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Call for proposals: The UGA River Basin Center John Spencer Research Grant Program

Table Rock on the Flint River.

The UGA River Basin Center announces the annual call for proposals for John Spencer Research Grants to graduate students. This program was initiated in 2017 with a contribution from Kathelen Amos in honor of her son, former RBC master’s student John Spencer. Ongoing funding is provided by donations to the RBC. 

Small grants are available to all students affiliated with the River Basin Center. Affiliate status is open to any graduate student at the University of Georgia, including those in professional programs, as long as their research and/or interests align with the RBC mission, which is to connect water-related research at UGA with societal management and policy needs. If needed, students can request affiliate status by requesting status when they submit their application (see submission form for more details). 

Small grants are intended to support a student’s research activities. Projects should advance the RBC’s goal of sustainable management of aquatic resources and ecosystems, but they can be in any discipline or disciplines. Funds can be used for research supplies, travel expenses associated with research, hourly wages for undergraduate research assistants and graduate stipends. Travel to conferences may be included, but conference travel funding must be limited to $1000. 

Proposal Format (2-page limit, exclusive of budget and references):

1. Title of proposal

2. Applicant’s name, email address, department, degree program

3. Introduction, problem statement, and research question(s) to be tested. Applicants should emphasize the work to be funded by the proposal, but also explain how it fits into the broader context of their thesis, dissertation, or other project, as appropriate. Research questions should be specific, and the scope should be appropriate to the scale of the project.

4. Research plan and methods. Be specific but concise.

5. Budget with justification. Budgets cannot exceed $2500. If the proposed work requires a budget greater than the limit, briefly explain what other funds will be used to complete the work.

6. References

Proposals must be accompanied by a brief (one page limit; one paragraph is sufficient) endorsement from the applicant’s advisor or other faculty sponsor of the work. 

Proposals must be submitted using this form by midnight on the due date. 

This year, the due date is April 15, 2023. Decisions will be announced approximately 2 weeks later, and funding will be made available shortly thereafter. Funds will need to be spent by June 30, 2023, unless special arrangements are made. You must contact Krista Capps ( within 48 hours of receiving the award if you need an extension to spend the funds, or we may not be able to accommodate your request. 

Proposals should be submitted as a single PDF file using the following form:

Proposals will be evaluated by volunteer faculty affiliates of the RBC who have no conflicts of interest with applicants. Proposals will be evaluated both on quality of the project (potential contribution of the proposed work and relevance to the RBC’s mission) as well as quality of the proposal itself (i.e., how well it communicates the content and whether it includes all necessary components). Reviewers may secondarily consider budget in order to maximize the number of proposals that can be funded.

Contact: Krista Capps,