ACRP: Graduate Research Award Program on Public-Sector Aviation Issues
A Program that Awards
Research Stipends to Graduate Students
Sponsored by Federal Aviation Administration
Administered by Airport Cooperative Research Program
Transportation Research Board, National Academies
Managed by Virginia Space Grant Consortium
APPLICATION OPENS February 5, 2016
To encourage applied research on airport and related aviation system issues and to foster the next generation of aviation community leaders. The program is intended to stimulate thought, discussion, and research by those who may become the future airport managers, operators, designers, and policy makers in aviation. The focus of this research program is on applied research to help the public sector continue to improve the quality, reliability, safety, and security of the U.S. civil aviation system well into the foreseeable future.
Airports are vital national resources. They serve key roles in the transportation of people and goods and in regional, national, and international commerce. They are where the nation's aviation system connects with other modes of transportation and where federal responsibility for managing and regulating air traffic operations intersects with the role of state and local governments that own and operate most airports. Research is necessary to solve common operating problems, to adapt appropriate new technologies from other industries, and to introduce innovations into the airport industry.
The Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) carries out applied research on problems that are shared by airport operating agencies and are not being adequately addressed by existing federal research programs. The need for ACRP was identified in TRB Special Report 272: Airport Research Needs: Cooperative Solutions (March 2003), based on a study sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The ACRP undertakes research and other technical activities in a variety of airport subject areas including design, construction, maintenance, operations, safety, security, policy, planning, human resources, and administration.
The applicant selects the topic to be researched with supervision by a faculty member at his or her institution. Appropriate topics may be drawn from a wide range of subjects of interest to the U.S. public sector aviation community. A listing of possible subject areas is included as part of this announcement. Other possibilities are topics included in the TRB Research Needs Database, suggestions proposed by TRB Standing Committees, and additional research needs identified in previously completed ACRP projects. The TRB Database, information about TRB Standing Committees, and a listing of previously completed ACRP projects are available on the TRB web site:
Applicants are not restricted to these suggested topics as long as their proposals address the stated purpose of the Graduate Research Award Program.
Major research topic areas of interest include but are not limited to the following:
Applicants can also search the TRB Research Needs database for possible subject areas. In addition, a recent report published by the Airport Cooperative Research Program, Research Results Digest 20: Taking Inventory of ACRP Research and the Next Challenges Facing the Airport Industry, explores the ACRP’s processes, guidance, and research results. The report also examines ACRP’s outreach to the airport industry. An earlier report released by the Airport Cooperative Research Program, Research Results Digest 5: Current and Emerging Issues Facing the Airport Industry, outlines areas of interest that might suggest possible topics for research papers.
- Airport capacity and long-term planning
- Airport finance and development
- Airport safety
- Airport and system wide planning
- Alternative revenue sources for different types of airports
- Cargo capacity and integration into airport operations and intermodal planning
- Economic impacts of airport expansion
- Environmental issues, including sustainability of the aviation system
- Human resources, including all participants in the aviation system
- Multi-modal transportation linkages
- Security and operations
- Technology and its effect on airport operations
The Graduate Research Award Program on Public-Sector Aviation Issues will award up to 10 highly qualified applicants, selected by an ACRP panel of experts, a stipend of $10,000 each for successful completion of a research paper on a subject chosen by the candidate within the framework of the program’s purpose. Payments will be divided into four installments during the research, with the final payment contingent on completion and acceptance of the paper by the panel.
Benefits to the student
The research papers produced under this program will be eligible for presentation at the Transportation Research Board’s Annual Meeting, held in January 2018 in Washington, D.C. This meeting is an international meeting attracting more than 13,000 transportation leaders from the United States and abroad, representing state, local, and federal agencies as well as private consultants, educational institutions, and many other institutions sharing an interest in transportation-related issues and research findings.
In addition, the highest-quality research papers will be considered for publication in an annual volume of the Transportation Research Record, a peer-reviewed journal of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies. To the successful students, participation at the TRB Annual Meeting and potential publication in the Transportation Research Record together provide an opportunity to become engaged in one of the pre-eminent forums for frontline transportation leaders, practitioners, and researchers from across the United States and around the world.
The Award Program will also assign two individuals who will serve as mentors to each graduate researcher. Mentors will review the research approach and draft research paper and work with each researcher and faculty advisor throughout the program. These individuals will be selected by the ACRP panel of experts.
Application Instructions: Please Read Carefully
To be considered for the award, applications must be submitted electronically with one hard copy submission required by the due dates noted. This application consists of six principal parts: (1) Applicant Information; (2) Applicant Qualifications ;( 3) Research Project Proposal; (4) References; (5) Research Advisor Contact Information; and (6) Cover Page with certification by applicant and the university’s Sponsored Programs Office. The completed electronic application, which includes a PDF document of several submission requirements, must be submitted by May 15, 2016. One hard copy of the complete application package with original signed Cover Page must be provided to the address below by May 23, 2016 to the attention of Mary Sandy at 600 Butler Farm Road, Suite 2200, Hampton, VA 23666. It is recommended that students use a certified delivery service for their hard copy submission. Deadlines are firm; extensions will not be granted.
