Robert W. Lichtwardt Student Research Award

Robert W. Lichtwardt Student Research Award

Application deadline: February 1st before midnight, Pacific Time 

The Robert W. Lichtwardt Award is

2023 Robert W. Lichtwardt Student Research Awardee, Aimee Blondelle

open to student members of the Mycological Society of America for research on fungi and organisms traditionally studied by mycologists that are symbiotic with arthropods (ranging from parasitic to mutualistic). Specific methods and research topics are unrestricted in the spirit of advancing our current understanding of the biology of the organism and the system of interest. This awards honors Dr. Lichtwardt (see biography below).

The Robert W. Lichtwardt Student Research Award is administered by the Research Awards Committee

To view all awards offered by the Mycological Society of America, see the MSA Awards Chart.

Award Requirements

  1. This award is offered annually to a promising student of mycology.
  2. Students must be current members of MSA or must have applied for membership at the time of the award application. Preference will be given to M.S. or undergraduate degree seeking students. Ph.D. candidates will be considered secondarily.
  3. The Robert W. Lichtwardt fellowship may fund smaller, independent and/or exploratory projects or be used as a supplement to a larger grant. However, the recipient is encouraged to use funds any way (e.g., personal expenses) that best furthers the applicant’s studies and mycological career.
  4. Preference will also be given to students enrolled in an academic institution in North America.
  5. Applicants who are not chosen for the award in the year in which they apply can reapply; previous award winners may reapply as well, but preference will be given to equally deserving proposals from those that have not received it before.

Documents Required

  1. Application Form
  2. A statement of your ability to conduct the research, long term interests and clarification of your current academic standing, advisor or academic mentor, academic institution and research facilities or location of the study under Additional Information for the Award Committee.
  3. A curriculum vitae that includes at least (maximum 3 pages):
    • Name, contact address, email address, and phone number
    • Education and professional history (include a paragraph describing your training for the proposed research)
    • Previous awards and honors
    • Publications and other significant professional output
    • Service
  4. A detailed plan of study. The text of this plan of study must be no longer than 5 pages; including tables, figures, and references. Applications that include proposals exceeding the 5-page limit will not be considered. The text of this proposal should be single-spaced and printed in a regular sized font (10 cpi or 12 point) with one-inch margins on all sides. Section headings and double spacing between paragraphs may be used to make your proposal easier to read. The proposal must include:
    • Abstract (200-250 words)
    • Introduction: explains what you want to do and why it is interesting or important
    • Objectives
    • Methods: demonstrates that the project is feasible and describes how the study will be conducted. 
    • Significance and preliminary results, if available (be concise in your explanation)
    • Budget and budget justification. Include in this section a timeline to complete the proposal (generally one year) and a plan for dissemination of results. 
    • References
  5. School transcripts showing courses taken and grades received for all institutions where they received credit toward their current degree to be conferred. A PDF of an official transcript is acceptable.
  6. One letter of recommendation from your supervisor. We recommend that your supervisor’s letter also addresses your progress and target date of completion both for the degree and project (i.e., including confirmation of your enrollment in good standing and access to research or facilities required to conduct the research proposed). 

To Apply

Complete the application, being sure to include all items listed above. The application file should be organized in the same order as described in “Documents Required” and should not exceed more than 8 MB. The file name should contain: the last name of the applicant -“award name” Application (e.g. Smith- Lichtwardt Application).

Confidential letters of reference should be sent separately to: The letter of reference file name should be as follows: the last name of applicant_”award name”_referee_letter (e.g. Smith_Lichtwardt_Jackson_Letter). The application will be considered to have arrived once all electronic files have been received by the deadline. All documents must be in English to be considered.

Note: Applicants can expect a notification from the Awards Committee regarding the outcome of their application within approximately 45 days of the application deadline, in time to register for the annual MSA meeting. We expect all award winners to make every effort to attend the annual meeting and encourage all applicants to concurrently apply for an MSA Travel Award in support of that. Presence at the MSA meeting to accept the award gives awardees the opportunity to meet the mycological community, and it gives MSA members an opportunity to meet the awardees.

Award Terms

Indirect cost is not allowed on MSA awards.

  1. All awardees must provide a short biography (100-200 words) and a photo (if possible) within two weeks of notification from the Awards Coordinator, using the Awardee Document Submission Form. These will be requested at the appropriate time. Photos and biographies will be published in Inoculum.
  2. The award check must be deposited or cashed within 5 months.
  3. Each award recipient is required to complete a W-9 form prior to receiving their award funds. Awardees will be contacted by the management company regarding this process. (This only applies if you have a U.S. Social Security Number).
  4. Keep copies of your W-9 and all receipts and expenses that are part of this award. These documents are important and may be necessary for tax purposes.
  5. Each awardee will contribute a short article about their research to MSA within a year of receiving the award. Articles should be written for a general audience and may be published in Inoculum or other MSA venues (e.g. MSA website). This will be a great opportunity to promote your research to the MSA community. Articles will be requested by the Awards Coordinator at the appropriate time.
  6. A detailed final report from the recipient is due to the Awards Coordinator within two years of receiving the award. A request will be sent to the awardee at the appropriate time.
  7. Please acknowledge MSA in any products that result from this support (e.g., poster presentations, oral presentations, and scientific articles).

Diversity Statement

The MSA encourages and welcomes nominations of all individuals regardless of race and ethnicity, country of origin, sex, gender identity, religion, age, education level, socioeconomic status, marital status, parental status, physical ability, neurological differences, political affiliation, and sexual orientation. See the full MSA Diversity Statement 

See a list of past Robert W. Lichtwardt awardees

Dr. Robert W. Lichtwardt

Dr. Lichtwardt was born as a U.S. citizen in Brazil in 1924; his Portuguese would come forth in dialog to surprise many for decades thereafter. He attended Oberlin College as an undergraduate, with M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Illinois in 1951 and 1954. In 1957 he took an academic position at The University of Kansas where he remained for his academic career. He chaired the Dept. of Botany in the early 1970’s and 1980’s before attaining Professor Emeritus in 1995 and after which time he would train two more of his 16 Ph.D. students. An Honorary Life Member of the MSA beginning in 1973, he served as President of the society 1971-72 and was Editor-in-Chief of Mycologia from 1965-70. He received the MSA’s Weston Award for Teaching Excellence in 1982 and Distinguished Mycologist Award in 1991. A mycologist at heart, his interests include Fungi that parasitize or are symbiotically associated with insects. In 1986, he published the monograph on Trichomycetes, gut-dwelling endobionts of various arthropods, a volume which is now maintained online. Many of his more than 150 published papers are in trichomycetology. He trained and mentored students and colleagues in his own laboratory and at other locations around the world on this and other topics. His approach and manner, genuine and sincere, have inspired many “students of Mycology” and left them with the desire to want to do the same. This Award in his name is established, with a sense of appreciation and gratitude, both to honor this legacy of achievement and to foster continued achievements for generations to come.