Impact and Horizon Awards
The Graduate Education Advancement Board Impact Award recognizes graduate students and recent graduate alumni whose research directly contributes to the educational, economic, physical, social or cultural well-being of North Carolina citizens in the near future. Impact Awards recognize graduate student research of a more applied and immediate nature, especially when the graduate student researcher has worked with leaders, citizens or data from North Carolina and when the research results are relevant and directly applicable to North Carolina with the potential to make a difference very soon.
New for 2016, the Horizon Award recognizes graduate students and recent graduate alumni whose research holds extremely high potential for making a significant contribution to the educational, economic, physical, social or cultural well-being of North Carolina citizens and beyond at some future time. Horizon Awards recognize graduate student research of a more theoretical and basic nature that holds high probability of solving a significant problem or issue in North Carolina and beyond, at some time in the future. Breakthrough theoretical discoveries that require more follow-up research to achieve final results or biomedical discoveries that require years of clinical testing before they can be utilized are examples of these highly significant, but longer term, types of research projects.
The Graduate School publicly recognizes Impact and Horizon Award recipients at the Annual Graduate Student Recognition Celebration.
View past Impact Award winners
- 2016 Impact Award winners
- 2015 Impact Award winners
- 2014 Impact Award winners
- 2013 Impact Award winners
- 2012 Impact Award winners
- 2011 Impact Award winners
- 2010 Impact Award winners
- 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 (within the past academic year, i.e. May 2015 or later).
- Your research is on a topic that has a direct impact on North Carolina.
We encourage students in all academic areas to apply; a diversity of research is imperative in demonstrating the importance of Carolina graduate student research to North Carolina.
If you are a previous Impact Award winner, you are not eligible to apply again with the same project for either award.
Impact Awards are meant to recognize a very particular type of research that is of high quality with significant, immediate and direct impact on specific North Carolina citizens, communities, problems and issues.
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. It must contribute new knowledge or insights with a direct impact on the citizens of North Carolina. We are looking for important or innovative research ideas.
A project is more likely to receive an award if it meets the following criteria:
- The descriptions of research clearly describe, in jargon-free language, the direct benefit of the discoveries to North Carolina.
- The research findings are being applied (through creative partnerships with communities, technologies, clinical trials, etc.) to compelling issues and needs in North Carolina.
- For the Impact Award, the project should be nearing or at conclusion, with specific results or conclusions.
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.
Your department may nominate two students per year for the Impact Award and two students per year for the Horizon Award.
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 an abstract, research description, impact statement 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 to help ensure it is widely understandable to a lay audience. An important component of this honor is the ability for recipients to describe their research in jargon-free language to a variety of audiences, and the application review committee takes this into strong consideration.
- 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 early November.
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:
- Online Application
Format: No more than ½ page. 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
Address your research description to an audience of 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.
- 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, ongoing endeavor with other partners, explain your exact contribution to the project.
Format: No more than 2 pages. Double-spaced, 12-point font, 1-inch margins, numbered pages, and your name on each page
- Describe how your research addresses a compelling issue, problem or need for North Carolina.
- Clearly explain the impact or benefit of your project to the North Carolina issue you are addressing. Be as specific as possible, for example, "Diabetes affects 2,500 children in North Carolina each year…" Priority is given to projects that have a direct impact on specific North Carolina communities and/or populations.
- Describe any results obtained in as much detail as possible. Priority for the Impact Award is given to projects with results or conclusions that are in implementation.
- Describe any implementation efforts that are either underway (Impact Award) or under development/have potential (Horizon Award), including any partnerships.
- May be included for important references
- Can be either footnotes or endnotes
- Can be single-spaced
- Will count toward the page limit of the section in which they are included
Format: No more than 2 pages. 12-point font, 1-inch margins, numbered pages, and your name on each page.
- Educational and professional achievements
- Degrees or certificates received
- Research publications/presentations
- Awards for achievement or service
- Recent grants or scholarships
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.
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 an assessment of:
- The quality of the student's research and its significance to the overall field of study
- The impact of the student's research to a specific place/issue/community in North Carolina
- The application of the research results (e.g. partnership with local agencies for implementation)
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