NHAES Graduate Research Assistantship Support Program

Updated September 2019

Among the goals of the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station (NHAES) is to enhance the productivity and impacts of its funded research, increase effectiveness of our funded faculty members, strengthen the associated graduate program, and help train the next generation of agricultural scientists. The GRA Support Program is intended to increase engagement of excellent doctoral students in NHAES research activities.

Funding Amount, Duration and Timing

NHAES will provide funding on a competitive basis to support 24-month, 0.5-time stipend plus tuition and health fees for doctoral (strongly preferred) students who are working on active NHAES projects. The graduate student must work 20 hours on NHAES project to comply with federal time and effort reporting regulations. This comes with the expectation that the Project Director PDs will cover the remainder of the student’s full graduate program costs (stipend/tuition/fees/operations) with his or her own extramural funding. Internal resources, including a teaching assistantship, cannot be used to pay for these expenses, as one key goal of the NHAES funding is to stimulate graduate student support through extramural funds.

GRA Support Program awards are available to graduate faculty who are engaged in active NHAES projects. For a number of reasons including net cost, priority for funding will be given to PDs who are tenured or tenure-track faculty within COLSA and for students in COLSA graduate programs. Proposals are submitted by and awards made to individual faculty members, not student applicants.

Because personnel funding received by NHAES is on an annual "use it or lose it" basis, these dollars must be expended only during the two award years except in the unusual case of prior written agreement. Unspent dollars may not be carried over or retargeted to other uses.

Eligibility and Award Criteria

Funding is available to faculty having active NHAES projects that are awarded through the regular competitive review process. The preferred time for faculty to apply for GRA or postdoctoral scientists funding is when sufficient time remains in their approved research project; generally concurrent with a new or revised Hatch, Hatch-Multistate or McIntire-Stennis project proposal submission or the first year of their project to ensure at least two years remaining funded project duration to accommodate the (conventional) two-year GRA or postdoc.

Note: Only one NHAES personnel position will be supported in any laboratory or research program at a time. If you currently have two-year NHAES GRA or Postdoc support that starts this fall, you are not eligible to apply for additional funding at this time.

Due to the popularity of this program and limited funds, project directors may receive no more than two rounds of personnel funding (two years each), followed by a gap of at least two years.

For Federal Fiscal Years (FFY) 2020 and 2021, all our McIntire-Stennis funds are fully encumbered through project awards. Thus, there will be no competition for new GRA or Postdoc awards within McIntire-Stennis program for the next two years.

Postdoctoral scientists and graduate students who are not U.S. citizens are eligible for this program. Noncitizens must have proper documentation allowing them to work in the United States to be paid from NHAES federal funds. Potential faculty sponsors should contact the UNH Office of International Students & Scholars (OISS) to ensure that all required preparations and documentation are completed. The OISS website is http://www.unh.edu/oiss/. Such individuals would presumably be J-1 Exchange Visitors; see the tabs for Faculty/Staff and Departments on the OISS website.

The NHAES half-time GRA must work at least 20 hours a week on the PD’s NHAES research.  For postdocs, the candidate is expected to work full time (>40 hours a week) on the PI’s NHAES research.  Award criteria therefore focus on the PD’s demonstrated past and anticipated future research productivity, demonstrated ability to leverage NHAES funds with external grant dollars to support GRAs and postdocs, including a mixture of the following:

  • professional accomplishments
  • record of scholarly publications (last five years)
  • record of research impacts and outcomes
  • leveraging of resources through extramural funding
  • graduate students mentored and their outcomes
  • the supported GRA or postdoc’s proposed research role and activities
  • the supported GRA or postdoc’s research relevance to local/regional and national priorities
  • potential for individual and programmatic productivity and impacts
  • other considerations that advocate for a sound investment of NHAES funds

Based on funding and institutional strategies to grow doctoral student numbers, we may fund relatively fewer postdoctoral scientists in favor of supporting a greater number of GRAs in this round of the competition for personnel. If you request a Postdoc but are also willing to cover a doctoral GRA should the postdoc award not be funded, please note this prominently in your proposal document.

Proposal Timing and Format

An annual request for GRA and postdoctoral funding proposals will occur each year, following the annual request for NHAES project proposals. This year the proposals must be submitted by November 12. Award decisions will be made shortly following review of new NHAES project proposals, so those PIs receiving approval for new projects may be considered for GRA or postdoc support funding.

The proposal must be single-spaced 11-point font or larger. They should clearly address each of the award criteria listed above, beginning with a statement of what the GRA or Postdoc will contribute to new or current NHAES research.  The proposal must not exceed 4 pages including the abbreviated CV for the PD.  For postdoctoral scientist proposals, where an individual has already been identified for the position, two additional pages are permitted to include an abbreviated CV for the potential postdoc.

For more information, please see the NHAES Research Projects Manual.