Presidential Graduate Student Initiative

The Presidential Graduate Student Initiative has been established through the President’s Committee on Enhancing Institutional Excellence to build the impact of Iowa State’s graduate programs.

Part I: Presidential Scholars Program

Goal
The Presidential Scholars program is a comprehensive effort to recruit high-quality doctoral students in strategic program areas. Students identified through the program will receive a prestigious scholarship, awarded by the president’s office, as they launch their studies; 33 students will be recruited for FY 2017, with emphasis on a August 2016 entry date.

Commitment
The President’s Office has committed $1,000,000 to the program. Presidential scholars will receive academic year support of $30,000 (stipend plus fringe benefits), for their first year of study. In addition, the student’s college will provide a tuition scholarship, and the academic unit (program, college, department, or principal investigator) will commit to providing a second year of support at the same level.

Process
Thirty-three Iowa State Ph.D. programs that have been identified by college deans will be invited to submit applications for available positions. Special consideration will be given to interdepartmental and high growth programs, as well as those aligned with the university’s strategic priorities.

Part II: Graduate and Postdoctoral Bridge Funding Program

Goal
The graduate and postdoc bridge funding program provides incentives to enable measured risk taking by PIs and graduate/research programs in recruiting additional Ph.D. students and Post-docs beyond the number for which firm committed funding is already in hand.

Four funding situations are envisioned, but other situations may also arise for which requests will be considered:

  1. A Ph.D. student who has been supported on grants experiences an unexpected gap in funding because of a delay in grant renewal or in receipt of an anticipated grant
  2. A Ph.D. student has been supported on a first-year assistantship from institutional sources (interdepartmental graduate program assistantship, departmental assistantship, etc.), and external funding has already been obtained for continuing support, but there will be a gap between the two
  3. A PI or graduate/research program has a Ph.D. student (graduate assistant) in their final semester (primarily writing a dissertation) and has the opportunity to recruit an additional well-qualified Ph.D. student for whom future support will be available when the current student graduates. In this case, bridge funding would support the new Ph.D. student during the final semester of the current student
  4. A post-doc has been supported for a minimum of one full year, the original funding is no longer available, and the research project and post-doc would benefit substantially from a defined, brief extension of the appointment

Commitment
A centrally funded pool of $300,000 will be established for FY2014-2016. Requests will require a minimum 25% match from non-central sources. At this level, the program would be able to provide funding for 10 semester bridge-funded Ph.D. students, two six-month bridge-funded Ph.D. students, and two four-month bridge-funded post-docs (the actual numbers will depend on specific requests approved for funding). Funding is to be used for stipend and fringe benefit support only; tuition scholarships must be provided by the student’s home college. Funding will normally be limited to one semester, but in rare cases may extend to a maximum of six months.

Process
Requests for bridge funding will come from college deans, who will be responsible for certifying the need for funding, and prioritizing multiple requests. Awards will be prioritized to increase Ph.D. degrees awarded (first priority) and post-doc productivity (second priority). Bridge funding for post-docs that allows “early” recruitment of a new post-doc will have a higher priority than when a new post-doc position is not being created. Additional matches from PI incentive, department/program, and or college funding beyond 25% will also increase priority for bridge funding. PIs and graduate programs with high Ph.D. (or post-doc) productivity will have higher priority.