Request for Student-Led Proposals in Planetary Habitability

The Center for Planetary Systems Habitability is pleased to announce our third call for proposals for Student Research Awards in Planetary Habitability. We encourage proposals from all schools involved with the Center: the College of Natural Sciences, the Jackson School of Geosciences, and the Cockrell School of Engineering.

Proposals may cover research in any topic related to planetary habitability, broadly defined, including but not limited to pre-biotic chemistry, origin of life, perseverance of life, mass extinctions/biotic crises, planetary dynamics, nutrient pathways, planetary atmospheres, biosignatures, habitable environments, planetary system dynamics, system and galactic hazards, galactic habitability, instrumentation, and planetary mission design. Proposals will be reviewed by the CPSH Executive Committee, and so it is important to write to a broad audience and clearly link the subject matter to planetary habitability.

We welcome proposals for research expenses and/or student funding support at the graduate or undergraduate level. Non-salary research expenses can be planned anytime from Summer 2023 through Summer 2024, while student support can be planned any time from Fall 2023 through Summer 2024. Examples of activities commensurate with anticipated funding levels (~$5-20K per selected award) include, but are not limited to:

  • Student-led field, travel, and/or analytical costs;
  • URA/GRA salary support (summer or single semesters); and/or
  • Purchase of equipment for student-led research.

To ensure that the Center can support as many students as possible, we also strongly encourage student advisors to provide some form of ‘matching’ financial support, on the level of ~20% of the total requested amount. This matching support should be clearly indicated on the budget table, and we suggest that this be designated as one full line-item (e.g., the advisor may choose to cover the fringe benefits or tuition relevant to a requested semester of GRA support). If this matching is not possible, please instead provide a description of how this funding fits into the existing plan for funding of your research (e.g., this project is to explore a new research direction for which no funds presently exist).

Deadline: This funding opportunity has a deadline of June 1, 2023 at 10 AM.

How to apply: Proposals should be submitted to the CPSH Executive Committee at Submissions should be in the form of a single PDF that includes:

  • A 2-page research proposal authored by the student (references may be included on a 3rd page);
  • A detailed budget table of anticipated costs, and (where applicable) the advisor matching description;
  • A one-page curriculum vitae for the student, and
  • A signed letter of support from an advisor or faculty/scientist mentor, also acknowledging any matching funding provided. (Note, this should not be a full letter of reference, but rather is to indicate to the Executive Committee that the advisor supports this work and is aware of the proposed scope and budget request.)

For any questions related to this RFP, please contact the CPSH Executive Committee and/or Tim Goudge.