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Apply for CMP’s 2020 Graduate Student Support Program

The Center for Materials Processing (CMP) partial graduate student support is designed to be tied to a specific discrete research project related to materials processing. The specific project should be the focus of a three-page white paper submitted as part of the application package.

Application Deadline for Spring 2020 Support: April 20, 2020

Students will present their support package requests via Zoom to members of CMP Graduate Support Committee the afternoon of May 7, 2020. Plan for a 15-minute presentation with five to ten minutes for questions. Advisors are welcome to attend but this is not a requirement.

How to apply

To apply, please send an email with “CMP Support Application” and your name as the subject line to Attached to the email the following items:

  • A cover letter that includes your
    • Name, address, e-mail, and phone
    • Department and degree
    • Date of completing your preliminary exams and expected graduation date
    • Specify your interest in materials processing
  • A two-page version of your current curriculum vitae
  • A three-page white paper about the specific processing research project. The sections of the white paper are:
    • Title
    • Statement and Significance of Problem
    • Proposed Solution and Novelty of this Approach
    • Methodology
    • Research Timeline (up to 12 months in duration)
      • Anticipated start date would be August 1, 2020
    • Intended presentation and publication venues for presenting the research
  • Budget and budget justification (separate page from the three-page narrative)
  • Have two single-page letters of recommendation including one from your advisor e-mailed directly to by the deadline
  • White papers will be evaluated on the basis of the clarity and quality of narratives for each of the sections particularly related to problem statement and significance, and proposed solution and novelty

Student Eligibility Requirements

  • Passed both their departmental preliminary exams and preliminary proposal defense
  • Completed all or almost all coursework
  • Should be entering at least their third year


For students working for faculty affiliated with the Joint Institute for Advanced Materials (JIAM) or the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF).


CMP graduate support package will provide $15,000 of support. A budget should be in the white paper that includes funds for one professional conference where the student will present the research. Other items in the budget should be funds for instrument usage, preferably the JIAM XRD and/or Microcopy Facilities, with the remainder of the funds covering the student’s stipend and corresponding percentage of health insurance benefits. The department or advisor will be required to supplement the stipend, health insurance benefits and provide tuition (or tuition waiver) through either a Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) or a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA). The number of support packages that will be offered will vary based on the availability of funds. The typical duration for support is 12 months for GRAs and 18 months for GTAs. A six-month extension is possible based on the progress and satisfactory performance of the project. The extension is only granted after a review including a oral presentation, and if the review is not positive, unexpended funds are returned to the Center for Materials Processing. If the review is positive, unexpended funds are to be used during the six-month extension.

If the student is selected to receive support they will be expected to (1) contribute to the CMP Annual Report by submitting a short narrative biography about themselves and their materials processing related research; (2) submit a journal article at the completion of the project to an appropriate journal; (3) present their research at a professional conference, and (4) acknowledge the CMP in all publications and presentations that result from the project and the related research. The project should be contributing towards the students’ PhD research and the CMP should be notified when the student defends the dissertation and graduates so that this information is presented in a timely manner in the CMP Annual Report to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the CMP Director (Philip Rack) or anyone else on the CMP Graduate Support Committee: Chris Wetteland, Veerle Keppens, Bill Dunne, and Chad Duty.

View the application requirements as a PDF.