The Nevada DRIVE Program | Open through January 31, 2021

Beginning January 2021, the Nevada DRIVE Program is a two-year graduate research assistantship (GRA) program made possible through the combined efforts of President Brian Sandoval, Vice President for Research and Innovation, Mridul Gautam, and Executive Vice President & Provost, Jeff Thompson.

Dr. Snow and her graduate student performing a neuro science experiment


To provide one- or two-year Graduate Research Assistantships to promote the recruitment/retention of doctoral students enrolled at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Program description

The Nevada DRIVE program is designed to promote Doctoral Research in Innovation, Vision and Excellence at the University of Nevada, Reno. All University doctoral programs are eligible to request funding for one or more full- or half- time GRA positions for the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 academic years. For each year, we anticipate that funding will be available to support approximately 20 full-time (20-hour/week) or 40 half-time (10-hour/week) research assistantships with a stipend of $25,000, or $12,500, respectively. Funding includes non-resident tuition waivers and the standard grant-in-aid to cover course registration fees and student health insurance.

Please refer to the University’s Graduate Assistant Handbook for information on policies, benefits, and definitions regarding graduate assistants. For the purposes of this program, a graduate research assistant is broadly defined below.

Graduate Research Assistant (GRA): GRAs are graduate assistants who work in research-related positions existing primarily in academic departments, research centers and institutes. GRAs gain experience of working alongside faculty members on cutting-edge research.

GRA responsibilities vary greatly and may include, but are not limited to:

  • Conducting research or performing creative activities towards the completion of their doctoral degree
  • Collecting, coding, and/or analyzing data
  • Conducting literature reviews or library research
  • Preparing materials for submission to funding agencies and foundations
  • Writing reports
  • Preparing materials for IRB review

Program requirements

The following program requirements must be met by the graduate program, faculty member, and/or graduate student during the funding year(s).

Graduate student presenting to peers

Incoming Nevada DRIVE Scholars

  • The incoming Nevada DRIVE scholar must submit an individual development plan (IDP) by the end of Fall 2021 (for Fall 2021 admits) or the end of Fall 2022 (for Fall 2022 admits).
  • If appropriate, the incoming Nevada DRIVE scholar must apply to the NSF GAIN Scholars Program (refer to NSF GAIN Scholars webpage for eligibility)

All Nevada DRIVE Scholars

  • The faculty advisor must submit an annual evaluation of progress for the Nevada DRIVE Scholar to the Graduate School by May 2022 and/or May 2023.
  • The Nevada DRIVE Scholar must attend a mandatory orientation session at beginning of Fall 2021 or Fall 2022 semesters, as appropriate.
  • The graduate program must assign a peer mentor to the Nevada DRIVE Scholar. The peer mentor should be an established doctoral student in the Nevada DRIVE Scholar’s graduate program.
  • The Nevada DRIVE Scholar must attend structured seminars and professional development modules to investigate and prepare for careers.
  • The Nevada DRIVE Scholar must receive additional mentorship with a University faculty member other than their doctoral advisor.
  • The Nevada DRIVE Scholar must participate in at least one of the following programs: GradFIT, Gradventure and 3MT
  • The Nevada DRIVE Scholar’s doctoral advisor must complete or have completed the Graduate School’s Mentoring Mentor’s Workshop.

For programs receiving awards, the department chair and the graduate program director (in case of departmentally-based graduate programs) or the graduate program director (in the case of interdisciplinary graduate programs) must submit a memo email to the Graduate Dean identifying the student, FTE and duration of the award (1 or 2 years).


Proposals should be prepared by department chairs/graduate program directors and submitted to the appropriate college/school Dean. Each graduate program can request the maximum FTE equivalent of two, 2-year full-time positions (0.5 FTE) or four, 2-year half time positions (0.25 FTE). That is, the maximum total FTE per program is 2.0. Programs have flexibility in structuring their requests, but their plans must be justified. For example, a program could request two, 2-year 0.5 FTE positions for incoming students. Alternatively, the program could request four, one-year, 0.5 FTE positions or eight, one-year, 0.25 FTE positions in which the program provides matching, 0.25 FTE graduate teaching assistantships for supporting students full time.

Deans should concatenate all their graduate program proposal requests into a single document and rank the proposals in order of priority. Deans must submit requests to the Graduate School by 11:59 pm on January 31, 2021. Funding decisions will be announced by February 8, 2021.