Wilson Research Initiation Grant

The Wilson Initiation Grant is intended to jump start the research of a new tenure track faculty member, with a service accumulation of two calendar years or less by the application date of the current year. Preference will be given to proposals from assistant professors. The award recipient will receive $10,000 from the Wilson Endowment Fund.  The period of the award is through June 30 of the following year and any unspent balance will be returned to the fund for reallocation.

Proposal Content

The proposal should include:

  • Title page including name, rank, department affiliation
  • Summary of proposed research, limited to one page and written for nonspecialists
  • Narrative of three pages or less in which the problem is defined, the need, value or significance of the work is indicated, and the research plan is broadly outlined
  • Short vita, including related publications and experience
  • Proposed budget including fringe benefits and tuition


The nomination materials should be send to Diane Ault (emsresearch@ems.psu.edu) along with four hard copies sent to the Office of the Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Research in 248 Deike Building by no later than February 15.

Proposal Evaluation

While a proposal is expected to contain specialized content, it should have a clear enough discussion of the background, the problem, and the significance so that a reviewer not in the discipline finds it understandable.  The review criteria include:

  • Overall scientific and/or technical merits of the proposal
  • Innovativeness of the research
  • Adequacy of facilities and equipment to accomplish the research
  • Reasonableness of the proposed costs
  • Prospects for the development of a long term scholarly activity

Award Announcement

Awards will be announced at the Wilson Awards Banquet held each spring. 

Previous Recipients

The following EMS faculty members have received the Wilson Research Initiation Grant:

Year Faculty/Department
2017 Bronwen Powell - Assistant Professor of Geography and African Studies
2016 Anthony Didlake - Meteorology
Tess Russo - Geosciences
2015 Chiara Lo Prete - Energy and Mineral Engineering
Clio Andris - Geography
2014 Nasim Alem - Materials Science and Engineering
2013 Shimin Liu - Energy and Mineral Engineering
2012 Elizabeth A. Hajek - Geosciences
2011 Roman Engel-Herbert - Materials Science and Engineering
2010 Li Li - Energy and Mineral Engineering
2009 Seth Blumsack - Energy and Mineral Engineering
2008 Fan Zhang - Energy and Mineral Engineering
2007 Kamini Singha - Geosciences
2006 Petra Tschakert - Geography
2005 Luis Ayala - Energy and Mineral Engineering
Zuleima Karpyn - Energy and Mineral Engineering
2004 Ronald Hedden - Materials Science and Engineering
Eric Kirby - Geography
Angela Lueking - Energy and Mineral Engineering
Mark Roulston - Meteorology
Andrew Schissler - Energy and Mineral Engineering
2003 Vladislav Kecojevic - Energy and Mineral Engineering
Mercedes Maroto-Valer - Energy and Mineral Engineering
Christopher Muhlstein - Materials Science and Engineering
Qing Wang - Materials Science and Engineering
Peter Wilf - Geosciences
2002 Chris Benner - Geography
Joel Haight - Energy and Mineral Engineering
Paul Markowski - Meteorology
David O'Sullivan - Geography
2001 William A. Groves - Energy and Mineral Engineering
Christopher H. House - Geosciences
Melissa W. Wright - Geography
2000 Andrew N. Kleit - Energy and Mineral Engineering
James Kubicki - Geosciences
Evangelos Manias - Materials Science and Engineering
1999 Colin Flint - Geography
Zi-Kui Liu - Materials Science and Engineering
Cem Sarica - Energy and Mineral Engineering
Zili Yang - Energy and Mineral Engineering
1998 Lorraine Dowler - Geography
1997 Ahmet E. Kocagil - Energy and Mineral Engineering
Andrew A. Nyblade - Geosciences
1996 Andre Boehman - Energy and Mineral Engineering
Andrew Carleton - Geography
Ralph Colby - Materials Science and Engineering
Jeffrey Lazo - Energy and Mineral Engineering
Suzanne Mohney - Materials Science and Engineering
Mark E. Patzkowsky - Geosciences
Andrew Sluyter - Geography
Todd Sowers - Geosciences

2017 Recipient

The 2017 recipient of the Wilson Research Initiation Grant is:

Bronwen Powell

Bronwen Powell, assistant professor of geography and African studies

View 2017 Program