Grunig PRIME Research Fellowship

The award supports and encourages graduate student interest in applied public relations research as a career opportunity.

The Institute for Public Relations awards the Grunig PRIME Fellowship on an annual basis, sponsored by PRIME Research. The Fellowship is named for James E. Grunig and Larissa A. Grunig, professors emeriti, University of Maryland.

Timeline for Entries

Applications are due by March 7, 2015.
Winner notification is March 31, 2015.

Award Content

  • The Fellow will work at PRIME Research’s Ann Arbor, MI, offices for six weeks in the summer following the end of the academic year to learn more about public relations research including data collection, data analysis, interpretation of research results and consultation.
  • The Fellow will be responsible for carrying out work as assigned by his or her supervisor along with other tasks to be determined in advance of the Fellowship.
  • In exchange for the above, the Fellow will be awarded a $5,000 stipend along with free walk-to-work lodging.
  • At the end of this experience, the Fellow will produce a research paper intended for practitioners. IPR recommends the following topics:
    • What drives choice and changes behavior?
    • Organizational communication.
    • A broader context for social networking and what it means.
    • Restoring reputation in an environment of extremely low trust.
    • Models to predict the probability of public relationship outcomes.
  • The Fellow will receive a $2,500 stipend for the research paper after it has been accepted for publication by IPR.
  • The Fellow will be recognized at IPR’s Annual Distinguished Lecture & Awards Dinner on November 17, 2015.

Who May Apply

  • Graduate students in public relations, communications or business who are studying in the United States.
  • Applicants must have completed at least one year of study toward a graduate degree, and at least one methodology course in research methods (e.g., survey, content analysis, experimental design, etc.).
  • Additional requirements include: basic knowledge of statistics, computer and internet proficiency, fluency in English (written and spoken), and appropriate legal status to work in the US in such a Fellowship position.

Required Application Materials

  • Curriculum vitae
  • Research Prospectus that outlines the type of research project you contemplate designing and carrying out, should you be awarded the grant.
  • Personal statement explaining why the applicant is qualified for the Fellowship
  • A copy of official transcript
  • Recommendation letter sent directly from the applicant’s faculty advisor

Address for Submissions: Email to Jenn Moyer

Selection Process

  • Applications will be reviewed by an Advisory Council of distinguished public relations researchers and educators including:
    • Larissa A. Grunig
    • James E. Grunig
    • Patty Lin (PRIME Research)
    • Mark Weiner (PRIME Research)
    • Sarab Kochhar (Institute for Public Relations)
  • Telephone interviews will be conducted with the finalists
  • After the Advisory Council has made its recommendations, the final selection will be made by PRIME Research

Past Winners

[2015] Yang Cheng, University of Missouri-Columbia


Yang Cheng is a full-funded PhD student at the School of Journalism, University of Missouri-Columbia, USA. Her research interests include new media effects, public relations effectiveness and value, crisis communication and management, conflict resolution, and cross-cultural communication. Some of her publications have appeared in the New media & Society, International Journal of Communication, Encyclopedia of Public Relations, Social Media and Crisis Communication, The Handbook of International Crisis Communication Research, and the Journal of Radio & Television Studies, among others. She has also presented research papers at international conferences (e.g. ICA, NCA, AEJMC, IPRRC, and IAMCR), and received the Grunig PRIME Research Fellowship in 2015, Best Student Paper from the International Communication Association (ICA) in both 2013 and 2014; Top Student Paper Award from the ICA in 2014; Peter Debreceny Corporate Award in the 18th International Public Relations Research Conference in 2015.


[2014] Anna Kochigina, University of Oklahoma

Anna Kochigina [Grunig PRIME Winner]Anna Kochigina, a master’s student at the University of Oklahoma, will work at PRIME Research’s Ann Arbor, MI, office for six weeks this summer. Receiving a $5,000 stipend and free walk-to-work lodging, she will learn more about public relations research, including data collection, data analysis, interpretation of research results, and consultation.

Looking forward to enriching her knowledge and demonstrating what she has already learned, Kochigina said she is grateful for the selection committee’s belief in her and the education she received from her university’s faculty.

[2013] Kelly Robinson, Virginia Tech

DKelly Robinsonownload PDF: Information Subsidies and Social Media: The Effect of News Value Presence on Social Media Conversation

As social media becomes increasingly ubiquitous, organizations are looking for the best way to use these new communication tools. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter present numerous opportunities to organizations for sharing information, engaging with the public, and monitoring discussion. This article examines the relationship between news values, press releases, and social media. Specifically, the researcher looks at six months of press releases from a Fortune 500 company and relevant posts from the public on Twitter to ascertain whether the number of news values and presence of particular news values in a press release affect the volume and sentiment of conversation on Twitter. The researcher found that certain news values do predict greater conversation and better sentiment on social media, and that a higher number of news values present in a release also predicts a higher volume of conversation on Twitter.

[2012] Nicole Lee, San Diego State University

The Relationship between CEO Media Coverage and Overall Organization Media Coverage (PDF)

Nicole Lee PhotoThis study examines the relationship between the tone and visibility of media coverage about a CEO and an organization’s overall media tone and visibility. This paper also examines how the topic of media coverage (strategy/vision, product, CSR, positioning, financial performance) impacts the relationship between CEO media tone and organization media tone. A content analysis was conducted of media coverage for 36 Fortune 100 companies and their CEOs within 53 opinion-leading U.S. media outlets between January 2010 and June 2012.

The findings show a positive relationship between CEO visibility and organization visibility, as well as CEO media tone and organization media tone. A negative relationship was found between CEO media tone and organization media visibility, as well as CEO visibility and organization media tone. The tone of media coverage related to organization strategy, CSR and positioning had the strongest relationship with CEO media tone. The results from this study can inform practitioners what organization stories benefit most from CEO involvement.

[2011] Shana Meganck, Virginia Commonwealth University

Shana 1GAINESVILLE, FL – March 28, 2011 – Shana Meganck, a second-year PhD student at Virginia Commonwealth University, is this year’s winner of the Grunig PRIME Research Fellowship. The fellowship − named for James E. Grunig, Ph.D., and Larissa A. Grunig, Ph.D. − is presented by the Institute for Public Relations (IPR) and sponsored by PRIME Research.

Meganck will be enter a six-week fellowship in the PRIME Research offices in Ann Arbor, Michigan during summer 2011. She will receive a $5,000 stipend and will submit a research paper to be published by IPR. Her research interests include the effects of advertising and public relations on society, public relations and new media technologies, and ethical issues in public relations and advertising.

“We are delighted to have Shana Meganck as the third recipient of the Grunig PRIME Research Fellowship,” said Mark Weiner, CEO for PRIME Research in North America.  “The Fellowship aims to foster interest in public relations research as a career path; Fellows take an active role in providing research-based consulting for PRIME’s global clients.”

“We congratulate both Shana Meganck and PRIME Research for what we believe will be a mutually beneficial relationship,” said Jim Grunig. “Selected from a strong field of applicants for the 2011 PRIME Research Fellowship, Ms. Meganck will glimpse life inside one of the world’s premier research operations.”

Lauri Grunig added: “Ms. Meganck brings an academic understanding of both qualitative and quantitative methods. Her graduate studies have prepared her well for the challenges of applied research. We expect the relationship between PRIME Research staff, its clients and Ms. Meganck to endure long past their six weeks together in Ann Arbor.”


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