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Office of the Vice President for Research



These frequently asked questions are updated regularly to include questions raised at SPARC workshop sessions, helping to make this list as comprehensive as possible. Please Contact Dr. Lauren Clark (803-777-3929) if you have a question not listed below.


SPARC key dates and timelines

When is the start date for SPARC Graduate Research Grant funds to be available?
SPARC Fellowship funds become available to recipients on May 1 each year.

What is the SPARC project work period?
SPARC recipients must conduct their work during a 15-month period: May 1 through July 31 each year.

I attended a SPARC Application Workshop last year. Do I have to attend another one this year?
No, but you are still responsible for adhering to this year's guidelines.

I completed a master's degree at USC, and I am now pursuing a Ph.D. in the same field. Can I apply for SPARC in the first year of my Ph.D. program instead of waiting for my second year?
No, all Ph.D. students must be in their second year (or later) of Ph.D. study to apply.


SPARC Faculty Advisors

Can my SPARC faculty advisor (and PI in USCeRA) be a USC faculty member who is not my primary Advisor?
The faculty advisor on the SPARC proposal generally should be the student applicant's primary advisor for his or her dissertation or thesis. If a student wishes to have a USC faculty member other than the primary advisor as the SPARC faculty advisor (and PI in USCeRA), he or she may do so. To elect a different SPARC faculty advisor, the student must submit a letter of support from their primary advisor expressing approval for another faculty member to serve as the SPARC faculty advisor. Alternatively, the student's dissertation or thesis committee may approve the appointment of a USC faculty member who is not the primary advisor as the SPARC faculty advisor. In this case, the student must produce a letter of support from the chair of the dissertation or thesis committee stating the committee's approval of the alternate SPARC faculty advisor. When submitting the SPARC Fellowship proposal, this letter of support should be appended to the proposal and should appear after the Faculty Letter of Recommendation.


SPARC and collaboration

Can two students write a joint proposal for SPARC?
No, joint proposals are not allowed.

Since we cannot write a joint proposal, can two students write individual proposals and request that the funding of one be contingent upon the other also being funded?


How SPARC funds can and cannot be used

Can I use my SPARC funds to purchase devices like a computer, tablet or cell phone?
No, SPARC funds cannot be used to purchase computers, computer components, cpu nodes, cameras, voice recorders, cell phones, tablets or digital drawing devices.


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