The Impact Award recognizes graduate students whose research has a special impact on the citizens of North Carolina.
Impact Award winners act as student ambassadors, talking to community groups throughout the state about their work. Additionally, we share Impact Award research with legislators, policy leaders, and members of the community.
The Graduate School recognizes Impact Award recipients at the Annual Graduate Student Recognition Celebration.
View past Impact Award winners:
- 2012 Impact Award winners
- 2011 Impact Award winners
- 2010 Impact Award winners
- 2009 Impact Award winners
- 2008 Impact Award winners
- 2007 Impact Award winners
- 2006 Impact Award winners
- 2005 Impact Award winners
- 2004 Impact Award winners
- 2003 Impact Award winners
The Graduate Education Advancement Board sponsors the Impact Award.
- Selection Criteria
- Award Amount
- How to Apply
- Application Guidelines
- Contact Us
You are eligible if:
- You are a current masters or doctoral student or a recent graduate (must be within 3 years, i.e. May 2010 or later).
- Your research is on a topic related to or has impact on North Carolina.
You may apply from any field of study.
If you are a previous Impact Award winner, you are not eligible to apply again with the same project.
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.
Past Impact Award winners have addressed:
- Diabetes and cancer research
- Theatrical re-enactments
- Public health issues
- Race-related issues
The Impact Award is a one-time cash award. For 2011, the amount was $500, but the amount may change from year to year.
There is no limit on how many students each department can nominate per year.
Deadlines are posted on the funding deadlines calendar.
How to Apply
- 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.
Prepare a research description and Curriculum Vitae. Arrange for two recommendation letters. Be sure to follow the application guidelines.
- Before submitting your application, we suggest you get feedback on your research description from a person outside of your field.
- Submit your materials to the Graduate School Award Online Application.
- Once you submit your application, your recommenders will receive an email asking them to submit a letter via the online system.
- At the same time, the fellowship and award approver for your department will receive an email notifying them that you submitted your application.
- 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.
- We will notify awardees in January.
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:
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.
Your research description should include the three sections described below. Each section must be identified and start on a new page. There are word and/or page limits for each section. No more than 6 pages total will be accepted in accordance with the word/page limits described below.
Double spaced, 12-point font, 1-inch margins, numbered pages, and your name on each page.
- Summary of your research and its impact on North Carolina
- No more than 1/2 a page
- Your research description should include all appropriate details necessary for judging the quality of your research or creative endeavor. Depending upon your discipline, this may include:
- Experimental design
- Research protocols
- Data collection
- Human subjects approvals
- Photographs of artistic works
- Describe the timeline and current status of your project.
- If your research project is part of a collaborative effort or long-term, on-going endeavor with other partners, explain your exact contribution to the project.
- No more than 3 pages
- Describe any results obtained in as much detail as possible. We will give priority to projects with results or conclusions.
- Clearly explain the impact or benefit of your project to North Carolina. Be as specific as possible, for example, “Diabetes affects 2,500 children in North Carolina each year”
- If your research has a benefit beyond North Carolina, include information about the specific impact or benefit to North Carolina.
- If your research addresses social issues, use examples referencing specific problems or areas affected in North Carolina.
- No more than 2 pages
- May be included for important references
- Can be either footnotes or endnotes
- Can be single-spaced
- Will count against the word/page limit of the section they are included in
- Educational and professional achievements
- Degrees or certificates received
- Awards for achievement or service
- Recent grants or scholarships
Format: No more than 2 pages, 12-point font, 1-inch margins, numbered pages, and your name on each page.
Two Letters of Recommendation
- One from your faculty advisor for this research project
- One from another faculty member who is familiar with your research. This recommendation letter does not have to be from a UNC faculty member. It can be from a faculty member from any university.
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.”
- The quality of the student's research
- The recommender's assessment of the significance and impact of the student's research to the overall field of study
- The value the research may likely provide specifically to North Carolina
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.
Graduate School Fellowships Office