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The GIRA program aims to encourage and facilitate greater involvement of physics graduate students in significant instrumentation development, to boost recognition of instrumentation work as a vital part of PhD training, to foster growth of future HEP instrumentation experts in the US, and to strengthen university-lab ties on instrumentation development. GIRA has been established by the Coordination Panel for Advanced Detectors (CPAD), a standing committee of The Division of Particles and Fields of the American Physical Society.

2018 GIRA Results

The winner of the 2018 Graduate Instrumentation Research Award is:

• Vetri Velan (UC Berkeley) for “Measurement of Light and Heat Signal Yields in Superfluid 4He With Calorimetric Readout”.

Additionally, the following proposals (alphabetical by last name) are given honorable mentions:

• Carolyn Gee (UC Santa Cruz) for “Applications of Low Gain Avalanche Detectors: 4-Dimensional Tracking with Ultra-Fast Silicon Detectors”,
• Peter Madigan (UC Berkeley) for  “Comprehensive characterization and optimization of the LArPix sensor”,
• Dylan Temples (Northwestern U.) for  “Improving low-mass reach of xenon TPC dark matter searches by doping with light noble elements”,
• Qing Xia (Yale U.): “Developing high-bandwidth digital data transmission for next-generation 0υββ detections”.

Award and Funding

Each year, one proposal will be recommended for funding to the DOE Office of High Energy Physics. Additional proposals may receive honorable mentions. The award will provide a stipend of $36,000 per year. The award is renewable for a maximum of 3 consecutive years total. Addition of a tuition supplement will be determined by OHEP on a case-by-case basis, with a cap of $50,000 on the total including stipend.
The proposal must be for a graduate student to conduct research on high energy physics instrumentation, to be carried out mainly in the US at a university or at one of the following national labs: ANL, BNL, FNAL, LANL, LBNL, LLNL, ORNL, PNNL or SLAC. The applicant must name a faculty or staff mentor. Even if the work is not to be carried out at one of the labs, the project must include a staff partner from one of these labs. This may or may not be the same person as the mentor.

Eligibility and Terms

All students enrolled in accredited US Physics PhD programs are eligible to submit a proposal (only one proposal per applicant is allowed). Students must be already enrolled in order to apply. It is expected that most students applying will be in their 2nd or 3rd year, but there is no hard requirement beyond being enrolled. The award start date can be chosen within 6 months of the award date. The student may not take classes for credit during the performance period, as the award is for full time research. Auditing and professional training courses are allowed, as this may be necessary for instrumentation work. There is no obligation to seek renewal; some projects and student research plans may be satisfied with just one year of instrumentation work, while others may call for 2 or more. The maximum award duration is capped at 3 years, however.


Application opens    Dec 15, 2017
Application deadline Feb 15, 2018 (11:59PM Eastern Time)
Results posted on this web site Apr 30, 2018
Earliest possible project start Jun 4, 2018


How to Apply

Complete application packages including mentor and lab partner letters must be submitted by the student before the above deadline at:

Late applications will not be accepted. Each application must contain:
• Cover letter with at least two suggested references (no need to request reference letters, just provide names and emails)
• Research proposal written by the applicant (5 page limit excluding references)
• Applicant CV
• Academic transcript or proof of enrollment in a physics PhD program
• Supporting letter written by mentor, indicating needed resources and expected availability (5 page limit).
• Supporting letter from lab partner, if other than mentor (3 page limit).

Deliverables and Renewal

The expected measure of performance is one instrumentation publication of per year of award in a refereed journal or proceeding. Renewal (if sought) requires no additional review as long as performance is met. Renewal instructions will be provided with award.  For renewal to a second year the student may submit a progress report and publication plan in lieu of a publication. For renewal to a third year a published paper must be submitted.

Acceptable Publications

A publication must contain a significant fraction of the student’s original work in order to be acceptable. Review papers are not acceptable. Overviews of construction projects are not acceptable unless the student has a management responsibility in the project. Papers with more than 10 authors must be accompanied by a letter from the mentor certifying that the student played a critical role.

Questions & Contact

See FAQ first. Send questions to gira (at) fnal (dot) gov