At the nucleus of program management is the uncomplicated idea of supporting an accomplishment, great achievement or performance which incorporates an incentive serving public purpose. Yet surrounding this central concept is a considerable variation of program options - awards, grants or fellowships – to name just a few. In order to distinguish one from the other, let us explore these terms within the scholarly ecosystem milieu in more detail.
An award is a type of support given to a recipient as a token of recognition of excellence in a certain field. In this way, it is typically accompanied by a title of honor. It can be a certificate, statue or a plaque, yet it frequently includes an object of direct value, such as financial support. However, the award grantor does not specifically state that the award money should be used for covering educational expenses.
Grant on the other hand, represents a type of financial support based on academic achievement or other criteria that may include financial need. Grant recipient is typically selected on the basis of specific criteria, depending on the field of study. With this in mind, it is obvious that the proceeds of the grant are used to cover the expenses of recipient’s education or research for an upcoming or current academic year or based on criteria set by the institution administering the grant.
Similarly to grants, fellowships are means by which financial support is awarded to the recipient, to assist the cost of their education. However, the major difference between grants and fellowships is the reason behind why a recipient is being given the money they are receiving. Fellowships are financial incentives used to encourage the aspirants in their study and to acknowledge them for their high scores. They are usually provided to scholars for their post-graduate study or research considering their former academic excellence based on skill and qualifications to work in a certain field. The fellowship entails a limited timeline in which work or study will be completed.
Finally, as the term fellowship is reserved mainly for experienced individuals to apply, it can also denote status granted within an academic institution. In that case it may or may not include financial support. With that status the person may be accepted as a fellow of a certain academic department and have access to its research facilities.
Regardless of the several contrasting viewpoints on the types of programs, the significant impact they have on the improvement of global knowledge is undeniable, and such is the need for an efficient program management.
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