The Multidisciplinary Research on COVID-19 and its Impacts (MRCI) Graduate Student Minigrant program supports research and creative projects by individual graduate students or teams of UCSB graduate students during the 2020 Summer Session that provide insight into COVID-19 and its impacts. The grant program encourages applications from a wide variety of disciplines to explore the many dimensions of impact.

For more information on MRCI, contact Holly Carpenter, Crossroads and MRCI Coordinator. 

The MRCI Experience

This August 2020,  MRCI Program Lead Dr. Mary Hegarty, Program Coordinator Dr. Holly Carpenter, and graduate student participants Suyi Leong and Camille Endacott shared their summer research experiences on CSUCI Radio.

The purpose of the grant program is not only to fund valuable research and creative projects but also to create a multi-disciplinary community that allows graduate students to learn from each other about different research approaches and about communicating research to a variety of audiences. 

To foster community, the MRCI program held a series of webinars as part of the proposal and research funding process. Awardees also participated in discussions and shared their final research findings with the community.

This summer 2020, the Graduate Division awarded 55 students special summer funding for pandemic-related research and creative projects through MRCI. 

Dr. Mary Hegarty, MRCI

Dr. Mary Hegarty
Graduate Associate Dean
MRCI Program Lead


“Students have already received important guidance on proposal writing and will participate in collaborative groups throughout the summer to explore the perspectives of different disciplines on the current pandemic. For some students, MRCI will lead to a new publication; for others, their MRCI project will be included as a chapter in their dissertation or will contribute pilot data for a grant proposal to a federal agency. In general, the projects speak to the resilience of our students in adapting their research and creative activities to provide new insights into the challenges of COVID-19.”

Forward arrow  Read more about the MRCI Program 2020 awardees in The UCSB Current.

About the MRCI Collaborative

MRCI Collaborative is a forum to support the development and exchange of research ideas among MRCI mini-grant recipients. Activities will include:

• Meeting twice in the summer to discuss progress, challenges and research communication
• Asynchronous communication based on group needs
• Encouragement of small group interaction based on prominent themes (e.g., recovery, response, trauma, community, political upheaval, innovation, documentation, human experience and behavior, social justice, public policy, environmental impact, socio-economic changes, human health, medicine, technology, data science, education, etc.)
• Workshops on research communication (in oral and written formats) )
• Small-group support for oral or written presentation of research

Student Eligibility Criteria

  • Currently enrolled in doctoral, MFA, or MESM programs
  • Registered full-time in Spring 2020
  • In good academic standing
  • Within time-to-degree and time-to-advancement, after the application of the exceptional one-year extension granted by the Graduate Council in Spring 2020
  • Individual or collaborative grant proposals accepted


Each awardee received a $2000 stipend, paid at end of June. The stipend was intended to be supplemental to other summer funding. In addition, the award may have included funding for direct project research costs (up to $500). However, given budgetary uncertainties, these additional direct research cost funds were not guaranteed.

For questions about the program, please send your queries to