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About the award

The James J. Gallagher Dissertation Award honors the late Jim Gallagher, who was the director of the UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute from 1970 to 1987. Dr. Gallagher devoted his lengthy career to advancing policy and practice in support of children and families. His work focused on children at both ends of the developmental spectrum — those with disabilities or risk conditions and those with gifts and talents. The annual award provides support for dissertation research focused on issues related to child development and family support. Priority is given to research that is relevant to child and family policy for young children, children with disabilities, or children with gifts and talents. The amount of the award for 2021 is $4,500.

In granting the award, the review committee will consider the importance of the topic and its relevance to child and family policy, the extent to which the research will contribute to the scientific knowledge base in the field, the extend to which the findings will result in information that can be used in designing or improving programs for children and their families, the originality of the proposal, and the quality of the student’s academic work. The award recipient will be announced in early summer.



The recipient of the Gallagher Dissertation Award must be a graduate student currently enrolled at UNC-CH who has successfully defending his or her dissertation proposal and has an approved plan of research or will have an approved plan by August 2021. The research may already be underway or just beginning. The funds may be used to support research expenses such as data collection, mileage, copying, participant payments, or salary support for the dissertation student or data collectors. The award should not supplant other funds that are already committed to the student’s research and the award cannot fund tuition.


To apply

Proposals are due on April 23, 2021 and are limited to five pages. The proposal should include a description of the research questions and procedures, the policy relevance of the work, an explanation of how the award funds would be used, and contact information for the student. The proposal also should include a letter from the faculty advisor summarizing the student’s academic work to date (not to count in the 5-page limit). If the proposed work is not yet approved by the student’s committee, the advisor’s letter should indicate the date by which approval is expected. Proposals, including letters of reference, should be submitted either electronically or as hard copy. Electronic submissions should be sent to Marie Huff at Hard copies should be sent to Marie Huff at Campus Box 8180, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. Please contact Stephanie Ridley at

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