Graduate Research Grant FAQ

The Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women's Studies offers grants to support research in gender and women's studies by undergraduate and graduate students, and by faculty Associates of the Institute. The Grants Committee's policy traditionally has been to award money to as many eligible applicants as possible. In writing an application keep in mind that people from a variety of disciplines are on the committee, and your case that your concerns are centrally related to gender and women's studies must be comprehensible to people far outside your field. Research on female subjects does not automatically qualify. Grant recipients are encouraged to present their material in SBAI seminars and conferences. We ask that you acknowledge the support in publications.

My research is not about gender or women's issues, strictly defined; should I apply for a grant?

Your research in general does not have to be about gender, women's issues, lesbian studies, queer theory, or feminist theory, strictly defined, as long as the part of it for which you are applying for support can shed light on something in these areas. You need to explain how this work is relevant to the SBAI's areas of interest in your letter of application.

I can't reach my advisor. Will you consider a graduate application without a letter?
My advisor wrote a letter for me last time I applied. Can you refer to that?

We will not consider undergraduate or graduate student applications without a letter from a faculty member who knows your work. We also need letters that address the project for which you are applying. If the letter will still be relevant, check with the Program Manager to make sure it is on file.

I want to apply for travel to a conference or for research that I will be doing during the summer. Is the spring deadline the right time to do this?

Yes. The sooner you can apply, the better. Please consider applying for any grant pertaining to summer work/dates as soon as February of that same year. April is the latest deadline to apply. If your travel or project will not be completed in time to submit receipts by June 15, please get us the receipts as soon as possible once it is complete.

May I apply for retroactive funding for a paper I have given or research I have already completed?

Yes. We routinely fund summer work this way. We fund some other requests retroactively; however the committee makes decisions based on the number of applications, so it's best to apply at the soonest appropriate deadline.

Are purchases of books and other materials, or purchases or rental of video tapes/DVDs for my research eligible?

If you're talking about kinds of materials that you could get from the library or on interlibrary loan, the answer is no. If you need things that are difficult to obtain, the answer may very well be yes. We decide requests on a case by case basis. In the past we have funded photocopying and purchases of microfilms of documents. We have also given money for the purchase of video materials. (We are reluctant to pay for rentals that may involve copying in violation of copyright laws.) If the materials seem to be of interest to other scholars, we may specify that they end up in the SBAI library.

Are research subject compensation expenses eligible?

No. We are not able to provide you with funds to compensate research subjects.

Can you provide funds for living expenses or stipends for research assistants?

No, we cannot give funds for any types of salaries, stipends, hiring costs, or living expenses that may be associated with or enable you to carry out your research.

When do I have to apply for human subjects permission to conduct my project?

As a condition of receiving federal funds for some research projects, the University of Rochester agrees to review all research conducted by faculty, staff and students for compliance with federal protections for human subjects. You must seek review for any project that is:

  • Research (that is, intended to produce generalizable knowledge) AND involves
  • Human subjects (that is, living individuals)
    • who interact with the researcher to provide data OR
    • whose thoughts, actions or environment are manipulated for research purposes OR
    • whose private information (e.g. medical or school records) or private behavior is collected in a way that allows identification of the individual.

An example of a project that isn't considered research, even though it collects data from human subjects, is student course evaluation. The information is only used to improve the course and evaluate the instructor's performance, not contribute to generalizable knowledge. An example of a research project that doesn't involve human subjects would be a thematic analysis of publications or motion pictures released commercially, even if the authors and actors are still alive. The information is public, and data collection doesn't involve any interaction with the individuals who produced it.

Opinion is still forming about how much of the Internet is "public information", and whether data collected from chat room postings or on-line support groups should be considered private and subject to human subjects oversight.

Within the broad definition of human subjects research, some activities require on-going review, and some are exempt from further review. Activities are more likely to be exempt if they are conducted for specific program evaluation, rather than research; if data are collected anonymously; or if the research does not involve "sensitive" behavior or questions. Activities are less likely to be exempt if they involve vulnerable populations, like prisoners, children and pregnant women; or if any of the activities of the research could potentially cause physical or emotional harm to any subject. You can find a full explanation of exempt research on the University of Rochester website.

Even if your project is potentially exempt from further human subjects review, you must:

  • Seek confirmation of that status before you begin the project from the Research Subjects Review Board. There is an application and instructions available through the University of Rochester website)
  • Complete the Ethical Principles in Research Program to demonstrate your understanding of your responsibilities for conducting research with human subjects  This involves reading the Belmont Report, a short document of ethical principles, and completing a post-test on your reading.

If you are unsure whether your project requires human subjects review, it's always wise to call or e-mail a human subjects protection specialist to find out. The phone number for the RSRB is 275-2398.

Graphic button