A novel drug to fight cancer. A hedometer that uses social media to measure emotion around the world in real time. Software to better predict weather patterns. These are all ventures that advance knowledge and address society’s needs — and they all happen thanks to the work of UVM Graduate College students. Graduate students are creators of new knowledge as well as scholars, teachers, mentors and ambassadors.
Graduate Training Fund: $35 million
Graduate students and their contributions to our larger academic community are central to successful UVM research, innovation activities and our national reputation. Through the campaign, we will create seven highly competitive, named graduate student stipends. Competition for top graduate students is fierce; increasing the number of stipends we offer will allow us to grow our graduate student population while maintaining our stringent academic quality.
Predoctoral Scholar Fellowship: $667,000
Doctoral students advance faculty members’ research; their stipends are most often funded through external grants. The campaign presents an opportunity to create a special scholarship to support the last academic year for exceptional doctoral students. In addition to providing recognition for up-and-coming scholars, this award will unleash doctoral students’ creativity, allowing them to develop their own lines of investigation and cross disciplinary boundaries.
Master’s Thesis Fellowship: $556,000
This fellowship would make UVM more competitive in recruiting top master’s candidates. Applicants would outline their proposed research plan and indicate why pursuing graduate studies at UVM is important to their success. Ideally, there would be two fellowships available: one for the humanities, and the other geared toward science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs
Finding solutions to society’s most complex problems will require input and perspectives from multiple disciplines. With its size and scale, UVM is an ideal environment to uncover these cross-disciplinary solutions. Campaign investment will advance graduate study in the following interdisciplinary areas:
- Complex Systems. UVM has built an international reputation in the burgeoning field of complex systems, a study that brings together experts across campus in data science, climate, policy, health systems, organizations, economics and financial systems, robotics, evolution, and artificial intelligence — to name a few. UVM already offers a certificate of graduate study in complex systems along with a master’s in complex systems and data science; plans call for adding a Ph.D. in the near future.
- Food Systems. Food systems encompasses everything from soil and water quality to human health and nutrition, and from packaging and transportation to overall food and energy security. In a time of climate change and environmental uncertainty, food systems is about creating a safe and stable regional food supply. UVM was the first in the nation to offer a Ph.D. and master’s degree in food systems, making this one of our most innovative programs.
- Neuroscience, Behavior and Health. The Neuroscience, Behavior and Health Initiative seeks to improve human health through behavior change by promoting interdisciplinary research and education. Spanning the spectrum from genes and molecules to complex behaviors, this research effort advances knowledge from bench to bedside to community and back again. Graduate students are affiliated with multiple programs, including the cross-college Neuroscience Graduate Program, the Psychology Program, and the Physical Therapy and Communication Sciences and Disorders programs.
- Biomedical and Life Sciences. Cross-college interdisciplinary graduate programs in Bioengineering, Clinical and Translational Science, Cellular, Molecular and Biomedical Sciences (CMBS), Materials Science, and Neuroscience provide ways for students to bring multiple approaches to bear on a focused problem. Current projects of CMBS students include developing a therapy for malignant mesothelioma, the role of specific human epicardial cells in protection from vascular injury, and mechanisms of airway inflammation in asthma and other respiratory disease.
- Environment and Sustainability. Concepts of environment and sustainability infuse research and scholarship at UVM across multiple programs. Students are encouraged to collaborate and use interdisciplinary approaches to address specific questions. They explore areas ranging from developmental genetics to ecosystem processes, and from pure theory to applied conservation ecology — areas integrated by the common theme of the way organisms interact with their environment.