Graduate Research and Creative Opportunities Grant

Call for Proposals

old main with bare trees and snow


  • Please give yourself, your faculty advisor, and your department chair plenty of time for this process.
  • Your proposal is not considered submitted until your department chair has reviewed, approved, and submitted it on your behalf by the RSP deadline.

Suggested Timeline

We suggest that application materials are sent to....    *

  • Faculty Advisor: 2 weeks before RSP deadline 
  • Department Chair: 1 week before RSP Deadline

*Be sure to check if your department has set specific internal deadlines!

Who can apply?

  • Any registered graduate student in good standing
  • Both individual and collaborative (team) proposals are eligible


RSP offers grants to graduate students working with a faculty mentor to engage in independent scholarly research, scientific inquiry, new technology development, and artistic/creative activity. Previous awards have supported fieldwork, artistic projects and performances, scientific research, and other innovative projects.

This award is competitive, so please work closely with your Faculty Advisor on your application. Applications are accepted during fall, winter, and spring quarters.

The Graduate Committee of the Research and Creative Activities Council makes funding recommendations to the Vice Provost for Research.


  • To assist students in accomplishing the research/scholarly/creative work required by their degree program.
  • Request up to $1,500 per project for expenses relevant to the student's work. 
  • Request funds for research necessities not already available through the student's academic department or college.


This grant program is open to any registered graduate student in good standing. Preference will be given to new applicants. This program supports both individual and collaborative (team) proposals. 


In all cases, award size is limited to $1,500 per team. Team projects may request funding via two mechanisms: (1) multiple students may be listed as co-authors on a single proposal, or (2) separate proposals may be prepared by each team member for distinct aspects of a single project. Proposals submitted via mechanism (2) should be separately authored (no sections of any two proposals should be identical) and will be independently evaluated based on their own merit. All team proposals should clearly define the individual contributions and role of each participant.


Up to $1,500 per grant


12 months from the date on the award letter, or until you graduate or leave the university, whichever comes first.


Fall 2022: November 2

Winter 2023: February 15

Spring 2023: May 10

Award Notification Dates

Fall 2022: December 7

Winter 2023: March 15

Spring 2023: June 7



Helpful tips!

The proposal template MUST be downloaded, completed, and attached to your application (eSign form) as a PDF file to be considered for funding. 

For best functionality, open template in the desktop Word application. All WWU students have free access to Microsoft Office.

*Template updated 12/2022


  1. Fill out the Graduate Research and Creative Opportunities application (eSign form).
  2. Attach a single pdf file containing all required materials, using the required proposal template (updated 12/2022).
  3. Submit the application (eSign form) form to your faculty advisor.

*Be sure your faculty advisor knows they must forward their portion of the application to the department chair before the deadline.


Faculty Advisors should:

  1. Work with advisee to develop the project and proposal.
  2. Review the application.
  3. Complete rubric and comment sections of the application (eSign form).
  4. Approve the application by approving it to the department chair.

Deadline Reminder

Department chair must approve and submit the proposal by the following RSP deadlines:

  • Fall 2022: Nov 2
  • Winter 2023: Feb 15
  • Spring 2023: May 10


In the application (eSign form), department chairs should:

  1. Review the materials.
  2. Submit the proposal to RSP on behalf of the student by approving the application to

IMPORTANT NOTE: Applications received without approval from the faculty advisor and department chair or submitted after the deadline or without required materials will not be considered for funding.


Fall 2022: December 7

Winter 2023: March 15

Spring 2023: June 7

spiral water


As you prepare your proposal, you should work closely with your faculty advisor, who can help guide you in framing your problem, identifying relevant prior work, designing methods and approaches, and refining drafts of your proposal. It is ultimately your responsibility, however, to write the proposal. 

The proposal must convince the multi-disciplinary members of the review committee that the proposed project is:

  • Worthwhile and relevant. You need to pose the research question or creative work/activity in the context of background information on the subject. This should include a brief overview explaining why the proposed project is important to the field and the anticipated impacts. Be sure to include a bibliography citing your sources. Consult closely with your faculty advisor. You need to justify why the proposed work should be performed. Avoid technical jargon wherever possible.
  • Feasible. The proposal should convince the review committee that the outcomes are reasonably achievable within the proposed timeline and with the resources available.

Template Reminder


Check out our Frequently Asked Questions or head to the Grant Management page for post-award queries


First, download the required proposal template. Within the template, insert the following sections: 

  • Project Narrative (2-page limit)
    1. Abstract: The abstract should contain a brief statement of objectives, methods to be employed, and the significance of the proposed activity to the field of study (one paragraph).
    2. Introduction: How does the proposed project benefit the existing body of knowledge about the field or contribute to your field of study? How does the proposed project affect the greater community? How does the work relate to your educational goals?
    3. Background: Literature Review – How well is the project supported by the background knowledge on the subject? The literature cited indicates how well you are aware of the previous work in your field of study.
    4. Proposed work: Convince the review committee why the work should be done. Clearly state your individual research or creative activity objectives. If applicable, define the individual contributions of the collaborators and/or team member.
    5. Plan of Action: How will you conduct the proposed work? You should provide a clearly defined set of tasks which will accomplish your objectives. Describe procedures, experiments, and the design of appropriate items needed for your individual project. A timeline or project schedule for your individual proposed work is required.
    6. Dissemination: How will the results of the proposed work be disseminated? Who will be responsible for reviewing your work?
  • Bibliography (new page): Make sure you include the complete citations for the literature sources referenced.
  • Budget: Provide an itemized list of supplies and equipment requested for your proposed individual project, including the cost, supplier, and catalogue number (when available) of each item. Be sure to include a budget justification describing how each requested item will be used for your project. It should, especially, include clear indication of the need for the funding requested, equipment, why any travel is essential, etc. Requests for travel funds must support direct research efforts.
flower blossoms on a blurred background



Proposals will be reviewed by a subcommittee of the Research and Creative Activities Council who submit their recommendations to the Vice Provost for Research for approval.

The evaluation is based on the following criteria and the advisor’s comments:

  • Has scholarly and / or creative merit that benefits the field.
  • The proposed work is well-defined, and the proposal is clearly presented.
  • Significantly impacts student's educational goals.
  • Is manageable within the proposed timeframe with the funding available.
  • Describes an appropriate dissemination plan.
  • The budget is well-justified.


  • Funds may be used to support travel, purchase equipment and supplies, and for other costs necessary for performing the proposed work.
  • Expenditures must adhere to the proposal budget. Significant deviations from the budget must be approved in advance by RSP.
  • Funds must be expended within one calendar year following award notification.
  • Reimbursement must be supported by receipts/purchase orders and must be submitted to departments.
  • Any non-consumable items or equipment (e.g. cameras, software, tablets, glassware, cables, costumes, etc.) acquired using award funds remain the property of Western Washington University.
  • The program is unable to support student stipends.


The proposal must contain a plan for dissemination of results of the work. Some examples include: a Scholar's Week poster presentation, workshop, presentation at a conference, publication in conference proceedings or a journal, a performance, creation of literature, display at a gallery or other venue. The faculty advisor will review the work prior to this proposed activity.