General | Funding | Applications | WSU to PNNL Transition


Q: What is the DGRP?

A: The Distinguished Graduate Research Program, or DGRP, is a collaborative program between PNNL and WSU. It is intended to increase the quality and quantity of STEM PhD students across the WSU system, while providing an enhanced research experience by aligning WSU faculty, students, and PNNL scientists with the unique capabilities and research programs at PNNL.

Q: Is my PNNL advisor required to be on my WSU dissertation committee?

A: Yes, both your WSU advisor and PNNL advisor must be on your dissertation committee.

Q: My advisor is a PNNL-WSU joint appointee. Does this meet the requirement of having both a PNNL and WSU advisor?

A: Yes.

Q: Do I need to acknowledge the DGRP in the work that I do in the program?

A: Yes! Please acknowledge the DGRP in a format similar to the following: This work was supported in part by the PNNL-WSU Distinguished Graduate Research Program (student initials).


Q: How are DGRP students funded?

A: DGRP students are funded by their WSU and PNNL advisors. Funding does not come directly from the DGRP.

Q: Is the DGRP an internship at PNNL?

A: No, the DGRP is not an internship at PNNL. Although the DGRP is designed to give students hands-on experience working with scientists and lab equipment at PNNL, the DGRP is part of a student’s WSU graduate program. Please see “Summer Funding” in the DGRP Guidelines for additional information.


Q: How do I apply to the DGRP?

A: The initial application step is undertaken jointly by a WSU faculty member and PNNL scientist through the online application form.

  • Approved faculty applicants may then submit a student application for review.
  • Once a student is selected and approved:
    • The student returns the signed WSU-PNNL DGRP Acceptance Form.
    • The WSU faculty member submits a pre-proposal eREX at https://myresearch.wsu.edu.

Q: What is the priority application deadline?

A: The application due dates for the 2022 Cohort are as follows:

  • Priority deadline for advisor applications: November 29, 2021
  • Hard deadline for advisor applications: February 14, 2022
  • Priority deadline for student applications: March 1, 2022
  • Hard deadline for student applications: April 1, 2022

Q: What fields/programs do successful applicants come from?

A: The program is particularly interested in attracting outstanding students whose graduate programs represent the existing and emerging areas of collaboration with PNNL: nuclear science and engineering; electric power grid; bioproducts; catalysis; environmental, water and soil science and engineering; and other emerging areas of collaboration (e.g. computational, materials, medical/biological sciences, psychology).

Q: I would like to nominate a student who is not an incoming first year PhD student. Are existing students eligible to be considered for the DGRP?

A: Yes, however, priority is given to applications recruiting new students to join PhD programs at WSU.

Q: I am a WSU-PNNL joint-appointee. On the DGRP application, which institution am I considered at for advising purposes?

A: WSU faculty with a PNNL joint appointment and PNNL scientists with a WSU joint appointment may apply as either the WSU faculty, PNNL researcher, or both.

Q: Do I need to submit a pre-proposal eREX for the DGRP if the source of funding at WSU pre-ABD status is a grant or scholarship rather than department funds?

A: Yes, submitting the pre-proposal eREX is required in the DGRP Guidelines for newly admitted DGRP students regardless of the funding source used for years 1 and 2 (or pre-ABD status). Additional information can be found in the DGRP Pre-Proposal eREX Guidelines, or by contacting DGRP@wsu.edu.

WSU to PNNL Transition

Q: What do I need to do to start the transition process from WSU to PNNL?

A: A full eREX must be submitted to ORSO at least 60 days prior to the DGRP student’s PNNL funding start date – typically year 3 of their involvement in the program.
Departments are required to notify the DGRP (DGRP@wsu.edu) of the student’s transition timeline 90 days prior to the funding start date to ensure that both PNNL and WSU can process the student’s subcontract ahead of the funding start date.

Q: How does funding get set up for a student when they are transitioning to PNNL?

 A: The full eREX process sets up a DGRP student’s subcontract for the period that they are to be funded by PNNL post-ABD status. A full eREX must be submitted to ORSO at least 60 days prior to the DGRP student’s PNNL funding start date – typically year 3 of their involvement in the program. Please see the DGRP Full eREX Guidelines for more information.

Q: How do I get a mandatory fee waiver from the WSU Office of Student accounts for my time spent on the PNNL campus?

A: If a student is receiving fees related to the WSU campus but not at the WSU campus to receive the benefit of those fees (i.e. the University Recreation Center in Pullman), then the student’s home academic department needs to send a request to the WSU Office of Student Accounts to have the fees removed from his/her student account. These location fees are generally the mandatory fees found on the tuition rate schedule.

Q: Why are DGRP student start dates at PNNL on January 1, May 16, or August 16?

A: Since the WSU student is still on a WSU assistantship even though funding is coming from PNNL during the 24-month PNNL funding period, these start dates follow normal WSU semester appointments (January 1, May 16, or August 16). Note that the student is expected to begin PNNL-related work on the date that PNNL funding begins, regardless of whether the student is physically on location at PNNL.