Impact Award

The Impact Award recognizes graduate students whose research contributes to the educational, economic, physical or social well-being of the citizens of North Carolina.

The Graduate School shares Impact Award research with legislators, policy leaders, and members of North Carolina communities and awardees may act as student ambassadors, discussing their work with citizens and community groups.

The Graduate School recognizes Impact Award recipients at the Annual Graduate Student Recognition Celebration.

View past Impact Award winners:

The Graduate Education Advancement Board sponsors the Impact Award.

Application Information

Submit Application »

Eligibility

You are eligible if:

You may apply from any field of study. Projects in humanities, economics, and social and behavioral areas are encouraged to apply.

If you are a previous Impact Award winner, you are not eligible to apply again with the same project.

Selection Criteria

You must be able to specifically describe the significance of your research to the state of North Carolina, especially if your research project has a broad reach. That impact can be basic as well as applied. It can have a direct impact on the citizens of North Carolina and beyond. Or, it can have a more indirect impact through new knowledge gained. For example, it may provide insight on educational, economic, health, social, cultural, or environmental effects.

We are looking for important or innovative research ideas. At the same time, a project is more likely to get an award if it is more complete and has some results or conclusions.

Your research description should be understandable to a person outside of your field and free of jargon.

Award Amount

The Impact Award is a one-time cash award. Last year, the award amount was $500, but the amount may change from year to year.

Nomination

Your department may nominate two students per year for the Impact Award.

Deadline

Deadlines are posted on the funding deadlines calendar.

How to Apply

Submit Application »

  1. Please check with your department for their internal deadline. You must complete your application early enough for your department to nominate you to The Graduate School by the deadline.
  2. Prepare an abstract, research description, impact statement and Curriculum Vitae. Arrange for two recommendation letters. Be sure to follow the application guidelines.

    View Frequently Asked Questions about the online award application.

  3. Before submitting your application, we suggest you get feedback on your research description from a person outside of your field to help ensure it is widely understandable to a lay audience.
  4. Submit your materials to the Graduate School Award Online Application.
  5. Once you submit your application, your recommenders will receive an email asking them to submit a letter via the online system.
  6. At the same time, the fellowship and award approver for your department will receive an email notifying them that you submitted your application.
  7. Once your letters of recommendation have been submitted, your department may nominate you for the award. If your department selects your application, they must nominate it to The Graduate School by the deadline.
  8. We will notify awardees in January.

Application Guidelines

We will not consider your application if you exceed any of the specified page limits and/or you do not follow the proper format.

A complete application includes:

Abstract

Format: No more than ½ page. Double-spaced, 12-point font, 1-inch margins, numbered pages, and your name on each page.

Include:

Research Description

Address your research description to an audience of intelligent reviewers who may not be familiar with your field. Clearly explain the importance of your research to a lay audience. Do not use jargon or technical, field-specific terminology.

Format: No more than 3 pages Double spaced, 12-point font, 1-inch margins, numbered pages, and your name on each page.

Include:

Impact statement

Format: No more than 2 pages. Double-spaced, 12-point font, 1-inch margins, numbered pages, and your name on each page

Include:

Citations (optional)

Curriculum Vitae

Format: No more than 2 pages, 12-point font, 1-inch margins, numbered pages, and your name on each page.

Two Letters of Recommendation

Indicate the email addresses of your recommenders in your application.

Once you submit your application, your recommenders will receive an email asking them to submit a recommendation letter for you.

Instructions for recommenders:
Address letters of recommendation “To the Impact Award Committee.”
Include:

Each recommendation letter should be no more than 4,000 characters (spaces included), which is approximately 600 words or one single-spaced page.

We can only accept letters of recommendation through the online system. Recommenders cannot submit letters directly to The Graduate School or to the student’s department.

Contact Us

Graduate School Fellowships Office
gradfunding@unc.edu