DAGSI – Program Information and Requirements – SOCHE

Program Information and Requirements

AFRL/DAGSI Ohio Student-Faculty Research Fellowship Competitive Program

The AFRL/DAGSI Ohio Student-Faculty Research Fellowship Competitive program, funded primarily by Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE), supports science and engineering graduate students and faculty who conduct research in areas targeted by the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.  As of January 2019, DAGSI also has a Cooperative Agreement (FA8650-19-2-9300) with AFRL.  This agreement is flexible, allowing for AFRL to either cost share with DAGSI and/or a university or to fund a project in its entirety.  Prospective applicants should discuss this possibility with their topic sponsors. Go to AFRL Cooperative Agreement for more information on utilizing this funding vehicle.

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
  • Increased utilization of AFRL facilities
  • Increase involvement by Ohio students and faculty in Aerospace research at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
  • Build stronger ties between Ohio’s research institutions and the Air Force

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

Graduate students and faculty from any of the seventeen university members of the Ohio Department of Higher Education’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); and Northeastern Ohio Medical University.

The Application Process

Research topics identified by the Technical Directorates at AFRL/WPAFB are posted on the DAGSI website by October 1 each year.  Each topic has a short description along with a technical point of contact within the directorate.  Applications may be submitted anytime between December 15 and the application due date.

Competitive Awards

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 the equivalent of eight consecutive weeks conducting research at Wright-Patterson AFB.  Each team will develop and customize a plan with their AFRL sponsor for conducting this research.  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. Award decisions are made in mid-March for research commencing summer term.

Refer to Application Guidelines and Forms for more on the application and project renewal process.*5

DAGSI anticipates awarding at least 10 new student-faculty fellowships and renewing several Ph.D. 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 Department of Higher Education.  Therefore, a proposed cost share must not violate any requirements or restrictions set by the state.  When the final invoice is submitted by the university, 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. Consideration must be made for the student’s summer travel/housing expense while conducting research at AFRL, as well as DAGSI poster session expenses.
  • 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 $3,000 may be used for the purchase of equipment
  • Faculty stipend or faculty salary applied as cost share, may not exceed $13,860 (equivalent to $11,000 + 26% overhead).  At the institution’s discretion, faculty fringe benefits may be allocated from within the stipend or may be added to the stipend by the university/department as cost share (i.e., DAGSI will not pay additional money for fringe benefits).
  • Ph.D. applicants MUST submit a budget (including cost share) for three full years of support with the original application. Therefore, the cost share source (university, AFRL Cooperative Agreement, or industry) must be willing to guarantee three years of support.

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.  M.S. students wishing to pursue a second year must re-compete.  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 of support.  A renewal request must be submitted by the published deadline for a second or third year of funding.  This renewal process is ONLY FOR ODHE FUNDED PROJECTS. 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.  Both M.S. and Ph.D. fellowships are eligible for no-cost extensions upon request, and re-budgeting of line allocations will be considered.  No project (M.S. or Ph.D.) is permitted to extend more than 3 years. 

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, Requirements, and Eligibility

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

  • Project work must commence no later than October 1 of the award year.
  • Each student must spend an equivalent 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 the 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.
  • 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 ODHE funded projects at a time.
  • Each proposal should address a single research topic unless topic combination has been approved by AFRL.
  • Collaboration among universities is strongly 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.  Ph.D. renewal applications are required for only ODHE funded projects.
  • Upgrade renewals from M.S. to Ph.D. are not available.  A Masters student wishing to continue in the same topic for his/her Doctoral research must re-compete for a new award.
  • 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, 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.
  • Students participating in a 4+1 Master’s program are eligible to apply for DAGSI funding, however, they must be considered a full-time MS student at the time the project starts.
  • 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 the 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 ODHE funded Fellowship for no more than three years.  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 ODHE’s Research Officers Council. The only exception would be projects wholly funded by AFRL, with no contribution by the state of Ohio via DAGSI. University’s outside of Ohio cannot compete for ODHE funds.
  • Due to Government restrictions, student applicants funded by DAGSI must be US citizens. Faculty members who plan to do research at AFRL must be US citizens. Faculty green card holders are discouraged from applying. 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.
  • 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 a stipend or miscellaneous expense monies from an AFRL/DAGSI award without prior approval by BOTH AFRL and DAGSI.
  • If a student receiving an award withdraws for any reason before the project work begins, a student substitution may be made per the discretion of the AFRL sponsor.  If a qualified substitution cannot be found within a timely period, the full award will be withdrawn and offered to the next project/team on the rank-ordered list. The replacement student must be comparable in academic standing to the original applicant.
  • If a student withdraws after the start of the project, 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 Ph.D. students are eligible for renewal.
  • No project may receive more than three years of ODHE support, and no student may receive more than three years of ODHE support.  If a project has a replacement student, and the project has reached its three-year maximum, the student/team may recompete for additional funding.  However, if awarded, the new award will terminate when the student reaches their maximum of three years of ODHE support.
  • Projects/students may be supported past the three-year maximum on ODHE funds by AFRL funds through the Cooperative Agreement.  This is strictly at the TD’s discretion.

Miscellaneous Program FAQs

  • DAGSI does not make housing arrangements for research time at AFRL. Make sure that money is allocated in the miscellaneous budget to help cover travel and housing expenses for the student and faculty.
  • Stipends are paid to the student directly from the university. In general, these funds run through payroll and have taxes deducted.  Students should consult with their university departments on how to set up their contracts for stipend payments and any questions concerning pay periods.
  • DAGSI is not authorized to process applications for Base access. The project’s AFRL sponsor is required to make these arrangements on the student’s behalf.  The contract number used is the DAGSI project number that is assigned after acceptance of the award is made.
  • It is highy encouraged that a students and faculty team communicate with a topic’s AFRL sponsor PRIOR to proposal development.