Chicago Materials Research Center


MRSEC Graduate Fellowships

All graduate students training in MRSEC-supported laboratories can apply for the MRSEC Graduate Fellowship. This fellowship supports collaborative research projects that advance MRSEC scientific and/or outreach goals.

Individuals or teams of graduate students can submit proposals for collaborative research between multiple research groups. The collaboration should include at least one MRSEC laboratory. If the proposal does not include a MRSEC lab, it is preferred that the collaborating lab is located at UChicago. Proposals may establish new projects or support ongoing work in materials research that advance Interdisciplinary Research Group or Superseed research agendas.

The one-year fellowship carries a full stipend for one graduate student, plus a $2,500 travel budget. For teams involving two or more graduate students, MRSEC divides monetary support equally among the group and considers each member a MRSEC Graduate Fellow. MRSEC expects to support three fellowship positions at any given time, with funding to start immediately following a decision.

The MRSEC director and members of the MRSEC Graduate Fellowship Committee determine fellowship recipients.

Eligibility and how to apply

Graduate students at any stage of their education can apply. The criteria for proposal evaluation include (i) quality of the proposed materials science and (ii) demonstrated excellence in collaborative research of participant(s).

A complete application contains:

• CV(s) of applicant(s)

• One-page proposal (figures on additional pages) written by the graduate student(s) describing work to be performed during fellowship period

• Letter from at least one MRSEC PI describing how the proposal advances scientific and/or outreach goals of MRSEC

Competition Schedule

  Application Deadline Decision Notification
Fall 2023 November 1, 2023 December 1, 2023
Spring 2024 May 31, 2024 June 30, 2024
Fall 2024  October 15, 2024 November 15, 2024
Spring 2025 April 15, 2025 May 15, 2025

Travel support

MRSEC has a subsidy that allows us to provide up to $500 to help graduate students attend scientific conferences and give either oral or poster presentations on MRSEC-supported research. All graduate students working on MRSEC-supported research are eligible. The presentation must acknowledge MRSEC support for the research.

MRSEC intends to use this subsidy in situations where students have made an effort to secure student fellowships that pay partial conference support but did not receive support. We prefer to use these funds for smaller meetings, like Gordon Conferences, to increase impact. Large meetings, such as ACS, APS, and MRS, are excluded from this subsidy.

MRSEC will consider applications as they come in and until the earmarked funds are exhausted.

How to receive support

Graduate students planning to use this subsidy should contact the MRSEC director before the conference and provide:

  • Poster or oral presentation title
  • Conference name and location
  • Co-author(s) on the presentation
  • Statement regarding efforts made to secure additional support through conference participation and/or travel fellowships

To get reimbursed, students should also include the above items with the travel voucher. There will be no advance payments.

Support for underrepresented minority and female graduate students

MRSEC has set aside funds to increase our number of underrepresented minority and female graduate students. Per the National Science Foundation, underrepresented minorities include African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders. PIs planning to employ underrepresented minority or female graduate students in MRSEC research should contact the MRSEC director about additional support.

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