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Program Information and Requirements

The AFRL/DAGSI Ohio Student-Faculty Research Fellowship program, funded primarily through DAGSI by the Ohio Board of Regents (BOR), supports graduate science and engineering students and faculty who conduct research in areas targeted by the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
The key program objectives are to:

  • Strengthen AFRL research ties to Ohio ’s academic science and engineering community
  • Stimulate effective collaboration between Ohio universities and the AFRL
  • Leverage Ohio research funding with AFRL, university, and industry funding and other resources
  • Develop research talent to meet AFRL and Ohio high-tech workforce needs

All projects involve basic research in aerospace technologies and originate from research topics provided by the four AFRL Directorates headquartered at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio:  Human Effectiveness (RH); Aerospace Systems (RQ); Materials & Manufacturing (RX); and Sensors (RY).

In August of 2012, DAGSI and AFRL signed Cooperative Agreement FA8650-12-2-7248, “AFRL Collaborative Student-Faculty Research Program,” opening the AFRL/DAGSI research fellowship program to direct funding from AFRL.  AFRL funding augments the state funding that has supported the program since 1999.  The agreement is flexible, allowing for AFRL to either cost share with DAGSI and/or a university or to fund a project in its entirety.  A cost share commitment is required for each new project in the annual competitive award round, and through the Cooperative Agreement AFRL becomes a potential source for fulfilling or contributing to that requirement.  Prospective applicants should discuss this possibility with their topic sponsors.  The Cooperative Agreement currently extends through March of 2019.

Graduate students and faculty from any of the eighteen university members of the OBR's Research Officers’ Council (ROC) with graduate science and engineering programs are eligible to participate.  ROC members include the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT); the University of Akron (UA); Bowling Green State University (BGSU); Central State University (CSU); the University of Cincinnati (UC); Cleveland State University (CSU); the University of Dayton (UD); Kent State University (KSU); Miami University (MU); The Ohio State University (OSU); Ohio University (OU); Shawnee State University (SSU); University of Toledo (UT); Wright State University (WSU); Youngstown State University (YSU); Case Western Reserve University (CWRU); Medical College of Ohio; and Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine.

A two-person team comprised of a graduate student and a faculty member submits a proposal in one of the target research topic areas.  The application must include a required cost share contribution, as described below.  Selection of proposals for funding is made jointly by AFRL and DAGSI.  Research Fellows collaborate with AFRL scientists and engineers, using AFRL facilities in addition to their university facilities, to conduct their research.  The AFRL is committed to providing significant on-site involvement and support to the academic participants.  The fellowship term is one year.  Each student is required to spend a minimum of eight consecutive weeks conducting research at Wright-Patterson AFB.  Each faculty member, especially if drawing a stipend as part of the award, is expected to be involved in the research, spending time at WPAFB as well as advising the student partner.  This requirement fosters strong partnerships between Ohio's academic research institutions and the Air Force.  The expectation is that the research will be the basis for most if not all students’ M.S. or Ph.D. dissertation.

The Application Process

Research topics identified by the Technical Directorates at AFRL/WPAFB are posted on the DAGSI web site by mid-October each year.  Each topic has a short description along with a technical point of contact within the directorate.  Applications may be submitted any time between December 15 and the end of January.
Application materials include:

  • Application forms (one for student, one for faculty)
  • Research proposal
  • Budget proposal, with required cost share commitment (source(s) and amounts; see below)
  • Endorsement from a university authorizing representative (e.g. Dean, VP for Research, Director of Sponsored Programs)
  • Transcripts for the student applicant
  • Minimum of two letters of reference for the student applicant, with at least one from someone other than the faculty research partner

Award decisions are made in mid-March for research commencing summer term.
Each student and each faculty applicant may, together or separately, pursue one or two research opportunities.  A student may hold only one award at a time.  A faculty member may receive one or two awards in a given cycle but may hold no more than three active awards at a time.  Each proposal should address a single research topic unless topic combination has been approved by AFRL.

Collaboration among universities is encouraged.  For example, two teams from different schools may collaborate on a topic, each submitting a separate application with a distinct research proposal but requesting that the applications be considered together. Renewals of existing Ph.D. awards require a separate application.  Renewals are not guaranteed.  No upgrade renewals from M.S. to Ph.D. are available.  A Masters student wishing to continue on the same topic for his/her Doctoral research must re-compete together with the applicants for new awards. 

The DAGSI website will be kept up-to-date with the latest program information.

The Award

DAGSI anticipates awarding at least 10 new student-faculty fellowships and renewing several projects annually.

Each new award must include a required cost share component.  DAGSI will contribute an annual maximum of $52,260 for a doctoral-level award and a maximum of $44,130 for a masters-level award.  The minimum cost share commitment is one-third of the DAGSI contribution, or $17,420 and $14,710 respectively for the DAGSI maximum contributions.  Cost share may come from any university, industry, AFRL, or other allowable government source(s).  The DAGSI contribution comes from state funding through the Ohio Board of Regents.  Therefore, proposed cost share must not violate any requirements or restrictions set by the state.  At the end of each research year, DAGSI will request written certification by a university official that the cost share commitment was kept.