Note: Upon submission, reference and faculty advisor commitment forms are automatically generated by the application system and sent to the selected individuals. They must be returned by May 29, 2016 to complete the application.
Inquiries should be directed to the Virginia Space Grant Consortium, which is managing the program on behalf of the Airport Cooperative Research Program, at 757/766-5210 or firstname.lastname@example.org (e-mail is preferable).
Access to Application
Information on how to access the application and upload required documents will be available at this site on or around February 5, 2016. In preparation for completing the application package, applicants are encouraged to develop their research proposal, secure a research advisor, and obtain official copies of transcripts.
Applicants will find full program guidelines on the Graduate Research Award website at http://www.trb.org/ACRP/ACRPGraduateAwardProgram.aspx
These awards will be offered only to persons who, on the date of the application, are both (1) citizens or permanent residents of the United States, or have a current student visa, and (2) officially enrolled as a full-time student at an accredited North American institution of higher learning for the academic year in a graduate course leading to a master’s or doctoral degree. Proof of both may be required. Eligibility status must be maintained throughout the academic year. Candidates in Master’s and Doctoral programs will be evaluated separately. Applicants must submit the prescribed application form fully executed by the due date indicated. Designation and commitment of a faculty research advisor is required. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the faculty advisor has submitted the required documentation provided by the application system. In addition, two letters of reference are required; one must be from a faculty member or department head who knows the applicant’s work or interest in the field. Note: The faculty research advisor is not allowed to be listed as one of the two references.
Research Project Proposal
The application includes a description (up to 500 words) of the proposed research project. Include project objectives, research methods, and expected outcomes. Also indicate how this research could benefit the aviation community as well as contribute to your career goals. The applicant is encouraged to consult this Graduate Research Award Program website which provides additional program background, a list of major research topics of interest, as well as access to research abstracts and reports for past award winners and up-to-date information on Transportation Research Board studies. Previous student papers (through academic year 2013/2014) are summarized in the following documents: Research Results Digest 14: http://www.trb.org/main/blurbs/166611.aspx and Research Results Digest 19: http://www.trb.org/Main/Blurbs/170152.aspx
Selection Criteria and Award Notification
Final selections of award winners will be made by a panel of distinguished experts from aviation and the academic community based on an evaluation of the applicant’s personal statement and academic qualifications, career goals, references, and significant features of the proposed research concept and plan. Award winners will be notified in August 2016 and awards will typically be administered through the university’s Sponsored Programs Office. Completed research papers will be due on August 31, 2017. Presentations at the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting will be in January 2018, with opportunities for publication in the Transportation Research Record (the peer-reviewed journal of the Transportation Research Board) later that year. The Transportation Research Board requires first right of refusal for papers produced as part of the Graduate Research Award Program.
Conditions of Award
Following selection for an award, each recipient will be offered an award agreement that will include requirements for completing the research paper in a timely manner. Compliance with this and other conditions, rules, and regulations governing this program is expected. Failure to do so will constitute grounds for termination of the award.
The objective of the current research program is to initiate awards by the start of the fall 2016 semester.
- February 5, 2016 – Application available.
- May 15, 2016 – Electronic submission of application is due.
- May 23, 2016 – Hard copy of the application is due.
- May 29, 2016 – Last date for receipt of the references and faculty advisor commitment form.
- August, 2016 – Contracts awarded to recipients.
- October 1, 2016 – First scoping discussion/meeting and review of draft work plan with mentor, advisor, and research grant recipient.
- January 31, 2017 – First interim review.
- April 28, 2017 – Second interim review.
- July 14, 2017 – Draft research paper due.
- August 31, 2017 – Research papers due.
- January 2018 – Papers presented at TRB’s Annual Meeting, published as part of the Compendium of Papers for the meeting, and considered for publication in TRB's Transportation Research Record.
Evaluation and Selection of Award Candidates
Applicants for awards will be judged on a number of factors. They include academic qualifications (academic accomplishments, references, and experience), career goals, and proposed research (quality of concept, approach, and potential value to the public sector aviation community). Final selection of candidates for awards will be made by a distinguished panel of experts from aviation and the academic community appointed by the ACRP. Applications will be judged on the following criteria:
- Quality and completeness of the application and the research proposal;
- Relevance to the purpose of the Airport Cooperative Research Program/Graduate Research Award Program;
- Academic and work experience, and transcripts as required in the application;
- References (including at least one non faculty advisor academic reference) available to contact in support of the application;
- Commitment of a faculty advisor; and
- Writing sample submitted with the application.
Administration of Program
The creation of a selection panel, the monitoring of the research progress, the forum for presentation and publication of the research papers are the responsibility of the ACRP of the Transportation Research Board. The Virginia Space Grant Consortium will manage the Graduate Research Award program under the ACRP’s direction.