Eastern Michigan University

Undergraduate Research Stimulus Program (URSP)

Purpose of the Award

URSP is intended to facilitate research partnerships between undergraduate students and Eastern Michigan University faculty. The philosophy of the URSP program is guided by the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR). CUR defines undergraduate research as:

“An inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline.”

This definition of research clearly includes all scholarly and creative activity appropriate to any discipline of a University. Thus, the goals of URSP are to enrich the undergraduate academic experience by:

  • promoting scholarly/creative opportunities for undergraduates;
  • facilitating scholarly/creative collaborations between students and faculty;
  • enhancing the student’s knowledge of disciplinary skills;
  • ensuring mutual benefit to both the student and the faculty member.

Student awardees will receive a $2,000 fellowship in support of their research efforts. This award will be in the form of a credit to the student’s university account. Half of the award will be credited at the beginning of the award period; the remainder of the award will be credited at the midpoint of the award period.  However, if progress on the project is deemed unsatisfactory by the faculty mentor, the second half of the award may be withheld.  Awardees should work with EMU’s Office of Financial Aid to determine the potential impact of this award on any other forms of financial support. The collaborating faculty member may receive $500 to be used for lab/studio supplies or equipment, professional travel, or other professional expenses. If awarded, this funding will be placed in the faculty mentor’s departmental or school IDC account. If the faculty mentor wishes to receive this additonal funding, a brief budget description must be provided. Otherwise no additional funds will be awarded.


Submission Date

Proposals should be submitted to the Graduate School (attention of Associate Provost and Associate Vice President of Graduate Studies and Research), 202 Boone Hall by October 31, 2013 for winter awards and February 17, 2014 for summer (May-August) awards.  Approximately 8 awards will be made for winter; 16 will be made for summer.


Faculty/Student Collaborative Requirements

The URSP awards are intended to encourage faculty-student collaboration; thus, it is expected that the URSP proposal will be co-written by the faculty and student applicant.  A very important criterion in the evaluation process is the student’s fundamental understanding of the research and questions to be addressed.  Thus, the student must write the section of the proposal entitled “Proposed Research.”  The mentor should write the sections related to “Expectations” and “Learning Outcomes,” but should thoroughly discuss these topics with the student prior to preparation of the proposal.


Proposal Elements and Guidelines

Proposals that do not strictly adhere to the following guidelines will not be reviewed. 

  • Complete and submit the application form.
  • Submit a proposal consisting of no more than 3 single spaced pages (excluding references, budget and faculty CV) with 1 inch margins and 12 pt font. The proposal should be organized into four sequential sections:
  1. Proposed Research (to be written by the student): brief description of proposed research/creative activity and goals including the originality of the proposed work.  The suggested length of this section is 1.5 pages.  Proposal reviewers are NOT experts in the content area, so this section should be written for a general audience;
  2. Expectations for student and faculty mentor (to be written by faculty mentor in consultation with the student): specific expectations of student (e.g., expected hours per week in lab, studio, library, expected skills to be mastered, expectations for participation in research meetings, preparation of materials for dissemination, etc.), expectations for faculty mentor;
  3. Learning Outcomes (to be written by faculty mentor in consultation with the student):

    description of learning outcomes for the student, and the approach for monitoring progress toward achievement of those outcomes (e.g., structured research meetings with faculty, participation in a research group, collaboration between schools/departments/other faculty, plans for dissemination of results, etc.);

  4. Project Timeline: the major milestones of the project should be identified with estimated completion dates; the timeline should include completion of any additional university requirements needed to initiate the research, e.g., human subjects approval.

The following criteria outlined by the CUR should be addressed among these sections of the proposal, and will be used in the evaluation of the application:

  • Mentorship. The work should be collaborative, with significant interaction between faculty and students. The faculty member should set clear goals, with a focus on the student learning process and intellectual engagement by the student;
  • Originality.  The work should be entirely or partially novel, and should involve a significant contribution by the student;
  • Acceptability. The work should employ techniques and methodologies that are both appropriate and recognized in the discipline;
  • Dissemination. The work should result in the creation of a final, tangible product. Both the process and the product should be peer-reviewed and/or critiqued, juried, judged, etc.

See the scoring rubric for more details on how each criterion will be evaluated.


Other Proposals Requirements

  1. No more than one proposal per student or faculty mentor will be accepted.
  2. Student declared major –students must have a declared major and faculty mentor identified for the URSP application, and must not have graduated before the end of the award period.
  3. Mentor CV – faculty mentors must attach no more than a three-page CV to the URSP application; the CV should be limited to those activities that clearly demonstrate the faculty member’s expertise in the project being proposed. In addition, the CV should highlight those activities that show the faculty mentor’s dedication to collaborative projects with undergraduates.
  4. Non-expendable research materials – materials and equipment acquired with funds provided under this program become the property of EMU.
  5. Student Participation Requirements – in accepting funding for a proposal, the student agrees to: submit a final report (2 pages maximum) outlining their effort, achievements, and skill acquisition from the research collaboration to the Graduate School (attention of Associate Provost & AVP for Graduate Studies and Research). The deadline for receipt of these reports is within one month after the end of the award, and should be reviewed and signed by the faculty mentor. Faculty and students with overdue reports are ineligible for further URSP awards.
    • We are requesting that, in addition to the brief technical report described above, the student and faculty mentor provide us with a "nugget" describing the award experience.  A nugget is a one-page PowerPoint slide that should briefly outline, in layperson's terms, the outcomes of the project as well as what receiving the award meant to the student professionally and personally.  We'd also like the awardee to paste in a picture or two and/or a graphic that illustrates his/her project.  (See this linked nugget from Biology as an example.)  We are requesting these so that we can do a better job of illustrating the exciting work our undergraduates do in collaboration with EMU faculty to the campus and the community.  Please submit your nugget in electronic format to the Graduate School. 

  6. Adherence to proposal guidelines – because of the intense competition for a limited number of awards (e.g.,65 applications were received for spring/summer and winter 2011), only those proposals that absolutely adhere to the guidelines regarding proposal sections, page length, student authorship and mentor CVs will be considered.
  7. Mentor Budget – mentors can be awarded up to $500 in support of the proposed project.  To receive this additional funding, a brief budget must accompany the proposal (no more than half a page in length).


Additional Information

  • Awards will be credited to student accounts in two installments:  one at the beginning of the award period and one at the midpoint of the award period.  Unsatisfactory progress on a project may result in withholding of the second award installment.
  • student awardees should work with EMU’s Office of Financial Aid to determine the potential impact of this award on any other forms of financial support.
  • the Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity Advisory Committee and ORD will assist with evaluation and tracking of proposals and awards.
  • collaborative proposals involving teams of students are encouraged and should be submitted as a single proposal.  In cases where these proposals are funded, a single award will be shared among the group.

Additional questions should be directed to the Associate Provost and Associate Vice President of Graduate Studies and Research (487-0042).


Video Workshop

For keys to a writing a competitive proposal as well as insights into how proposals are scored, visit ORD's video workshop.


Application Form ~ Guidelines ~ Scoring Rubric