The Graduate Research Excellence Awards honor students in terminal degree programs conducting research and scholarly activity that is recognized as highly original work and makes a significant contribution to the field. Eligible students shall have completed a minimum of two years of graduate work in the current program of study and doctoral students must be post comp. Self-nominations are not allowed. Deans, DEOs, department chairs/heads, supervisors, and other senior faculty or staff may serve as nominators. 

Three awards, one in each broad discipline area, will be made each year:

a.  One in biological, life, mathematical, or physical sciences; 
b.  One in arts and humanities; and  
c.  One in social sciences.

This award process is conducted annually in partnership with the Research Council and the Graduate College.


  1. Research accomplishments during the nominee's current program of study,
  2. Quality of research and scholarly activity, and 
  3. Quality of presentation to the selection committee.*

*Top candidates in each broad discipline area are required to give a presentation to the committee prior to selection of awardees.

Nomination and Selection Process

Required Documentation:

  • ​​Letter of Nomination - Attach a brief description, no more than 750 words in length, describing the nominee’s qualifications and accomplishments.
  • One confidential letter of endorsement.  The letter of endorsement is limited to one page in length and should address the criteria listed above.
  • A statement from the nominee - no more than 750 words in length, describing the nominee’s qualifications and accomplishments.
  • Nominee's CV or Resume (up to 10 pages).

Late materials will not be accepted. A selection committee comprised of leaders from within the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR), the Research Council and the Graduate College will be appointed to evaluate nominations.

Submission Process and Deadline

The deadline for submissions is 11:59 p.m., Tuesday, February 1, 2022. Recipients will be announced in April.

CLICK HERE to begin the submission process.  Click "Apply" and sign-in with your Hawk ID and password through the blue "University of Iowa Login" button.  If you have problems or questions, contact Cheryl Ridgeway ( / 319-384-3332) or Britt Ryan ( / 319-335-9575) in the OVPR well ahead of the deadline. 

Award Details

Each recipient will receive:

  • A prize of $1,000 and a commemorative gift.
  • Recipients will be recognized on a website, press release, social media, and in other virtual ways. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, winners will not be announced at an in-person event.