Dissertation Research Improvement Grants

The Social Sciences Research Institute awards Dissertation Research Improvement Grants (DRIG) of up to $5,000 to support or partially support dissertation research projects proposed by graduate students in the School of Social Sciences who have completed their coursework and who have advanced to candidacy or will advance to candidacy by the time the DRIG awards are made. All subject areas and methodologies within the School will be considered equally.

Proposals will be evaluated by the School’s Faculty Advisory Committee (FAC), chaired by the Dean of Social Sciences, and a six-member panel of faculty, one from each department (Sport Management excepted).

Awards have a duration of 18 months. Pre-award costs may be incurred for expenditures up to 90 days before the award start date with approval from Chris (carod@rice.edu); however, no-cost extensions will not be granted, and the SSRI will reclaim any remaining funds.

Application Deadline (Due by 11:45 p.m. CST)

Fall: Sunday, October 29, 2023
Spring: Sunday, March 24, 2024

Award Information (FY24)

Estimated Number of Awards: 8
Anticipated Funding Amount per Award: $5,000
The expected start dates are as follows: Fall cycle on January 1st, and Spring cycle on July 1st.


  1. The student must be a currently registered Rice University graduate student in a Social Sciences discipline
  2. Student must have completed their graduate coursework and advanced to candidacy or will advance by the time the award is made.
  3. The thesis/dissertation committee must have approved both a topic for the research and a particular approach to that topic.

Proposal Guidelines and Application Packets

Submit the completed online DRIG application by the deadline (the online DRIG application may be found at the bottom of this page). Incomplete applications will not be considered for funding.

Prepare all materials using a minimum of 11-point Arial or Times New Roman font, with one-inch margins all around. Upload as a PDF. Be sure to include the following:

  1. The proposal narrative (single-spaced, three pages maximum) should discuss the proposed research and clearly explain, in terms accessible to a non-specialist academic audience, the research question of interest, the methods to be used, and their justification. Explain how and why this research question is significant and innovative in the context of existing literature in the discipline. Identify the anticipated end product of the research and discuss the feasibility of completion within the anticipated timeline. Indicate when you plan to begin the proposed research, where it will be conducted, and when it will end.
  2. Include a list of cited references (no page limit). Each reference should include the names of all authors (in the same sequence in which they appear in the publication), the article and journal title, book title, volume number, page numbers, and year of publication.
  3. Itemized budget and justification, maximum of two pages. Be sure to include the item, cost, quantity, and rationale for each item. Funds may support research-related travel (meals will not be allowed), human subject payments, supplies, and unique computer needs (e.g., laptop computers, software, printers, etc.) if the need is tied to the project and other miscellaneous research expenses. Financial requirements for dissertation research vary widely across projects and disciplines; we, therefore, welcome those applications asking for a modest amount of funding (e.g., requests for supplies, participant recruitment costs, or other miscellaneous expenses) as well as applications that have more intensive funding needs (e.g., research-related travel requests or special computer equipment needs not supplied by the department). The maximum amount a student may apply is $5,000, and there is no minimum.
  4. A curriculum vita, maximum of two pages.
  5. A description of other funding agencies to which the proposal will be submitted, if applicable; identify the funding source and total funding that has been or will be requested.
  6. A letter from the student’s advisor is required. It should include the following:
    a.) Confirmation that the dissertation committee has approved the student’s proposal.
    b.) Discussion of the impact and feasibility of the proposed research;
    c.) Assessment of the appropriateness of the proposed budget.
    d.) This letter should be submitted to Chris Rodriguez at carod@rice.edu. The letter must be received no more than three business days after the DRIG proposal deadline. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that the letter has been submitted by the deadline.

Successful Applications

Awardees are required to submit two pieces of information:

  1. Those who receive a DRIG are required to submit a 1-2 page research report within 60 days of the expiration of the award, and any remaining funds will be returned to the SSRI at that time. There is no specific report format that must be followed. Still, reports typically include information such as a summary of the research performed and the findings, whether and how your anticipated findings differed from the actual findings, and whether and how the project evolved. At this time, the SSRI does not require a specific accounting of how the funds were spent, but your report could also discuss how funds were generally spent and why actual expenditures differed from your proposed budget.
  2. If additional support for your dissertation project is received, please let Chris know as soon as possible.
If you cannot scroll through the complete application form, click on a field within the application and use your tab key to navigate to the attachments section of the form.