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Opportunities for Graduate Student Research Assistantships (RAs) - CAER supports the university's core mission of instruction. Our professional staff hold academic appointments in the colleges and departments; contribute to curriculum and teaching; serve on graduate advising committees; and in mentoring students at the pre-college, undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate levels (on average 75 students have been supported per year since the Center's founding in 1977). In addition, UK faculty serves as CAER faculty associates. A product of these strong relationships is CAER engagement of graduate students from a broad range of UK departments and disciplines. Over a thirty-year period, research staff members have served on 78 thesis and dissertation advising committees.

What are Research Assistantships (RA's)?   An assistantship is an appointment in which graduate students pursuing an advanced degree at UK engage in specified research duties. It is CAER's expectation that the students' studies and research in support of his/her thesis or dissertation will in some way relate to the fields of fuel chemistry, industrial and engineering chemistry, petroleum chemistry, catalysis, geology and geochemistry, analytical chemistry, physical chemistry, environmental chemistry, materials science and various engineering disciplines.

CAER Offers the Research Assistants:

  • Experienced-based, hands-on training under the supervision of a senior scientific mentor.
  • Exposure to the real-world application of research.
  • An opportunity to work in a state-of-the-art laboratory and conduct independent study.
  • An opportunity for the student to apply his/her theoretical background by observing and practising the techniques and methodologies used in research.
  • An opportunity to associate with leading scientists and engineers in the field that are employed in academic, industrial and government settings.
  • Knowledge about the principles and theory of the field of work, and the methods, materials and techniques of fundamental, applied and developmental research.
  • Knowledge about the value of research, experimentation and scientific discovery.
  • Knowledge of the form and style of research writing and presentation, and the development of professional skills for manuscript writing, grant proposals, presentations, networking, and interviewing.

Workload and Compensation for Research Assistantship: A full-time research assistantship at UK is considered 0.50 FTE (full time equivalency) in the employment system. Normally for RA's, this means work or service for the department for not more than an average of 20 hours per week. The students' remaining time is expected to be consumed by classroom studies and personal research. To preserve the academic focus of graduate students who are on full-time assistantships and have their tuition paid by the University, The Graduate School does not allow for additional salary or employment beyond 20 hours per week on average in any combination of assignments. Assistantships carry a bi-weekly stipend. Depending on the nature of their assignment and on recommendation of CAER, RA's may be eligible for Tuition Scholarships provided by CAER through The Graduate School.

Satisfactory Progress and Performance: RA's must maintain satisfactory academic records and demonstrate progress toward their degrees; their assistantships will not be renewed if their academic progress is unsatisfactory. Satisfactory progress includes maintaining a minimum 3.0 GPA, and remaining in good standing with their academic department.

Admission and Application Requirements: Awards are sometimes offered before an applicant is officially admitted to the University of Kentucky and The Graduate School, but all awards offered are contingent upon full admission. Most assistantships are awarded for the academic year, which begins in August. Students interested in a CAER assistantship are strongly urged to contact the department no later than January 15 for the next academic year. Ethnically diverse students, women and other groups under-represented in the physical and applied sciences and engineering are strongly encouraged to apply.

If interested in a University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (UK CAER) Research Assistantship - contact one of the following:

Biofuels and
  Environmental Catalysis  
Carbon Materials  Clean Fuels and Chemicals  
Mark Crocker
Associate Director
Matt Weisenberger
Associate Director
Burt Davis
Associate Director
Power Sources
and Coal
Power Generation
Steve Lipka
Associate Director
Tom Robl
Associate Director
Kunlei Liu
Associate Director

Find out more about UK graduate Research Assistantships.