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GRA positions

A graduate student’s principal objective is to earn a graduate degree. Appointment as a Graduate Research Associate (GRA) contributes to that objective by providing an apprenticeship experience along with financial support. This apprenticeship complements formal instruction and gives the student practical, personal experience that can be gained only by performing research activities.

GRA positions provide a number of benefits to the student:

  • Full payment of tuition and academic fees,
  • A monthly stipend typically provided on 12 month cycles,
  • 85% payment of OSU Student Health Insurance premiums for the student,
  • Payment of computer technology fee as well as laboratory fees,
  • Payment of research-related expenses,
  • Travel costs for conference and research-related expenses may also be provided,
  • Total value of this package can be nearly $60,000 per year.
  • Further information about GRA appointments and benefits. Includes a basic description of benefits as well as a Benefit Overview Booklet for download.

[Students are responsible for 15% of health insurance premiums as well as student-related fees. This totals roughly $440 per term or $110 per month.]

In exchange for these benefits the student serves on a research project available in the program. As part of the GRA agreement, the student agrees to assist his/her advisor with research work. This commitment comes to, on average, approximately 20 hours per week, though this may vary from time to time. The research project Principal Investigator will serve as the student's academic and research advisor. More about finding an advisor, below.

Please note: Since research carried out for a government and/or industrial organization is usually focused on a topic of concern to the funding source, we cannot guarantee that a student's area of interest will always match the available GRA positions for a given term.

The GRA position is our primary form of financial aid [more about financial aid in the MSE-WE department].


Please contact Mark Cooper (email, 614-292-7280, 143 Fontana Lab) with any questions you might have.

Current GRA openings

A note regarding GRA openings: Our faculty submit research funding proposals throughout the year. A number of such proposals are currently under review for approval. As new projects are funded the details concerning these openings will be posted here. Please check back for updated information.

Fontana Corrosion Center--Director: Gerald Frankel

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-688-4128 | Office: 544 MacQuigg Labs

Gerald Frankel, Director, Fontana Corrosion Center (FCC) and Professor (Sc.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1985); corrosion, electrochemistry and embrittlement.

  • 1 PhD position (funding confirmed)--Please contact Dr. Frankel for details concerning this corrosion project.

Jianjun Guan

Contact: web and email | Phone: 614-292-9743 | Office: 491 Watts Hall

Associate Professor (PhD, Zhejiang University, 2000); biomaterials, tissue engineering

  • 1 PhD position (funding confirmed)--please contact Dr. Guan for details about this project.

John Lannutti

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-292-3926 | Office: 448 MacQuigg Labs

Professor (Ph.D., University of Washington, 1990); Biomaterials for cancer research. Bio-nanosensing for disease detection. Smart tissue engineering scaffolds.

  • 2-4 PhD positions (funding NOT YET confirmed)--please contact Dr. Lannutti for details about these projects.

    Development and testing of real-time oxygen sensors for aerospace applications.

    Testing the efficiency and sensitivity of up– and down-conversion of electromagnetic energy to wavelengths useful for chemical sensing.

    Fabrication and chemical testing of nanoscale, self reporting electrospun matrices via quantum dot/gold nanoparticle pairings

Heather Powell

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-247-8673 | Office: 243C Fontana Labs

Associate Professor (Ph.D., The Ohio State University, 2004); Biomaterials, tissue engineering, wound healing, biomechanics.

  • 1 PhD position (funding confirmed)--please contact Dr. Powell for details about this project.

Wolfgang Windl

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-247-6900 | Office: 490 Watts Hall

Professor (D.Sc., University of Regensburg, 1995); Computational Materials Science, Multiscale Modeling, Semiconductor Process Simulation

  • 1-2 PhD positions (funding confirmed) in the area of Computational modeling of defects in functional materials, using first-principles techniques--please contact Dr. Windl for details about this project.

J.-C. Zhao

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-292-9462 | Office: 286 Watts Hall

Professor (Ph.D., Lehigh University, 1995); 12 year experience at GE with 48 US patents, development of materials property microscopy tools, advanced alloys for biomedical implants, automobiles, steam turbines, gas turbines, and jet engines.  (I no longer do anything on hydrogen storage materials).

  • 3 PhD positions (funding confirmed)--please contact Dr. Zhao for details about these metals-related projects.

    (US citizenship required): High-throughput study of high temperature alloys: synthesis and study of composition-structure-property relationships.

    Thermoelectric materials that converts waste heat to electricity: Synthesis and property measurements of novel thermoelectric materials.

    NSF funded project exploring composition-structure-property relationship in metals with an emphasis on development of micron resolution materials property measurement tools.

Finding an advisor

For newly admitted students:

The MSE dept. does not assign new students to an advisor; instead, we ask that you meet with each of the faculty who have openings. The professor you work with will act as your academic and research advisor during your graduate studies at Ohio State.

Above, please find the list of available funded research positions. Please meet first with faculty who have openings in your area(s) of interest. If, after meeting with these professors, you do not have an advisor, please meet with the remaining faculty on the list who have openings and come to an agreement to work with one of these faculty. Important: You are required to find an advisor from the funded openings available in the department. This should occur during your first term of enrollment.

You are strongly encouraged to contact any faculty member above who shares your field of interest. Contacting the faculty prior to your arrival on campus can help speed your placement on a research project.

Every effort is made to match you with a project in your field of interest. However, we have only a few positions, each of which has a narrow research focus. Therefore, you may find that the area of research you will be working in is not an exact match with your interests.

When you have found an advisor, inform the department Human Resources Officer in 176 Watts Hall and Mark Cooper in 143 Fontana Lab.