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TPS Graduate Student Grant Competition

Any TPS student (see definition in  II-A of TPS Bylaws) may submit proposals. This excludes rotation students who do not yet have an advisor. Students who are not members of a TPS laboratory may only submit travel proposals or be part of collaborative grants as Co-PIs, with the grant PI being a member of a TPS laboratory.

Categories are set at the discretion of the TPS Grant Competition Director and the Grant Committee and major changes must be approved by the TPS Executive Committee. See guidelines of the TPS Grant call for more details.

TPS encourages the submission of proposals in several categories. New categories run for a probation period of two years and their continuity is based on their success delivering positive assets to the TPS community. Funding for travel proposals should not exceed 60% of the total funding allocated to the grant competition. The Grant Committee reviews non-travel proposals first, assigns a funding level for them, and establishes a ranking of these proposals for funding. The committee then considers travel proposals and establish a ranking of proposals for funding.

Awarded funds are to be used for the purpose stated in the original proposal and completed within the fiscal year. For travel proposals, the purpose includes the specific conference and the awardee’s role at the conference. 

In the event that the awardee cannot use the awarded funds (e.g. not invited to a conference) or the original project needs to be modified, modifications of the original proposal should be submitted in writing (email) by the awardee to the Grant Competition Director. The Grant Competition Director decides in consultation with the Grant Committee whether to rescind the award or conduct a re-evaluation. The Grant Competition Director shall be notified of the completion of funded proposals so that any unused funds can be redistributed according to the ranking of originally submitted proposals. The Grant Competition Director may choose to open an extraordinary application process for awarding unused funds or give the remaining funds to the TPS.

Because the dates of the conferences and trips submitted for travel proposals may not be aligned with the timeline of the TPS Grant competition and the end of the fiscal year, proposals for this category may be submitted to either fund a conference attendance (December-May) or to reimburse the expenses related with the attendance of a previous conference that occurred before the TPS Grant Competition (June-November).

All TPS grant proposals are now evaluated with an additional “activity” criterion in addition to the previous criteria specific to each proposal type. This criterion is scored 1-5 and based solely on the activity of the student concerning the TPS organization and events. Below are example activity levels that merit each score to be used as guides for grant reviewers rather than steadfast rules:

5 – Exceptional activity: Leadership role in current or recent years (e.g. President, Recruitment Chair, etc. on the GSO) in addition to previous involvements in TPS activities.

4 – High activity: Generally active role in TPS activities including at least one major contribution to a TPS event (e.g. preparation for recruitment weekend, organization of industry visit, etc.) in addition to previous involvements in TPS activities.

3 – Moderate activity: Consistent contributions to TPS (e.g. attendance at all major TPS events, oral or poster presentations to the TPS-DG and the TPS Symposium) but without an organizational or leadership role.

2 – Low activity: Inconsistent contributions to TPS (e.g. mediocre attendance to TPS events, discussion groups and TPS Symposium).

1 – No activity: no contributions to TPS (e.g. no attendance to TPS events or leadership activity).

A checklist will be provided on the TPS grant application where applicants will check off their contributions (e.g. leadership position) as well as list how that contribution was manifested (e.g. Treasurer). An additional “other” section will be provided for applicants to list less common contributions which still merit consideration in the activity criterion (e.g. helping with driving during

a. Presentation

All TPS award recipients are expected to present the outcome of their award at a TPS-DG.

  • Travel award recipients are expected to present 3-4 slides summarizing the current trends of research from the talks at the meeting/ conference.
  • Individual and collaborative research awardees will give a detailed presentation about their research outcomes.

b. Report and acknowledgement

  • At the end of the research, awardees are also expected to submit a short report (about one page) of their results to TPS.
  • The awardee is expected to acknowledge TPS in their funding sources when the research or part of it supported by TPS results in a publication.
  • Travel awardees presenting a talk/ poster at a conference are expected to acknowledge TPS as funding in their respective presentation.

c. Training for equipment/ software

TPS student(s) and laboratory(ies) receiving awards for purchasing equipment or software or bringing new techniques to the TPS are responsible for upkeep of the same and making sure protocols and procedures for the technique is documented and made available to the TPS community. This should include the training of other students as well as making videos, protocols or other media that will ensure that the knowledge remains available to the TPS community.

d. Serving on next grant panel

All awardees should be prepared to serve on the next year’s grant panel, if called upon.

The Grant Competition Director reports the activities of the Grant Committee to the Finance Director and the TPS Director.

The Grant Competition Director is responsible for assembling the Grant Committee consisting of graduate students, post-docs and faculty drawn in approximately equal proportions from the TPS community. The TPS-GSO Treasurer sits on the committee. The size of the committee is in proportion to the applications submitted in the funding period, at the discretion of the Grant Competition Director. Recent awardees are preferentially selected for the committee. Students, post-docs and faculty of students Translational Plant Sciences Program who have a conflict of interest with grant applicants (i.e. are Pi/Co-PI, or mentoring a student on a grant on the same term) can sit on the committee, but must recuse themselves from deliberating on the grant with which a conflict of interest exists.


*Source: Translational Plant Sciences By-Laws, rev. Feb 2018, pp 6-9


John McDowell, Grant Competition Director 2018-2019

News and Updates

2018-2019 competition information and proposal criteria will be available here once scheduled. Please check back for updates.