Graduate Fellowships FAQ

Below are a list of questions and answers relating to the Full Year and Summer graduate fellowships.

If you have any further questions, please contact Dr. Neville Millar, KBS LTER Science Coordinator.

1. Is my research eligible for the fellowships?
We require that you are interested in, or are currently conducting research in association with the KBS LTER Program. In all cases your proposal should be broadly relevant to LTER research. You can of course apply if you are currently, or have been previously part of the LTER Program.

2. How competitive are the fellowships?
The fellowships are competitive, but there is a good chance of success with a well-crafted proposal. In the last two years we have received five applications for the full year fellowship and sixteen applications for the summer fellowships.

3. What can the fellowships pay for?
The fellowships are primarily for stipends. Remaining funds can be used to pay for tuition, health insurance, and research related expenses including sampling and analysis, and conference attendance.

4. Are there examples of previously successful proposals online?
Not at this time, but please see links to past awardees of the full year and summer fellowships. Contacting recent awardees and discussing their successful proposals could be helpful; sending your proposal drafts to senior colleagues for review may also be beneficial.

5. Can I submit a proposal if I am not currently enrolled at MSU?
No, you must be currently enrolled at MSU to be eligible for the fellowships.

6. Do I need to have passed my written comprehensive exam to apply for the summer fellowships?
No, this is only a requirement for the full year fellowship; summer fellowships are open to Masters and PhD students.

7. Do I have to be part of the KBS LTER Program to apply for a fellowship?
No, we require only that you are interested in, or are currently conducting research in association with the KBS LTER Program. In all cases your proposal should be broadly relevant to LTER research. You can of course apply if you are currently, or have been previously part of the LTER Program.

8. Does my advisor need to be part of the KBS LTER Program?
No, there is no need for your advisor to be part of the LTER program.

9. Can I apply for both the summer fellowships and the full year fellowship?
Yes, please submit a separate application for each, tailoring your proposal (including budget) to the requirements of each. Please note that an unsuccessful full year fellowship application will not be automatically considered for a summer fellowship.

10. Do I need to submit a reference letter?
No, but in your proposal, please include the names of three references, indicating which one is your primary degree adviser.

11. Is there a specific format required for the proposal document (e.g., font sizes and type, page margins, word count, etc.)?
No, but please make sure the text (and any tables and graphs) is clear and readable. Please also submit all required information as a single pdf file.

12. Can a reference list be sent separately?
No, if references are used, please include the list within the limits of the proposal; two pages for the full year fellowship, and one page for the summer fellowships.

13. How are the proposals evaluated and by whom?
Proposal evaluation includes an appraisal of the quality of the science; it’s relevance to LTER research, the projects’ feasibility with respect to time and funds, and overall clarity. Proposals will be evaluated by the KBS LTER Executive Committee.

14. If my proposal is successful, will I become part of the KBS LTER Program?
Yes. Your name will be listed on the graduate student list, and added to a small number of relevant mailing lists. You’ll also be expected to attend and participate in KBS LTER events such as the All Scientists Meeting and Investigators Tour, typically held each year in the Fall. Dr. Neville Millar, KBS LTER Science Coordinator, will keep you updated on these events.

15. Do I need to complete a report?
Yes. All fellowships require a written report to be sent to Dr. Neville Millar, KBS LTER Science Coordinator at millarn@msu.edu by October 1st after the award period. The report should include an overview of your accomplishments as well as any problems that you faced in meeting your proposal goals. We also require a blog post to be sent during or after the award period to Dr. Julie Doll, KBS LTER Outreach and Education Coordinator.

16. Do I need to publish papers from the fellowship?
No, but any presentations or publications that were helped by the funding should acknowledge fellowship funding.

17. Do I need to be resident at KBS to complete the fellowship?
No, there is no need for you to be resident at KBS. However, you’d be very welcome to sign up for any KBS summer graduate courses that interest you, including the Eminent Ecologists Series as part of the KBS graduate program.