NHAES GRA and Post-doctoral Scientist Support Program

Updated September 2020

The New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station (NHAES) will support a modest number of graduate research assistants (GRA) and postdoctoral scientists (postdocs) to work with highly productive faculty on their NHAES-funded research projects. This is part of the NHAES goals to enhance the productivity and impacts of its funded research, to strengthen the abilities of our scientists, and to help train the next generation of agricultural scientists.

 The deadline for applications is November 13, 2020, for funding to begin in at the beginning of the 2021 Fall semester (GRAs) or October 1, 2021 (federal fiscal year 2022) for postdocs. You must have ongoing funding or be in the process of applying for research support from the NHAES to qualify for a personnel support award. Proposals must be submitted electronically to nhaes.proposals@unh.edu

NHAES Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) Support Program
NHAES will provide funding on a competitive basis to support 24-month, 0.5 FTE stipend plus tuition and health fees for graduate students working on active NHAES projects. Strong preference will be given to doctoral student assistantships. The graduate student must work 20 hours on NHAES project to comply with federal time and effort reporting regulations. This comes with the expectation that the Project Directors will cover the remainder of the student’s full graduate program costs (stipend/tuition/fees/operations) with his or her own extramural funding. Internal resources, including a teaching assistantship, cannot be used to pay for these expenses, as a key goal of the NHAES funding is to stimulate graduate student support through extramural funds. GRA Support Program awards are available to faculty who are engaged in active NHAES projects. Submissions will be first and foremost evaluated based on their overall merit; when projects are deemed to be of similar strength and importance, due to limited resources, priority for funding will be given to project directors who are members of the graduate faculty and for students in COLSA graduate programs. Proposals are submitted by and awards made to individual faculty members, not student applicants.

NHAES Postdoctoral Scientist Support Program
The NHAES Postdoctoral Scientists Support Program will provide up to two years of funding for a single individual per award (i.e., not for time- or FTE-portions of multiple individuals), at a maximum rate of $48,000 salary plus fringe. Operations, travel, and other support must come from the faculty mentor’s NHAES and/or appropriate extramurally funded projects. The postdoctoral scientist must work full time on the NHAES project to comply with federal time and effort reporting regulations. If you know the name of the intended postdoc, be sure to specify it in the proposal as this will allow the advertising/search requirement for the position to be waived. Proposals are submitted by and awards made to individual faculty members, not postdoctoral applicants.  Project directors will be notified of post-doctoral funding decisions during late winter so they may accept a new postdoc to begin the following October 1 (at earliest). Funding will necessarily correspond to the NHAES federal fiscal year budget allocations of October 1 through September 30.

Eligibility
Funding is available to faculty having active NHAES projects awarded through the regular competitive review process. The preferred time for faculty to apply for GRA or postdoctoral scientists funding is when sufficient time remains in their approved research project; generally concurrent with a new or revised Hatch, Hatch-Multistate or McIntire-Stennis project proposal submission or the first year of their project to ensure at least two years remaining funded project duration to accommodate the (conventional) two-year GRA or postdoc.

Only one NHAES personnel position will be supported in any laboratory or research program at a time. If you currently have a 2-year NHAES GRA or postdoc support that starts this fall, you are not eligible to apply for additional funding at this time. Initial preference will be given to project directors who have not had two or more rounds of consecutive personnel funding (i.e., 4 or more years of consecutive GRA and/or postdoctoral funding from the NHAES). Proposals from project directors who have had at least 4 years of consecutive personnel funding will be considered if resources are available after funding has been awarded to merited proposals in the initial preference group. 

Postdoctoral scientists and graduate students who are not U.S. citizens are eligible for this program. Noncitizens must have proper documentation allowing them to work in the United States to be paid from NHAES federal funds. Potential faculty sponsors should contact the UNH Office of International Students & Scholars (OISS) to ensure that all required preparations and documentation are completed. The OISS website is http://www.unh.edu/oiss/. Such individuals would presumably be J-1 Exchange Visitors; see the tabs for Faculty/Staff and Departments on the OISS website.

Award Criteria
The NHAES half-time GRA must work at least 20 hours a week on the project director’s NHAES research.  For postdocs, the candidate is expected to work full time (40 hours per week) on the project director’s NHAES research. Because personnel awards are targeted to assist in completing NHAES research, the award criteria focus on project directors’ demonstrated and anticipated future research productivity and demonstrated ability to leverage NHAES funds with external grant dollars to support their work and/or GRAs and postdocs.

In developing the proposal, please address the following:

  • The proposed research roles and activities of the graduate student or postdoc and how these activities will help meet and/or expand the breadth of NHAES project objectives;
  • How the graduate student or postdoc will aid in strengthening or expanding the impacts and outcomes of the ongoing or proposed NHAES research;
  • How the activities of the graduate student or postdoc will aid the project director in potentially leveraging NHAES research for obtaining extramural funding and/or if matching funds are already available;
  • Evidence, especially as it may relate to the ongoing NHAES research, of the project director’s professional accomplishments, recent scholarly publication activity, and recent extramural support;
  • Evidence of the project director’s ability to mentor graduate students and/or postdocs;
  • Other considerations that advocate for a sound investment of NHAES funds.

NHAES and COLSA are committed to growing the diversity and inclusiveness of people and ideas in order to push the frontiers, impacts, and recognition of our research; the training of excellent future scientists; and reaching a broader population of stakeholders locally and globally. As such, we highly encourage that you consider and briefly address how you may be able to contribute to NHAES and COLSA's commitment.

Additionally, please note that while NHAES supports the institution’s strategic mission to grow doctoral student numbers, we are also aware that differences in research project objectives exist and that graduate students and post-doctoral scientists may bring a different set of skillsets, which may be appropriate for specific research needs. As such, when discussing your request for additional project personnel (especially for post-doctoral scientists), please specifically address how the specific skillsets of that individual will address the project needs and missions. Additionally, if you request a postdoc but could potentially adjust proposed activities to better accompany the skillsets and training missions for a doctoral GRA should the postdoc award is not funded, please note this in your proposal.

Lastly, because personnel funding received by NHAES is on an annual "use it or lose it" basis, these dollars must be expended only during the two award years except in the unusual case of prior written agreement. Unspent dollars may not be carried over or retargeted to other uses.

Proposal Timing and Format
An annual request for GRA and postdoctoral funding proposals will occur each year, following the annual request for NHAES project proposals. This year the proposals must be submitted by November 13. Award decisions will be made shortly following the review of new NHAES project proposals in early-2021, so that project directors receiving approval for new projects may be considered for GRA or postdoc support funding.

Please submit proposals that are single-spaced with 12-point font and consist of a 2-page proposal and 2-page abbreviated CV 4 pages. The written portion of the proposal should clearly address each of the award criteria listed above. For post-doctoral scientist proposals that seek support for an individual who has already been identified for the position, two additional pages are permitted to include an abbreviated CV for the potential postdoc.

Other Notes
Due to the high popularity of this program, please note that this year, there is a more limited number of post-doctoral and graduate student assistantships available under the McIntire-Stennis program.

Thank you for considering this program. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you have questions.

Anton Bekkerman
Director, NH Agricultural Experiment Station
Rudman Hall, G15A
603-862-1676
anton.bekkerman@unh.edu