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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Biology Department receives $600,000 for Bio PhDs

The Biology Department here at the University of Massachusetts Boston recently received $600,000 from the U.S. Department of Education. This Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) grant is intended to support 6 graduate students a year in pursuit of a PhD in Biology.

In order for such a grant to be received by the Department, a 70-page application packet had to be sorted through and completed. The application materials include a cover page, detailed budgets for each year supported with the grant, an application narrative, and assurances, certifications, and disclosure forms.

UMass Boston can thank Professor Gregory Beck, Graduate Program Director of the Biology Department for undertaking the process.

For an institute to be eligible for the GAANN grant, the program of post- baccalaureate study leading to a graduate degree program at an institute of higher learning must have been in existence for at least 4 years.

The DoE states that these fellowships are intended for students with a background in superior academic achievement and who are in financial need. According to the DoE, “The areas of national need include Biology, Chemistry, Computer and Information Science, Engineering, Geological Science, Mathematics, and Physics.”

The national funding recommended by the Department of Education is $16,496,388 for 2003. Within this budget, Biology has received an aliquot of $1,967,760. The area with the highest budget is engineering, with $3,968,316 in funding.

Incidentally, the University of Massachusetts Amherst has a GAANN grant in department of Engineering, yielding the only two Universities in the state of Massachusetts to receive this grant.

For an individual here at UMB that would like to apply for this fellowship, the application is much simpler. An application to the Biology Department here at UMass Boston should describe reasons for requesting a GAANN fellowship. The second step, almost as tricky as writing a grant, is to submit a FASFA.

The application must also include areas of research interest and future goals. The Biology Department has 24 faculty members with research interests that include: “Biochemistry, Biodiversity, Cell Biology, Conservation Biology, Developmental Biology, Endocrinology, Evolutionary Biology, Immunology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Neurobiology, Physiology, Plant Sciences, Population Biology, Reproductive Biology, and Pedigological Research.”

Eligible candidates for this program need an undergraduate GPA of 3.1, with a 3.5 in their last two years, and GRE scores within the 70th percentile. In addition, applicants “must either 1) be U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or permanent residents of the U.S.; 2) be citizens of one of the Freely Associated States, or 3) show evidence from the Immigration and Naturalization Service that they are in the U.S. for other than a temporary purpose and have the intention of becoming permanent residents.”

The stipend level for students is $21,500 a year and covers tuition and fees throughout the fellowship. Each fellow will also receive $4,000 for research supplies, $1,000 for educational supplies, and $1,000 allowance for travel to conferences. Fellows must maintain full-time status and a commendable GPA.