Applicants must submit a budget proposal for use of the DAGSI and cost share funds, subject to the following constraints:
  • Allowed expense categories are student and faculty stipend, student tuition, and miscellaneous expense funds for travel, publications, etc.
  • Maximum university overhead rate is 26%, applied to all categories but tuition, which is exempt
  • Student stipend must be at least $24,500 (excluding benefits) for students enrolled in a Ph.D. program at the start of the Fellowship and at least $19,000 (excluding benefits) for students who hold a B.S. degree and are pursuing an M.S. degree, either terminal or on the way to a Ph.D.
  • Student tuition for one academic year must be covered
  • No more than $3000 may be used for purchase of equipment
  • Faculty stipend, or faculty salary applied as cost share, may not exceed $13,860 (equivalent to $11,000 + 26% overhead)

Awards are made for one year.  Students pursuing an M.S. degree will receive one year of support from DAGSI.  M.S. awards are ineligible for renewal.  Students pursuing a Ph.D. degree also receive one year of support but may apply for renewal up to two times for a total of three years' support.  A renewal request must be submitted by the published deadline for a second or third year of funding.  The final decision on renewals is based on feedback from AFRL, satisfactory academic achievement, research progress, and available funding.  The cost share requirement remains in place for all renewals.  Note:  any Ph.D. project team receiving cost share funding via the Cooperative Agreement for the first year is responsible for either renewing or replacing that support when applying for project renewal.  Both M.S. and Ph.D. fellowships are eligible for no-cost extensions upon request, and rebudgeting of line allocations will be considered.

Tax Questions: All questions concerning taxes should be directed to the Internal Revenue Service.  Refer to IRS Publication 520, "Scholarships and Fellowships", and Publication 508, "Tax Benefits for Work-Related Education," for further information.  Both publications can be accessed at www.irs.gov/formspubs/

Note: students and faculty receiving support from the AFRL/DAGSI program do not incur any formal obligation to the U.S. Government. Program objectives will be best served if the student actively pursues research, teaching, employment in air and space industries or other Air Force-related fields after graduating.

Program Rules and Requirements

Student and faculty applicants are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the program rules and requirements.

  • Project work must commence no later than October 1 of the award year.
  • Each student must spend a minimum of 8 consecutive weeks, preferably during the summer at the start of the award year, at AFRL/WPAFB working with AFRL researchers and using AFRL facilities.  If 8 consecutive weeks cannot be scheduled, the student must present a plan showing how the equivalent amount of time will be accumulated over the award year, with research at AFRL beginning no later than October 1.  The plan should be included up-front as a part of the application, and the AFRL project sponsor must agree to the plan.  In rare cases, AFRL and the university team may determine that much of the work is best accomplished with extensive use of university resources.  DAGSI should be made aware that the student may not be using AFRL labs as his/her primary research base.
  • Each faculty member should spend time over the award year advising the student and, particularly if drawing a stipend from the award, doing project-related research.  The research plan should state clearly how the student and faculty anticipate making use of AFRL facilities.
  • Additional time at AFRL may be negotiated directly between the university researchers and AFRL.
  • Student and faculty participants are required to do an interim written report and a seminar presentation at the end of the award year.  Teams receiving funding from AFRL through the AFRL/DAGSI Cooperative Agreement will have additional (quarterly) reporting requirements.
  • Typically no student substitution is permitted prior to the start of a project.  If a student receiving an award withdraws for any reason before the project work begins, typically the full award will be withdrawn and offered to the next project/team on the rank-ordered list.  An exception may be made at the discretion of the DAGSI Director together with the technical leadership of the Directorate and the AFRL project sponsor, and a new student may substitute if AFRL prefers to support the original project.  If a student withdraws after the start of the project but within the first six months of the award year, the university may recommend to AFRL and DAGSI a replacement student to complete the current award.  That student must be comparable in academic standing and research talent, must submit an application form to DAGSI along with a plan to continue the research already underway, and must be approved by the AFRL project sponsor.  DAGSI and AFRL have final approval. Replacement students cannot apply for renewals.  They must compete with new applicants for continuation of their funding beyond the first year.


  • All student applicants must be currently enrolled or admitted as full-time graduate students in engineering or a similar scientific or technical field.  If for some reason a student’s expected admittance remains pending as of the application deadline (end of January), admission must be confirmed by March 1 or the application will be disqualified.  Students admitted to but not yet enrolled in a graduate program must have accepted the school’s offer of enrollment.  Students may apply prior to receiving their baccalaureate degree provided they have been accepted to (and they have accepted) graduate school and will start their program no later than October 1 of the award year.
  • Any student holding employment outside of this fellowship is responsible for verification that he or she does not violate any university or employer restrictions on employment while receiving a stipend for research (e.g., some universities limit the number of outside employment hours for full-time students receiving fellowship stipends; some employers prohibit receiving a stipend if the employee is being paid a salary).  Student Fellows must be considered full-time students and must not be employed full-time.  Any violation of policy will result in termination of the fellowship unless the student makes a change that ensures compliance with all university, DAGSI, and employer rules.
  • A student may hold an AFRL/DAGSI Fellowship for no more than three years, not counting no-cost extension time at the end of an award.  If a student holding a one-year Masters-level fellowship competes for and receives a Doctoral-level award, that award is eligible for one renewal only, for a total of two years of Ph.D. research.
  • Eligible schools are any of Ohio's research universities with representation on the Regents' Research Officers Council.  The only exception would be projects wholly funded by AFRL, with no contribution by the state of Ohio via DAGSI.
  • Due to tightening WPAFB access restrictions, student applicants funded by DAGSI must be US citizens (NO EXCEPTIONS). Faculty members who plan to do research at AFRL must be US citizens. Faculty green card holders are discouraged from applying at this time. At a minimum, any interested faculty member who is not a US citizen must discuss plans and status with AFRL well in advance of applying and must get AFRL approval prior to submission of a proposal. That approval must be documented in the application or the application will be deemed ineligible.
  • A student may not hold more than one DAGSI award at a time.
  • Faculty applicants must be full-time, tenured or tenure track.  Adjunct faculty and consultants are ineligible.  Senior research faculty may apply provided they work closely with and advise graduate students.  No faculty members other than the applicant may receive stipend or miscellaneous expense monies from an AFRL/DAGSI award without prior approval by both AFRL and DAGSI.


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