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:
- 2013 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 (within the past academic year, i.e. May 2012 or later).
- Your research is on a topic related to or has impact on North Carolina.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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:
- 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 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.
- 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.
Format: No more than 2 pages. Double-spaced, 12-point font, 1-inch margins, numbered pages, and your name on each page
- Describe any results obtained in as much detail as possible. Priority is given 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 and use examples referencing specific problems or areas affected in North Carolina. Priority is given to projects that have a local impact on specific North Carolina communities and/or populations.
- 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. 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