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Undergraduate Research and Creative Opportunity (URCO) awards provide a one time, $1,000 scholarship, to support original research or creative work by USU undergraduates with the guidance of a faculty member. Proposals may also include requests for additional funds to cover the costs of equipment, supplies, and project-related travel.

How are proposals evaluated?

Projects will be evaluated by one faculty member and one graduate student. Excellent proposals will be concise, clear, descriptive, persuasive, and easy to follow. There are two criteria for award: project quality (75% weight) and student qualification (25% weight). Highly qualified students will be in a position–the result of training, experience, and/or motivation–to execute a project. An excellent proposal describes and justifies a project.

What needs to be included in a  proposal?

You need to have a composed grant proposal (written by yourself), a faculty mentor that is willing to oversee your project, and matching funds from your department to sponsor your project. The full set of proposal documents includes:

A proposal narrative describes the project and provides a rationale for conducting the work. Although a lengthy literature review is not required, previous scholarly work should be cited. The narrative should also include what the student hopes to accomplish.

  • In the sciences and in engineering, excellent proposals will: (a) orient reviewers to the greater body of relevant literature and convey why the project is important and significant, (b) present the goal, aims, or hypotheses for the project that are related to the previous literature, and (c) include a clear and descriptive methodology section that directly connects the project goals, aims, and hypotheses to the overall importance and significance of the project.
  • In the arts and humanities, excellent proposals contain a description of the idea or question that the student will be exploring, the planned approach or line of thought, and the significance of the proposed work and the contribution that it will make to the arts and/or humanities.

The narrative portion of the proposal may not exceed 2,500 words (5 single-spaced pages, with 12-point font and 1″ margins).

A detailed timeline for the project should include all critical project events:

  • IRB/IACUC review (if necessary);
  • A month-by-month proposal of work, a reporting date; and
  • A target for presentation of the work (e.g., Student Research Symposium, Research on Capitol Hill, NCUR, etc).
Each proposal should include an educational plan that describes 3 to 5 learning objectives for the experience: What does the student anticipate learning from the work? What does the student anticipate being able to do—or what does he or she anticipate knowing—at the end of the project? Note that students will address their progress toward these learning objectives in their final report.
All proposals must include a budget based on the budget proposal form, provided here.

All URCO awards include a $1,000 student scholarship, applied directly to a student’s account (students may not request to forgo the scholarship). The Office of Research and Graduate Studies covers $750 of the scholarship, and there is a required $250 match from another university source (generally, student’s home department, mentor, or mentor’s home department).

Optionally, an URCO proposal can also include a request for equipment, supplies, and research-related travel. These funds must be matched 1:1 from a university source. Up to $500 may be requested from RGS, making the total request for equipment, supplies, and research-related travel $1,000 (given a 1:1 match).

Matching funds must be secured prior to applying for URCO funds.

Matching dollars must be confirmed by a person with budget authority at the point of application.

You can download a sample letter, along with more detailed instructions, here.

Letters must be uploaded at the time of application; proposals without this letter will not be reviewed.

A letter of support from the applicant’s faculty mentor must accompany each URCO proposal. The letter should:

  • Outline the qualifications of the applicant to complete the project.
  • Outline the nature of the project as “an inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline.”
  • Provide a statement of support for the project, its feasibility, timeline, and potential educational outcomes.

Letters must be uploaded at the time of application; proposals without this letter will not be reviewed.

All proposals must include an up-to-date CV in order to be reviewed.

CV Resources

Each project is evaluated in a discipline group. You will be asked to recommend the best discipline group for i your project during the application process.

Arts & Humanities- Includes programs such as Music, Theater, Religious Studies, English, History, Liberal Arts, etc.
Life Sciences- Includes programs such as Biology, Plants, Watershed Sciences, Environment and Society, etc.
Physical Sciences & Math- Includes programs such as Geology, Math, Physics, Dietetics, etc.
Engineering- Includes programs such as Biological Engineering, Computer Science, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, etc.
Social Sciences & Education- Includes programs such as Political Science, Management, JComm,  Economics and Finance, Accountancy, Psychology, etc.

Apply for the Fall 2017 URCO

Applications that do not include these 7 completed and finalized documents will not be reviewed.

Applications for the Fall URCO open June 1 and close June 15, 2017. To ask a question, contact Athena at (435) 797-3762