Office of Research > Student Research Scholarship

College of Public Health Student Research Scholarship Application Guidelines for the 2014-2015 Academic Year

Purpose of the COPH Student Research Scholarship:

The purpose of the COPH Student Research Scholarship is to provide funding for degree-seeking COPH graduate students to carry out research for their special project/thesis or dissertation, by defraying some of the costs associated with their research. The scholarship funds may be used to cover expenses that are reasonable and directly related to the student's research (e.g. data collection, travel for data collection, phone calls, survey printing & mailing, on-line survey fees, purchase of software packages, special laboratory supplies). Funds may not be used for: salary; travel to professional meetings; or consulting fees.


In 2014-2015, we will offer our students the opportunity to apply in both the fall and the spring semesters, with two corresponding deadlines: Fall Semester: Monday, December 1, 2014 and Spring Semester: Monday, March 23, 2015.

Award Amount:

This award will provide a maximum of $500 for master's level special projects/theses, and a maximum of $1,000 for doctoral dissertation research studies. Note: For students whose project will involve data collection (e.g. administration of a survey), please apply prior to collecting your data. For students whose research will involve secondary data analysis, please apply prior to conducting the data analysis.

Award Administration:

The COPH Student Research Scholarship is administered as a competitive internal award within the COPH. Students' proposals are reviewed by a team of COPH faculty and staff with representation from each department. Students applying for the COPH Student Research Scholarship are advised to prepare a well-written grant proposal, according to the guidelines in this web site and the downloadable application form.

For Assistance:

Students may also feel free to contact Ellen Kent, MPH, CPH, Coordinator, Student Research Grants, at   (813) 974-6622 if they have specific questions regarding the application.


This merit–based student research scholarship is designed for degree-seeking COPH graduate students who complete a well prepared application (see step 4 below and application form) and who need assistance in paying for all of their research expenditures. Students must be registered for their special project, thesis or dissertation for the semesters during which they will (a) receive the award and (b) conduct their research. Eligible students include:
  • A degree-seeking masters or doctoral student who has completed all academic requirements for initiating his/her special project, thesis or dissertation;
  • A COPH masters or doctoral student who is working on a USF-sponsored research project, but the supervising professor cannot cover all of the student’s research costs;
  • A COPH masters or doctoral student who is working on a research project that is related to his or her internship/job, but the sponsoring employer can not pay for all of the student's research costs.

'Certifications' required PRIOR to submitting your application:

Plan ahead! You must complete and be able to provide a copy of your certification with your application for:

  • Certification in Human Subjects Training (Also known as IRB training)
  • Live Vertebrate training (if applicable)
  • Biohazard training (if applicable)

Helpful Hints:

  • Students should adhere to the page and formatting limitations provided in the application form.
  • Students are advised to ask others to review their proposal (e.g. an academic or research advisor, or another student. Be sure to allow enough time to accommodate these reviews.)
  • This is a highly competitive process. Neatness and spelling are very important.
  • Revisions or additions will NOT be accepted after the due date.
  • Make sure all attachments are included.
  • Failure to disclose complete and accurate information may result in loss of the SRS award.
  • Signature form must be complete and delivered with the hard copies.
  • Questions? Feel free to contact Ellen Kent, MPH, CPH, Coordinator, Student Research Grants at , 813-974-6622, or room 1058 of the new USF Health Shared Student Services Center, The WELL.

The Application and Review Process:

Step 1:  Students should download the application form. You can type your responses onto the downloadable word document and then you can save the file to your computer. This form is modeled after the PHS 398 grant application, which is used for many federal public health grants. The COPH Student Research Review Committee has substantially shortened and adapted the application as a means of introducing students to the process of completing a formal grant application. Students should complete all items within the application and follow the directions carefully. Students may contact Ellen Kent, MPH, CPH, at (813) 974-6622, or their advisor, if they have questions. Please carefully review the entire application –thank you.

Step 2: Submission of the Application:

  • Deliver one hard copy with appendices to the attention of Ellen Kent, MPH, CPH, Coordinator, Student Research Grants, in room 1058 of the new USF Health Shared Student Services Center, The WELL.
  • Place your application and all appendices into a manila clasp envelope and label: SRS application for "Your Name." If you need to mail it, please send it to: Ellen Kent, MPH, CPH, USF College of Public Health 13201 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., MDC 56 Tampa, FL 33612
  • Email a copy of the application to Name your file as follows: Yourlastname-SRS. Please try to combine all information into one PDF file. Students can expect an email acknowledgement from Ellen Kent within about 2-3 day's time.

Step 3:Ellen Kent will forward copies of the applications to the COPH Student Research Scholarship Review Committee members so they can independently review the applications prior to a group meeting.

Step 4: The committee will meet and discuss their decisions regarding which applications merit funding, based upon the following NIH criteria (Students should review these criteria very carefully):
(1) Significance: Does this study address an important public health problem?
(2) Approach: Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and analyses adequately developed, well-integrated, and appropriate to the aims of the project?
(3) Innovation: Does the project employ novel concepts, approaches or methods? Are the aims truly original and innovative?
(4) Investigator: Is the investigator appropriately trained and well suited to carry out this work?
(5) Environment: Does the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success?
(6) Application: Is the application well-prepared, neat and complete? Is it easy for the reader to understand?

