The Impact Award recognizes graduate students and recent graduate alumni whose research contributes to the educational, economic, physical, social or cultural well-being of North Carolina communities and citizens.
The Graduate School publicly recognizes Impact awardees at the Annual Graduate Student Recognition Celebration.
View Previous Impact Award winners
- 2023 Impact Award winners
- 2022 Impact Award winners
- 2021 Impact & Horizon Award winners
- 2020 Impact & Horizon Award winners
- 2019 Impact & Horizon Award winners
- 2018 Impact & Horizon 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 (May 2022 or later).
- Your research is on a topic that has a direct relevance to 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.
Impact Awards recognize graduate student research that is of high quality with significant 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.
Your application will be reviewed according to the following criteria:
- The research project, your role within it, and its impact on the state of North Carolina are all clearly defined and articulated.
- Your materials are well-written and understandable to a general audience.
- Your research is innovative and advances understanding within the state.
- Your application materials reflect an understanding of and commitment to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- You have a strong graduate academic record.
The Impact Award is a one-time $500 cash award.
Each department may nominate two students 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, impact statement, and Curriculum Vitae. Arrange for one recommendation letter from the faculty advisor for this project or other appropriate contact. Be sure to follow the application guidelines.
View Frequently Asked Questions about the online award application.
- 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 recommender will receive an email asking them to submit a letter via the online system.
- At the same time, the fellowship and award approvers for your department will receive an email notifying them that you submitted your application.
- Once your letter of recommendation has 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
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 2 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. 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 specific contribution to the project.
Format: No more than 1 page. 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.
- Describe any results obtained in as much detail as possible.
- Describe any implementation efforts that are either underway or under development including any partnerships.
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
Letter of Recommendation
- One letter from your faculty advisor for this research project or other appropriate contact who you have worked with on this project and is familiar with your research.
Indicate the email address of your recommender in your application.
Once you submit your application, your recommender 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