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PhD student Research Grant Fact Sheet


The SPS Research Committee awards small research grants to SPS PhD students for research that is not currently supported by external funding. The goal of these grants is to enable PhD students to carry out research that helps them complete their dissertations or develop other scholarly projects.


All PhD students in Public Policy and Administration are eligible to apply as co-principal investigators for these grants. Each application must identify a student PI and a faculty PI (most likely the dissertation advisor). Each grant may be up to a maximum of $1,500.  PhD students may receive no more than $3,000 per academic year from the SPS Research Committee for a research grant (travel funds from the PhD program do not apply to this this $3,000 limit). Grant monies awarded through this program do not count toward the funding that a faculty member can receive from the SPS research small grants funding program.

The required Post Award Report from that grant must be satisfactorily completed and submitted to the Research Committee prior to applying for a second award.


The Committee will meet to consider funding requests shortly after each deadline (November 15th and March 1) and will consider only those requests that were submitted by the deadline. This policy will be enforced in order to ensure professionalism, fairness to SPS PhD students, and to allow members of the Committee sufficient time to evaluate all proposals. 

Proposal Submission

A completed application (available on the Research Committee’s website), including a detailed budget and all required supporting documentation, must be submitted to for consideration. Proposed expenditures must be consistent with the purpose of the program.

Budget Items ELIGIBLE for support

  • Undergraduate or MA research assistants
  • Payments for research participants or to acquire data
  • Salaries/wages for research support personnel (e.g., technicians, clerical)
  • Travel to attend research-related trainings/workshops (Note: conference travel is not eligible for support under this grant)
  • Travel to conduct research
  • Equipment, supplies, software, and professional services

Budget Items NOT ELIGIBLE for support

  • PI salaries or summer stipends
  • Course buyouts
  • Graduate assistantships or tuition
  • Expenses related to curriculum development, administration, instruction, or instructional training or space renovations
  • Expenses related to conference travel or association memberships

Evaluation Process/Criteria

Only qualified applications (i.e., complete applications submitted by eligible PhD students and 1 faculty advisor) will be considered. The SPS Research Director, and the SPS PhD Director will review each application on the basis of multiple criteria, including: scholarly merit/impact, quality of application, strategic advance of researcher’s dissertation, previous use of committee support, and the committee’s available funding. This committee may, at its discretion, request feedback from relevant experts inside or outside of the School of Public Service and Boise State University. Applicants will be notified via email as quickly as possible about the outcome of the committee’s decision (approximately two weeks from the due date). All research must comply with rules and regulations established by Boise State University’s Institutional Review Board.

The committee reserves the right to grant priority to these projects based on factors such as the student’s progress through the program, how close the student is to completing their dissertation, and the potential for impact of this research outside of the student’s dissertation, either through peer-reviewed research or policy relevant white papers. The committee will give priority to projects that are focused on helping a PhD student complete their dissertation.


Individuals whose requests are declined will receive either an explanation as to why funding was declined or a request for additional information and resubmission. The application will be deemed a resubmission if the investigator proposes the same or substantially similar research. Resubmitted applications must clearly explain how the Committee’s feedback from the previous submission has been addressed. Resubmissions will be considered during the next application deadline.

Use of Funds

Awarded grants will be assigned a number (RCXXXX) and funds will be deposited into the faculty advisor’s local Travel & Development account. The graduate student investigator should work with their faculty sponsor and Team Support representative for all purchasing. Prior to spending any funds, the award recipient must have the spending approved through the SPS spending approval form.

The default funding cycle for research grants is twelve months from the last day of the month in which funds were received. A six-month extension may be requested (described in the next section), but all funds must be spent within one year. Any remaining funds will be returned to the Research Committee.

Extension Request

For funded projects that have not been completed by the six-month deadline (i.e., funds remain that are to be spent on the approved items listed in the grant application), the investigator must submit an Extension Request (available on the Research Committee’s website) to The PhD student and faculty adviser will be notified via e-mail of the Committee’s decision.

Post Award

Once a project is complete, recipients are required to submit a Post Award Report (available on the Research Committee’s website) to This report should only be submitted once all funds have been spent on the approved budget items. If any funds remain (e.g., an expense was less than anticipated), they will be returned to the Research Committee. Where possible, any publications, grants, or awards that resulted from the grant should be noted in the report and attached.

Unless an Extension Request has been granted, the Post-Award Report should be submitted approximately six months after receipt of funds. Once the Post Award Report is submitted, the recipient will become eligible to submit a new research grant proposal if desired.

Recipients who do not use funds in an approved way or who fail to submit this report will be ineligible to receive future support from the Research Committee.

Grant Outcome Update

The Research Committee requests updates from investigators on any additional publications, grant proposals, or awards that resulted from the Research Committee grant but were not included in the Post Award Report. These updates should be sent to Additionally, recipients are encouraged to present the outcome of their funded project at an SPS Brown Bag session or other campus forum. Factors such as evidence of success and continued engagement in the school’s research culture will be considered favorably in the Committee’s subsequent funding decisions.