Step 5: Each student will be notified via e-mail by Ellen Kent regarding the committee's decision to fund or not fund his/her SRS application. Applicants who receive notification of the Research Scholarship Award must provide written documentation that their IRB, Vertebrate, or Biohazard applications have indeed been granted by the university, prior to receiving their actual monetary student research scholarship award. The research scholarship award will be deposited directly into the student’s account if he/she has e-deposit through the University. Otherwise, a check will be issued to the student at the address listed in Banner.
If awardees are financial aid recipients, cash awards can only be distributed based upon their "unmet needs." As the award is distributed through the University's financial system, if there are any pending charges on an individual's student account, the award will first be used to cover those charges, with any remaining funds distributed to the student as allowed by their unmet need.

Step 6: Reporting:
Students will be expected to submit:
(1) A progress report by Sept. 30th (analogous to an annual report for a federal, state, or privately funded grant).
(2) A final, typed research report upon completion of the research project and prior to graduation. This report can be the same final summary about your final project or MSPH or PHD dissertation that you recently submitted to your academic department. Students may also include 1-2 sentences regarding their impressions of the Student Research Scholarship and offer constructive suggestions for enhancing the application process. Note: If the project is completed and the final report submitted by, or prior to, the due date of the Sept. 30th progress report, then no further reporting will be required.

For Assistance:


Following is a checklist which the review committee will use in reviewing each application. You do not need to submit this checklist with the application; it is provided to assist you in submitting a complete application packet.

  • Application submission instructions were correctly followed
  • Cover page complete
  • All signatures are in place
  • Project summary, abstract, anticipated benefits and key words are completed
  • Budget page
  • Biosketch, according to the NIH guidelines; see
  • Research plan
  • The student has completed all required final reports for prior SRS and SHARP awards which he/she has received from the COPH.

Frequently Asked Questions:

(1) I am working as a graduate assistant at the College of Public Health for a professor, and my special project is related to my research under the guidance of this professor. I can make phone calls, copies, etc., conduct research under the professor's grant. Can I still apply for this special research scholarship?
NO - because the basic costs of your research, for which this research scholarship is designated, are already covered under your professor's grant budget. This scholarship is intended for those students who lack other sources of funding for their research. Student Research Scholarship Funds - may NOT be used to cover expenses for a faculty member's grant-supported project.

(2) Who actually receives the funds for this research scholarship award?
THE STUDENT - This award is given to the student applicant, only. The research scholarship award is intended for that student to use only for his or her specific research expenditures.

(3) What if I received this research scholarship last year? May I apply again this year for a new research scholarship award if I am still working on the same research project from last year?
NO- Each research scholarship award is intended for students to complete a specific research project. The funds for each research scholarship that are awarded to a student are to be designated towards one specific research project, even if the project extends over two academic years. If the student is still working on the same project, additional funds would not be warranted.

(4) If I have completed the project and submitted a report for a Student Research Scholarship Award which I received as a COPH student while earning my MPH or MSPH degree (e.g. in the past 2-3 years), am I eligible to apply for the Student Research Scholarship again as a doctoral student in 2014-2015?
YES, providing that: (1) You have submitted a complete report of your first research project; and (2) Your research project for 2014 -2015 is different from your previous project, and you clearly justify these differences in the "Specific Aims" and the "Research Design and Methods" section of your current application.

(5)What is the maximum number of Student Research Scholarships which I can receive?
The maximum number a student can receive is two Student Research Scholarships – one award as a master’s level student and one award as a doctoral level student.

(6) Can I apply for the COPH Student Research Scholarship if I have some funding for my project, but not a sufficient amount to cover all of my anticipated costs?
YES, you may apply. Please be sure to carefully outline ALL of your anticipated expenses and ALL of your anticipated sources of funding on the budget page of the application form.

(7)Can I apply for the COPH Student Research Scholarship if I have some funding for my project, but not a sufficient amount to cover all of my anticipated costs?
YES, you may apply. Please be sure to carefully outline ALL of your anticipated expenses and ALL of your anticipated sources of funding on the budget page of the application form. The review committee carefully evaluates each student’s application on a case by case basis so that is why it is important for you to document and justify your expenses, so that the committee can determine if your application warrants funding and if so, the total amount of funding that can be awarded.

(7) What will happen if my original SRS application is approved for funding but then I encounter some challenges and I have to resubmit a revised version of my original proposal to my committee. Can I still receive the funding?
Yes, this may be possible. Please notify the Coordinator, Mrs. Ellen Kent, MPH, CPH, about this change in plans and she will be happy to work with you. She may advise you to resubmit a revised application and letter of approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee or Institutional Biosafety Committee.

In Conclusion:

If students still have additional questions after carefully reviewing these guidelines and the downloadable application form  they are welcome to contact Ellen Kent, MPH, CPH (Coordinator, Student Research Grants), by email:  or phone: 813-974-6622 or stop by her office in 1058 of the new USF Health Shared Student Services Center, The WELL.