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The prestigious Student Research Ambassador Award recognizes PhD students in the Department of Allied Health Sciences who showcase outstanding research in the larger academic and professional community. Participation at high visibility research conferences or well-regarded professional conferences, through presentation of research posters or oral papers, provides PhD students with opportunities to advance their research and to network with other students and faculty. Such presentations also increase the visibility of research conducted within the UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Allied Health Sciences. To encourage PhD students to promote this mission, DAHS will offer up to five awards of $500, based on availability of funding. The $500 award is intended to offset the travel costs incurred by awardees; there are no additional restrictions on use of these funds.

Student Research Ambassador Awards are distributed annually, in the fall semester, but online applications are accepted throughout the year (see cycle details below). Eligible applicants must be currently enrolled in one of the three PhD programs in the Department of Allied Health Sciences at UNC (i.e., OS/OT, HMSC, SHS), in good standing, and have a research paper or poster that has been accepted for presentation – or has been presented – within the year prior to the application cutoff date. While students may apply in multiple years, a maximum of one award will be given per PhD student during their course of study.

As this award is intended to recognize students who disseminate DAHS research into the larger scientific community, preference is given to DAHS PhD students working with a faculty member with a primary appointment in DAHS (e.g., PT, OS/OT, Audiology, Speech Pathology).

Preference is given to first-author presenters of research with strong methodology. Students may apply for the Student Research Ambassador Award for up to two of their conference acceptances in a funding cycle. This can be two acceptances for research being presented at the same conference or research presented at two different conferences. Students are encouraged to apply for Graduate School travel awards before applying for departmental funds. Applications for departmental funds will be considered more competitive if they include proof of a prior application for the Graduate School. Students are also encouraged to meet with a librarian for consultation for other funding. Priority will be given to students with limited or no additional travel funding and to those who are further along in their programs. Applicants will be asked to provide actual or approximate costs related to their conference registration, hotel/lodging, and transportation (air or ground travel). Recent PhD graduates/post-docs (within three months) are eligible to apply if their conference presentations fall between May graduation and September of the given cycle year.

To highlight their work in the UNC-CH community, Student Research Ambassador Award recipients will be required to submit/present their research at the UNC School of Medicine’s Annual Student Research Day in October.

Funds are distributed on a competitive basis through a formal online application. The link for the application is under the instruction section below. Please read all the instructions, and at the end you will have the link. Emailed applications will not be accepted. The online application form must be submitted with the following materials:

  1. Copy of notification of the research paper or poster acceptance (including full title of the presentation or paper and list of authors) at a scientific meeting or professional conference of regional, national, or international importance in allied health sciences;
  2. Abstract of research to be presented;
  3. Proof of acceptance (conference registration/certificate of attendance);
  4. One-page (maximum) cover letter describing (a) contributions the research project has made to advancing science and clinical practice in AHS; (b) the importance of conference attendance for applicant’s future career; (c) the level of competitiveness/prestige of selected venue; and (d) actual or approximate costs related to conference registration, hotel/lodging, and transportation (air or ground travel).
  5. Two-page (maximum) abbreviated Curriculum Vitae;
  6. Statement of commitment to submit/present this research at the annual UNC School of Medicine Student Research Day (November).
  7. Disclosure of other travel funding applied for/received.

Letters of recommendation are not required. 

Applications are available year-round, and can be submitted prior to or following conference travel. The annual deadline for applications has been moved up this year to August 8 at 11:59 pm. [Only applications submitted between 09/01/2019 and 08/08/2020 will be eligible for the 2020-2021 funding cycle.] Recent PhD graduates/post-docs (within 3 months) are eligible to apply if their conference presentations fall between May graduation and September of the given cycle year.

  • Prior to August 8 – PhD students apply for SRAA award (before conference travel); students attend/present research papers/posters at conferences
  • August 8 – SRAA applications due
  • By September 1 – judging of submissions, awards announced
  • By early September 16 – award recipients submit abstracts to UNC SOM Student Research Day
  • Spring 2021 – if accepted, recipients present at UNC SOM Student Research Day

The review committee will be comprised of three faculty from the Research Advisory committee and/or alternate faculty from the three PhD programs in DAHS (HMSC, SHS, OS). Faculty mentors and others from the student’s research team will recuse themselves from the review process.  All applicants will be notified of selection decisions by September 1 via email. A list of award recipients will be posted on the DAHS research website annually. Recipients of this prestigious award will receive a check for $500. Due to the limited availability of funds and competitive nature of the award, we regret that not all applicants may receive funding.

If you have questions or need assistance please email Patty Kinneer.