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Student Innovation

Each year GRI students have the opportunity to partner with other students, faculty, staff, and alums to receive start-up funds to pursue their research ideas.

The Global Research Institute was founded when students asked tough research questions and worked with faculty mentors to create new knowledge. Investing in students is a GRI priority and innovation funding is one way we’re doing this. Examples of student-led research projects include developing a methodology to track Chinese investments, designing and implementing a survey about agriculture microinsurance in Kenya, and conducting analysis to better counter disinformation practices.

Awards will be made on a rolling basis throughout the year and applications are welcome at any time. If you have questions about your idea or the application process, please reach out to [[rmhalleran,Rebecca Latourell, Director of Programs & Outreach]]

Successful applications will include the following components:
Research Concept:
  • In 1-2 single-spaced pages, define your research question, related to a global challenge or issue. How will you answer this question? You can think of this as explaining the global problem you are addressing, and how you are well positioned to do so.
  • What new knowledge or product will you create? Please specify the final outputs you will create if funded (e.g., white paper, dataset, journal article). How will that knowledge or product help us better understand the issue?
  • What external partner(s) would use this work, and how would it be useful to them (i.e., why is this valuable beyond W&M)? If you have any planned or proposed partnerships, briefly describe them.
  • Provide a breakdown of your anticipated costs (e.g., student wages, dataset purchase)
  • Note: Awards of up to $5000 will be made through this funding window. Mentors are eligible to receive a $1000 stipend deposited in their research account.
Proposed Timeline:
  • Identify your implementation timeline
  • Provide anticipated milestone dates within the timeline
Faculty Mentors:

In your letter of support (up to 1 single-spaced page), please address the following topics:

  • How does this project fit with your research agenda?
  • Assess the students’ ability to complete this project if they receive funding.
  • How will you support the students to ensure that they successfully complete the project? In this section, provide an assessment of your bandwidth to serve as a hands-on mentor. We expect the mentor role will take at least one hour/week.
An example of a strong previous project proposal can be found here. (Note that this was prepared with different length requirements, and should be used as an example only.)

Upon receipt of the application, the GRI team may reach out with additional questions for the applicants or faculty mentor.

Accepted projects will be expected to provide an update at least once a semester in the form of a blogpost. Project leads, along with their faculty mentor, may also be asked to present their results to the GRI Director.