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The Graduate Student Research, Service, and Leadership (RSL) Grant Program

Indiana University South Bend provides funding on a competitive basis to support graduate student research, service, and leadership (RSL) projects. Full- and part-time graduate students who are enrolled in a graduate degree program are eligible and are encouraged to apply for grants. Special, non-degree graduate students are not eligible for this program. Students must be registered for a minimum of one graduate credit during the term (summer or semester) following the semester of the grant award.

If your proposal is not funded during one funding cycle, it may be resubmitted for a subsequent funding cycle. The Graduate Council equally welcomes single or multidisciplinary proposals, and multiple student investigators may submit a single proposal and work collaboratively on one research, service, or educational leadership project.

Research Definition: For the purposes of this grant program, the Graduate Council defines the term “research” as any original, investigative, or other type of scholarly activity.  As such, the proposed work may include a variety of original and creative efforts directed toward the advancement of knowledge and understanding within any academic discipline. The Council recognizes that methods of inquiry vary among disciplines. Methodologies used in the basic and applied sciences, for example, will likely differ from those in education. Nonetheless, all proposed projects must meet the following criteria: (1) demonstrate a degree of originality and independence on the part of the student(s), (2) clearly stated research goals, (3) a realistic methodology that appropriately addresses the goals, (4) a clear and reasonable timeline, and (5) results or products with potential for publication, presentation, and/or dissemination through other acceptable means of professional communication or expression.

Service Definition: For the purposes of this grant program, the Graduate Council defines the term “service” as any original project that directly serves the local, regional, national, or international community through the application of a student’s professional knowledge and expertise to a real world problem or issue.  The intent of this part of the grant program is to recognize that some graduate students may undertake major projects that directly benefit governmental and/or non-governmental organizations, but are not “research” as defined above. The rigor of service projects should be comparable to that of research projects and must meet the same standards in that they (1) demonstrate a degree of originality and independence on the part of the student(s), (2) have clearly stated goals, (3) follow a realistic methodology that appropriately addresses the goals, (4) adhere to a clear and reasonable timeline, and (5) produce results or products that not only benefit a service agency, but also have potential for publication, presentation, and/or dissemination through other acceptable means of professional communication or expression.

Leadership Definition: For the purposes of this grant program, the Graduate Council defines “educational leadership” as any activity that enhances or improves practice within one’s academic discipline.  The intent of this part of the grant program is to recognize that some graduate students may seek experiences that directly improve their practice within their given field or improve current practice (e.g. action research, advanced certification, special projects), but that are not part of any research project and are not service related. Like the research and service projects, leadership projects must meet certain criteria as follows: (1) demonstrate a degree of originality in that the activity is not normally part of a student's work, (2) have clearly stated goals, (3) a methodology and/or action plan that appropriately addresses the goals, (4) a clear and reasonable timeline, and (5) produce results or products that directly benefit one’s practice and also have potential for publication, presentation, and/or dissemination through other acceptable means of professional communication or expression. Leadership opportunities must fall into the category of Diversity, International, or Professional Development as defined below.

  • Diversity: The intent of this part of the grant program is to recognize that some graduate students may benefit from an experience in a more diverse environment than the one in which they are currently studying/working. This experience should directly relate to the degree program of study currently being sought through IUSB.

  • International: The intent of this part of the grant program is to recognize that some graduate students may benefit from an international experience. This experience should directly relate to the degree program of study currently being sought through IUSB.

  • Professional Development: The intent of this part of the grant program is to recognize that some graduate students enrolled in a program of study at IUSB may benefit from attending a conference, workshop, training program, or other relevant professional activity. In order to receive funding, students must clearly show that participation in the activity is directly related to and supportive of their culminating or capstone project(s).

Applicants whose research involves human subjects, animals, and/or bio-safety requirements must provide documentation of prior approval by the appropriate University review body.

All proposals must be reviewed and endorsed by the faculty mentor and submitted to the Graduate Council for review and action. Funds may also be used to support work which is part of an Master's Thesis project.


Learn more about the grant application guidelines »