The EarthScope Geochronology Graduate Student Award Program is a new initiative program designed to provide funds for high-impact research and to facilitate training, education, and interaction between graduate students and experts in geochronology.
Graduate students can apply for up to $10,000 to fund analytical costs, sample preparation, travel to the host lab, lodging, and other expenses. These funds will allow the students to visit the lab for a week or more, participate in the analysis and sample preparation, and learn fundamental aspects of the methods, techniques, and theory used in modern analytical facilities. This experience will help to equip the next generation of Earth scientists with an understanding of modern geochronology tools that are profoundly important for conducting modern geoscience research, in particular for examining the history and processes of lithospheric deformation. Students can apply for funds to use whichever method is most appropriate for their proposed research project, including, but not limited to, U-Pb, 40Ar/39Ar, Lu-Hf, Sm-Nd, Rb-Sr, U-series, fission-track, (U-Th)/He, 14C, cosmogenic exposure, and luminescence dating.
The projects and new collaborations enabled by this program provide excellent foundations for future proposals and the kinds of multidisciplinary research efforts that lead to great science. The program will be launched by an EarthScope short course bringing together experts in the geochronology community for a series of lectures and discussions covering the fundamentals behind both the theory and practical uses of different geochronology tools.
Explicit goals of this initiative include:
· The fostering of new relationships and interdisciplinary, innovative science between student researchers and laboratories at different institutions.
· The generation of new opportunities for students to learn fundamental aspects of the techniques, theory, and interpretational methods associated with data acquisition in modern analytical facilities.
· The implementation of a low-cost mechanism for students to generate key, high-quality datasets for projects and publications of mutual benefit to students, advisors, and labs, while laying the foundation for future collaborative proposals.
· The promotion of science that provides an important contribution to EarthScope's core science goal to investigate the geologic history of the North American continent.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can apply?
Graduate students that are currently enrolled in a research-focused graduate degree program at an accredited college or university in the United States or its territories are encouraged to submit a proposal.
What types of projects will be considered?
Projects must support the overall goals of EarthScope, and therefore focus on advancing some aspect of our understanding of the structure, dynamics, or evolution of the North American continent (http://www.earthscope.org/information/publications/science-plan/).
What should applications include?
Applications must include a project description, detailed budget and budget justification, a letter of support from the EarthScope geochronology lab where the applicant proposes to work (see below), student educational outline provided by the lab, and a letter of support from the project supervisor at the student’s institution.
Students who are writing proposals are responsible for initiating contact with geochronology lab staff to discuss their project, timelines, and why this particular technique will help address the fundamental questions in their research proposal. If the lab director feels that this is a mutually beneficial opportunity, they provide a support letter and help the student refine and clarify their proposed research. For more information about applying, visit http://www.earthscope.org/science/geochronology/applicant-information
The 2015 application deadline is Monday, March 16th, 2015. Application materials should be submitted to http://www.earthscope.org/science/geochronology
How many projects will be funded? How often can I apply?
Students may submit one proposal per funding cycle (per year), and a maximum of two proposals during their academic career. Presently, there are funds to support 7-8 projects each year for the 2015 and 2016 application cycles.
Which labs are included as participating labs?
A list of labs that have expressed interest in this program and in fostering new collaborations with students are available on the program website (http://www.earthscope.org/science/geochronology/lab-database). Because one of the goals of this program is to foster new research collaborations, students may not request funds to work in labs they are already associated with, including labs managed or directed by their project supervisor(s). Students may request funds to work in labs at their home institution, provided that they can demonstrate that the collaboration is new.
Additionally, any lab in the United States or its territories can become a participating lab. Laboratories wishing to participate in the EarthScope Student Geochronology Research and Training Program must provide a brief (1-2 page) written summary that describes how a student will use the facility. Labs should try to provide a realistic overview of what sort of research and learning experiences a student can expect when visiting their lab. This program is not meant to fund contract work, but instead provide a meaningful learning and training experience for the student. Example summaries from the University of Colorado Boulder (UTh)/He lab, the Princeton University U-Pb TIMS lab, and the Utah State University OSL lab are available on the program webpage.
What is the review process?
An external panel of 4-5 geoscientists that are familiar with the application of geochronologic techniques and/or have experience with EarthScope related science will review the proposals. Nominations for the review panel will be sought from the EarthScope Steering Committee, and will not include scientists who run facilities that participate as EarthScope labs. The weighted merit system used to evaluate the proposals will be available on the program website at http://www.earthscope.org/science/geochronology/applicant-information
When will awards be announced?
We anticipate that the first award announcements will be made in May of 2015.
Who can I contact with questions or concerns?
Jim Metcalf or Becky Flowers.
This new educational initiative is supported by NSF EarthScope EAR-1358514 to Becky Flowers (CU-Boulder), Jim Metcalf (CU-Boulder), Ramon Arrowsmith (ASU), Blair Schoene (Princeton), Tammy Rittenour (USU).