information of the Advisor.
  2. Proposal Narrative (single-spaced, 4 pages maximum): Discuss the proposed research, and clearly explain the rationale, research question of interest, hypothesis, methods to be used and the expected results. The rationale should explain how and why this research question is significant and/or innovative in the context of existing literature in the discipline and how the proposed work relates and adds to the ongoing research the student already is conducting. The scientific merit and broader impacts of the proposed work should be clear. Identify the anticipated outcomes and outputs of the research (broader impacts, publications, presentations, patents etc.). Also, include a timeline of different activities.
  3. References (No page limit): A list of relevant references cited in the proposal narrative should be included in a separate References/Bibliography section.
  4. Budget and Budget Justification (1 page maximum): Be sure to include item, cost, quantity, and justification for each item. Funds may support expenses tied clearly to the project and can include research-related travel (no conference travel), equipment, human subject payments, supplies, special computer needs (e.g., special software; no computer), and other miscellaneous research expenses.
  5. A Curriculum Vita of the Student (2 pages maximum)
  6. Any Other Funding Support: A description of other funding available to support the work. If no funding is available, include a statement to indicate so and explain clearly if the CAFNR support alone can help fulfill the objectives of the dissertation work.
  7. Supporting Letter (2 pages maximum): A letter from the student’s advisor is required. It should include the following:
    a. Confirmation of the student’s advancement to candidacy.
    b. Confirmation that the proposed work supports the dissertation research and the overall topic has been approved by the dissertation committee.
    c. Discussion on impact and feasibility of the proposed research.
    d. Assessment of the appropriateness of the proposed budget.

Submit the completed DRIG application (items 1 through 6 above) as a single PDF file by the deadline to Rhonda Turner in the CAFNR Office of Research (

Supporting letter (item #7) needs to be submitted separately and directly by the student’s advisor by the deadline to Rhonda Turner in the CAFNR Office of Research (

Incomplete applications will not be considered for funding.

Review Criteria

Proposals will be reviewed based on the

  1. Scientific merit and novelty of the proposed research,
  2. Broader Impact,
  3. Credentials of the student as documented in the CV, and
  4. Letter of support from the advisor.

Successful Applications

Awardees are required to submit two pieces of information:

  1. Final Report (2 page maximum): A report summarizing the accomplishments and highlighting the outcomes and outputs needs to be submitted no later than 3 months following completion of the grant period.
  2. Additional Support: If additional support for your dissertation project is received, please notify the CAFNR Office of Research as soon as possible. This is to track return on the investment in terms of additional funding.

CAFNR Office of Research