Spooner Guidelines


The Spooner Student Research Fund provides monies to enhance the academic experience and professional growth of students by offering opportunities to engage in research and sponsored activities. The program is made possible by an endowment established by the late Charles C. Spooner. For this program, sponsored activity is defined as any creative or scholarly activity relevant to a student's program of study.  Sample proposals can be viewed here.


Applicants must be currently enrolled as a full-time student in a degree program and have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 for undergraduate and graduate students. Applicants must provide evidence of commitment from a faculty member to serve as project advisor and an endorsement of the project by the department (see Cover Page)

Per NMU policy, students who participate in the Dependent Children Tuition Program are not eligible to receive additional University-funded scholarships or grants. University-funded means any funds deposited at the University where the University makes the decision concerning the recipient. This includes the Spooner Grant. Contact the Grants and Contracts Office with any questions.


Students receiving a Spooner Research Grant must enroll for credit in a course directly related to the project such as Special Topics, Directed Study, or Thesis during the award period.


Award Information:

Spooner Research Grants support projects in which a student is engaged in scholarly research. The proposed project must be under the supervision of a faculty advisor and be endorsed by the department. The proposed project period must be no longer than 12 months. A final report submitted to grants@nmu.edu is due by November 1st of the year following the award.

The maximum award for each project is $500.  All funds must be encumbered on or before the end date of the grant.

Spooner Research Grants provide funds for :

  • Materials & supplies
  • Contractual services (publication costs, lab analysis, consultant fees, etc.)
  • Travel directly associated with the conduct of the proposed project.

Funds cannot be requested for stipends, salaries or wages for the student or faculty advisor.

In addition to the funding available for the conduct of the project, requests will be considered for the support of student travel to scholarly meetings at which the applicant will be presenting a paper or creative exhibit. To be considered for funding in this category, evidence must be presented that the paper/exhibit has been accepted for presentation (e.g., acceptance letter, conference program, etc.).

Application Instructions:

A student must submit one complete application (hard copy) to his/her Department Head. In addition, a PDF version of the application must be sent via email to grants@nmu.edu. The departments will evaluate the proposals and rate them as excellent, very good, good, or fair (see cover page). Additional comments can be attached in the form of a letter. If more than one proposal is submitted from a department, they must be rated and ranked. The Grants Office will request rankings from Department Heads once the application deadline has passed and all applications are received. 

The application must contain:  1.) a Spooner Award cover page that is signed by the advisor, Department Head, and student; 2.) a project abstract; 3) project narrative; and 4.) Required appendices.

  • Project Abstract: Summarize your proposal in terms of: the need it is satisfying or statement and evidence of significance; the objectives you have set which will meet your designated need and produce a deliverable outcome; the methods you will utilize to achieve objectives (250 word limit). This is a summary of your narrative. Abstract is a one page document, double spaced.
  • Narrative Format. The narrative (not including appendices) is limited to six pages of double-spaced pages.  Any spacing less than double is not allowed.  Proposals must have one-inch margins and be printed in Times New Roman, 12 point font size. Applicants with a visual impairment should contact the Grants & Contracts Office for information regarding alternative formatting instructions. 
  • Narrative Body.   The narrative should include the following elements:
    1. A description of the project significance to applicant’s field/subject area and objectives that lead to a deliverable outcome.
    2. A literature review of related work in the field.
    3. The methods to be used to achieve stated objectives.
    4. A timetable with expected deliverable outcomes (e.g., paper, presentation, or creative work).
    5. A detailed budget and budget justification that clearly indicates why the requested funds are essential for the completion of the proposed project.  NOTE:  If this project requires more than the maximum grant award of $500 to complete, please indicate how you intend to secure additional funding.  Also, clearly explain the part of your project that can be completed if you fail to secure additional funding.
  • Required Appendices.
        --A list of references cited.
        --A curriculum vitae for the student. The vitae or an additional statement should clearly identify the student’s qualifications for conducting the project.
        --A copy of the student’s most recent transcript.
        --Any applicant that proposes to use human subjects (e.g., clinical or survey work) must have applied for approval of NMU’s Institutional Review Board (IRB).   (Application for the Conduct of Research Involving Human Subjects). Any project involving the use of animals must have applied for approval of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). (Application to use Vertebrate Animals in Research, Testing, or Instruction). Applicants must attach a copy of their Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Animal Care (IACUC) approval letter, or confirmation of application from the Chair of IRB or IACUC, with their Spooner application to be considered for funding.

Application Evaluation:

The evaluation rubric used by the Faculty Grant Committee can be viewed here. Proposals will be reviewed and rated by the department before submission to the Grants and Contracts Office. The Faculty Grants Committee will then review the proposals based upon the following criteria:

  1. The significance of the proposed project and a sound plan for conducting the project.
  2. The potential of a publishable report presentation at a professional meeting, creative work, or other activities appropriate to the discipline.
  3. The appropriateness of the budget justification.
  4. Qualifications of the student investigator.
  5. Adherence to format and content requirements.

The members of the review committee will rank all proposals and forward their recommendations for funding to the Dean of Graduate Education and Research, who will announce the awards. The grant funds will be under the supervision of the department of the faculty advisor.