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CHEEC Graduate Student Scholarship for Research in Environmental Health

October 29, 2020


The Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination (CHEEC) at The University of Iowa supports and conducts Iowa-focused environmental health research relating to environmental toxins. CHEEC’s research mission is “to determine the levels of environmental contamination which can be specifically associated with human health effects.”

In response to disruptions in research progress from COVID-19, CHEEC is pleased to announce a new CHEEC Graduate Student Scholarship for Ph.D or Masters (with thesis) degree students conducting research relevant to environmental health that helps to advance the mission of CHEEC.  This scholarship opportunity is open to Ph.D. students and Master’s students conducting research theses. Priority will be given to meritorious nominations whose research progress has been negatively impacted by disruptions from COVID-19, especially those that would benefit from a final semester of support to complete remaining research activities and dissertation writing.

A one-time scholarship award will be given for $12,500 during either the Spring 2021 or Fall 2021 academic semester ($8,000 support is also available for the Summer 2021 term). The scholarship includes tuition support for up to two credit hours and all mandatory fees, and a contribution towards health and dental insurance. The scholarship award will be sent to the students’ home department for disbursement. Students will be responsible for any course fees and additional required credit hours.

  • Students must be nominated by their research supervisor. 
  • As this award is intended to support students nearing the completion of their degree,nominees must have successfully completed the comprehensive examination (if required) at least one semester prior to being nominated.
  • Priority will be given to students who are expected to graduate in the term (Spring, Summer or Fall) in which they are receiving this scholarship during calendar year 2021.


CHEEC is a state of Iowa funded research center. Students pursuing a Ph.D or Masters (with thesis) degree in a field relevant to environmental health from a Regent’s institution (University of Iowa, Iowa State University or the University of Northern Iowa) are eligible.  

Selection Criteria

Awards will be prioritized for outstanding researchers pursuing their MS or PhD in a field related to environmental health that advances the mission of CHEEC. Priority will be given to students nearing degree completion, with support ideally provided in their last semester. Priority will also be given based upon financial need, especially in response to the loss or conclusion of prior funding support due to disruptions from COVID-19.  Applications will also be assigned a priority based on the following criteria:                                                                                                                                                                                

  • Relevance of dissertation research to CHEEC’s mission
  • Financial need due to research interruption from COVID-19
  • Likelihood of completing dissertation within one additional semester after receiving the scholarship
  • Evidence of high quality and high impact scholarly activity during graduate studies

Applications Deadlines

Applications for Summer 2021 or Fall 2021 must be uploaded to CHEEC’s InfoReady Review site by 5:00 pm on April 2, 2021Late or incomplete applications will not be reviewed. 

How to Apply

CHEEC will be using InfoReady Review.  Info Ready is an online grant portal that will enable CHEEC to accept applications and coordinate review. The application, titled CHEEC Dissertation Scholarship, can be found here. University of Iowa researchers can log into the system using their existing HawkID and password.  External researchers will need to create a login account.

A complete application should include the following three documents.  Documents should be saved as a .pdf file.  Applications should be prepared in single spaced (or greater), with one-inch margins and no smaller than 12-point font.

Application materials include the following:

Student Materials

  • A summary of the dissertation research that also clearly explains its relevance to CHEEC’s mission (one-page maximum). This summary must be written in language that can be understood by a non-technical audience (e.g., the general public). In addition to illustrating the relevance to CHEEC’s mission, the research summary should also address the purpose of the research, how the research will be carried out, and the value of the research to the student's specific field of study. Do not include references.
  • A one-page (maximum) document describing (1) how dissertation research progress has been disrupted by COVID-19; (2) the major research and dissertation writing activities to be conducted during the scholarship support period; and (3) a timetable with major deliverables for completion of the dissertation during the scholarship support period, including anticipated graduate date.
  • A one-page CV of educational and professional experience, honors and awards, and publications.
  • A transcript (unofficial is acceptable).

Letter of Support

  • A nomination letter from the nominee's dissertation research supervisor that describes the following:
    • The academic term (Spring 2021, Summer 2021 or Fall 2021) during which support is requested
    • How long the student has been working on their MS or Ph.D. degree
    • How much work has already been accomplished on the dissertation
    • Confirmation the student is nearing the completion of their degree and will complete dissertation research and writing on the timeline described in the nomination materials (for PhD students, please include the date of their successful completion of the comprehensive examination)
    • A statement of financial need discussing the student’s past and current sources of support and others sources of support available to the student in the event this scholarship is not awarded
    • The student's qualifications for carrying out this research.
    • The value of the research topic to the student’s field of study
    • The relevance of the student’s research to environmental health and the mission of CHEEC.

For more information on the CHEEC Seed Grant Program please email, or see the CHEEC website at