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Grants for students and faculty available through Mershon Center

For those looking to get financial help to conduct research, the opportunity has arrived.

The Mershon Center for International Security Studies is seeking applications from Ohio State students and faculty for research grants. Research topics are limited to those related to international security. Drawing particular interest are policy issues of biosecurity and cybersecurity, as well as projects related to OSU’s global gateways in China, India and Brazil, according to the Mershon Center Web site.

The grant application process is similar to scholarship request, but differs in that applicants must include a detailed, itemized budget. Due on Jan. 29, applicants can expect an examination of their proposed research projects by a formidable committee.

“The specific members of the committee change from year to year, but it usually includes five senior, distinguished faculty members and myself,” said Richard Herrmann, professor and director of the Mershon Center.

Herrmann added that a separate committee of three professors evaluates undergraduate proposals. For undergraduates, the Center looks for those who would like to study abroad to augment their research. Although many more graduate and faculty projects have been selected, undergraduates are encouraged to apply.

Leanna Packard graduated in June 2009 and received a Mershon Center study abroad scholarship as an undergraduate in 2008. She traveled to Great Britain for information from the National Archives about the Scottish Revolution from 1639-1640.

When applying for a scholarship as an undergraduate, Packard said, “encouragement drives you to do it, but having confidence is the key.

“Still, it was pretty mind-boggling when I received the money,” she said.

The scholarship enabled Packard to complete her senior thesis and to graduate with distinction.

“The selection committee looks for projects that will produce high quality and publishable scholarship,” Herrmann said. “We need people on the cutting edge of their fields.”

Mark Rice, a doctoral candidate at OSU, received a grant in January 2007 to further research he began as an undergraduate on the relationship between Berlin and NATO in 1958 through 1963. Rice’s study is relevant to the current high-stress diplomacy that terrorism and nuclear proliferation instigates.

“The Mershon [Center] has definitely helped me in other ways other than providing me money,” Rice said, “They gave logistical support as well as opportunities to present my findings.”

Rice was awarded a grant worth approximately $2,200. In fiscal year 2010, the Center devoted more than $86,000 to graduate grants and around $350,000 to faculty projects. Furthermore, $25,000 was provided for undergraduates, Herrmann said in e-mail.

The grant money comes from the Mershon Center endowment, a gift from Ralph D. Mershon to OSU made in the 1950s.

“Since the stock market was down last year, the endowment money decreased about $200,000,” Herrmann said, “but this year, we expect more money to be available for grants as the market improves.”

To apply for a grant or study abroad scholarship, students and faculty can find more information and the application at mershoncenter.osu.edu. 

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