The National Academies

ACRP 11-04 [Active]

Graduate Research Award Program on Public-Sector Aviation Issues

  Project Data
Funds: $100,000
$10,000 stipend to each of 10 selected students
Staff Responsibility: Lawrence D. Goldstein

A Program that Awards Research Stipends to Graduate Students

Sponsored by

Federal Aviation Administration

U.S. Department of Transportation

Administered by

Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP)

Transportation Research Board of The National Academies



To encourage applied research on airport and related aviation system issues and to foster the next generation of aviation community leaders.  The program is intended to stimulate thought, discussion, and research by those who may become the future airport managers, operators, designers, and policy makers in aviation.  The focus of this research program is on applied research to help the public sector continue to improve the quality, reliability, safety, and security of the U.S. civil aviation system well into the foreseeable future.

Research Topics

The applicant selects the topic to be researched with supervision by a faculty member at his or her institution.  Appropriate topics may be drawn from a wide range of subjects of interest to the U.S. public sector aviation community.  A listing of possible subject areas is included as part of this announcement.  Other possibilities are topics included in the TRB Research Needs Database, suggestions proposed by TRB Standing Committees, and additional research needs identified in previously completed ACRP projects.  The TRB Database, information about TRB Standing Committees, and a listing of previously completed ACRP projects are available on the TRB web site:


Applicants are not restricted to these suggested topics as long as their proposals address the stated purpose of the Graduate Research Award Program. 

Major research topic areas of interest include but are not limited to the following:

  • Airport capacity and long-term planning
  • Airport finance and development
  • Airport safety
  • Airport and systemwide planning
  • Alternative revenue sources for different types of airports
  • Cargo capacity and integration into airport operations and intermodal planning
  • Economic impacts of airport expansion
  • Environmental issues, including sustainability of the aviation system
  • Human resources, including all participants in the aviation system
  • Multi-modal transportation linkages
  • Security and operations
  • Technology and its effect on airport operations

View a detailed list of potential research topics. 

In addition, a recent report released by the Airport Cooperative Research Program, “Research Results Digest 5: Current and Emerging Issues Facing the Airport Industry,” outlines areas of interest that might suggest possible topics for research papers. 



The Graduate Research Award Program on Public-Sector Aviation Issues will award up to 10 highly qualified applicants, selected by an ACRP panel of experts, a stipend of $10,000 each for successful completion of a research paper on a subject chosen by the candidate within the framework of the program’s purpose.  Payments will be divided into four installments during the research, with the final payment contingent on completion and acceptance of the paper by the panel.

Status:  The first seven years of papers have been published in the Transportation Research Record, including all students through academic year 2014-2015.  Papers from the 2015-2016 academic year are about to be published.  Students in the current academic year, 2016-2017 are now in the midst of preparing papers and working with mentors to refine research efforts.  Details on the program as well as links to application materials are available on the TRB web site:


A summary of papers completed has been published in three separate research digests: Research Results Digest no. 14, updated in Research Results Digest no. 19 and Research Results Digest no. 25.

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