ASTR 8500 (O'Connell, February 2016)


As an exercise, we are asking each student to draft a proposal to the Virginia Space Grant Consortium to support their own existing research project.

The VSGC is a NASA program administered through the states to support education in areas related to space science and technology. It offers a $6000 supplemental fellowship to graduate students who are working in these areas and who are already supported by their universities.

Our students have been quite successful at securing VSGC support. This year's deadline is already past, but this exercise will be excellent practice if you are interested in applying in the future.

The VSGC program for 2016-17 is described here (PDF file).

A sample application form is provided here (PDF file). In the time-honored tradition, the form is somewhat confusing about what you are expected to supply.

Here's what you should do:

  1. Create a facsimile of the important parts of the application form and fill out the various annoying box-entry boilerplate.

  2. Include the sections that identify your faculty advisor but ignore the request for a second reference-writer. You do not need to request a letter of reference from your advisor.

  3. Write a personal resume according to the instructions. We will have a discussion of the format and the kinds of things to include and exclude during a later class meeting.

  4. Write a brief statement (not to exceed 750 words) describing "how your research aligns with NASA's Mission Directorates." Since the real answer in some cases might be "not at all," you may want to exercise some creative skill here.

  5. Provide a title and a research statement explaining what you intend to do over the 12-month period covered by the award. Minimum 2 pages, maximum 3 pages. Include references to the literature. This description should be thoughtful and accurately reflect the status and intended goals of your own research.

  6. Write a brief statement (not to exceed 750 words) that describes your short and long term career goals (5 and 20 years) and how this research supports your goals.

  7. Ignore the "additional comments" entry.

  8. Produce a PDF file of all this material and turn it in to me by the deadline (TBD).

  9. Prepare a 5-10 min talk on your proposal to present to the class using PowerPoint slides to illustrate your research program.

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Last modified February 2016 by rwo

Text copyright © 2012-2016 Robert W. O'Connell. All rights reserved.