Call for Undergraduate Research Proposals - 2023

Call for UM Undergraduate Research Grant Proposals 2023, 2024

UM ORSP Research Development invites proposals from faculty to facilitate undergraduate student participation in conducting and disseminating mentored research and creative scholarship. For this solicitation, the word research should be broadly interpreted as including not only laboratory and field research, but also other types of creative scholarship in any discipline. Requests will be considered in four tracks. Two of these tracks (4 and 5) are new in this call. A former track (1) called Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows (SURF) has been retired, in anticipation of a possible new program to be announced soon.


Track-2: Summer Undergraduate Research Group Grants (SURGG) 2023, 2024. Funds small faculty teams to develop and pilot a new, intensive, thematic program of research or creative scholarship in summer 2024 for a small cohort of UM undergraduate students, as a step stone to a future competitive external REU-style or training program grant proposal. Application deadline: 04/30/23 for Summer 2023; 10/15/23 for Summer 2024.


Track-3: Undergraduate Research Travel Grants. These grants help defray the costs of faculty/departments sponsoring their undergraduate students to present their accepted works at research conferences and other scholarly meetings. Applications accepted on a rolling basis.


Track-4: REU Supplements for UM Programs. Funds additional UM undergraduate student participations in existing, UM-approved experiential learning programs in research or creative scholarship, increasing the impact of those programs. Application deadline: 4/28/23.

Track-5: REU Development Grants for UM Faculty. Funds individual UM faculty to develop or expand their capacity in 2023 to mentor undergraduate research or creative scholarship, as launching point for a future competitive faculty external grant proposal. Application target date: 4/28/23. Applications received after the target date may be held for consideration in the fall.

Note on Mentoring: High-quality mentoring of undergraduates in their development as researchers is an important expectation of all grants awarded under this call. Applicants to all tracks should describe how they will provide serious attention to developing students' research skills and scholarly identities and involving them in the discipline's research culture. Beyond just their experience mentoring undergraduates in research, applicants should describe how the faculty who will be mentoring the students have been, or are being, trained as mentors of research trainees and how the knowledge or skills gained from that training will be utilized to mentor these undergraduate researchers. For example, the University of Minnesota offers a mentor training module free of charge for mentors of undergraduate researchers, which UM faculty may want to take advantage of.[1] Applicants to all tracks are also especially encouraged to consider mentoring their protegees in the development of proposals to external fellowships or other funding opportunities appropriate for their discipline, student classification, and eligibility. For example, rising seniors in STEM fields who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are considering applying to graduate school could be mentored to develop and submit an application to the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) in fall 2023.

Track-2: SURGG Grants 2024


The objectives of SURGG grants are two-fold: To prepare faculty collaborators to submit competitive external funding proposals for undergraduate research activities by designing and conducting a pilot summer program in a thematic area of interest to the faculty team; and to increase and expand opportunities for UM undergraduates to engage in research and creative scholarship.


Programs may be proposed for summer 2023 or  summer 2024 with durations of 8 to 10 weeks, hosting cohorts of 3 to 6 students. Requests outside of these suggested ranges may also be considered, with compelling justifications. All undergraduate participants will receive a $3,000 stipend[2] for the experience,[3] plus an expense budget of up to $500 per anticipated student, with detailed and justified expected expense categories and amounts. While faculty mentor stipends are not eligible costs for these grants, host departments are encouraged to provide small mentor stipends of at least $1,000 for their faculty mentors whose salary is not otherwise being covered from grants or institutional funds during the program period. The maximum expected award amount for any SURGG grant is $21,000.


To minimize potential Financial Aid complications related to providing paid experiences to students who are, or might be, simultaneously enrolled in credit-bearing courses, program directors are strongly encouraged to minimize the number of intersession or summer session terms overlapping their program. For example, summer 2024 programs that begin on or after May 26 and end by July 28 of that year will not overlap May 2024 or August 2024 intersessions.


In addition to describing their proposed program, applicants must identify a target external funding opportunity (or range of such possible opportunities) suitable for sustaining and expanding the new program in future years. Those awarded SURGG grants will be expected to work with the ORSP Research Development Team to develop a proposal for submission to one of those opportunities within 12 months of completion of the UM funded SURGG pilot project.


Interdisciplinary teams, along with those who have not received prior SURGG funding, are especially encouraged to apply. This track is not appropriate for funding existing UM undergraduate research programs—for existing program supplements, see Track-4.


Submit applications via the InfoReady Review portal to the competition called Undergraduate Research Track-2: SURGG 2023, 2024 by the April 30 or Oct 15, 2023, deadlines. Award decisions are expected by May 15 and Dec 4, 2023, respectively.





Track 2: SURGG Application Instructions


Applications must include the following:

·      Title of Program (short but descriptive)

·      Team Leaders’ contact information

·      Program Year

·      Proposed Start and End Date

·      Anticipated Number of Participants

·      Proposal Narrative (5-page limit): including the following named sections:

o   Purpose of Program

o   Program Activities

§  What activities will participants be involved in?

§  What programming or activities will all participants have in common?

§  How will participants’ experiences differ?

§  Where will the activities occur?

o   Research Theme and Focus

§  What is the unifying theme of the program?

§  Why is it important?

§  What is the (range of) research question(s) or hypotheses that will be explored?

§  What methodologies and approaches will be employed?

o   Recruiting/Selection Process

o   Advantage to Department:

§  What immediate advantage (if any), and longer-term advantage of the department for providing this experience to students?

§  NOTE: This is NOT a program to hire student workers. While some of their activities may resemble those for which others in their department are being paid to do as part of a job, the purpose of this program needs to be clearly and explicitly the development of these students as scientists/scholars, not getting tasks accomplished for a department or advisor. Nevertheless, certain benefits may accrue to the hosting departments or their advising faculty, such as developing a qualified applicant pool for UM graduate programs, developing an interdisciplinary collaboration with another department, or establishing a track record of broadening participation leading to more competitive grant proposals.

o   Benefits to Participants:

§  Aside from the stipend, what benefits will accrue to program participants?

§  What skills will participants develop or sharpen?

§  How will this experience better prepare them for future educational, scholarly, or professional opportunities?

o   Expectations of Participants:

§  What will be expected of the participants during, and following, the paid experience?

§  To what extent will the students be allowed to participate in the design or conceptualization of their project?

§  What follow-on expectations or opportunities will there be for participants to participate as co-authors on peer-reviewed scholarly products?

o   COVID-19 Safety Plans (OPTIONAL)

§  Describe your current plans, consistent with evolving University guidance, to mitigate the risk of spread of the Coronavirus in the conduct of your program.

§  Explain the expected range of problems that could result from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and your plans for responding to these problems.

§  For example:

·       What if program leader, advisor, or participant tests positive and has to isolate, or is exposed to a positive case and has to quarantine, and there are no isolation/quarantine spaces on campus?

·       Alternatively, what if there is a larger outbreak of a new variant, and the university has to temporarily scale-back further on-campus or in-person activities?

o   Mentorship Plan:  

§  Detail specific ways in which undergraduates will be actively mentored, with special attention given to student learning outcomes and scholarly products resulting from the research experiences of the students.

§  Include formal advising roles and undergraduate mentorship.

§  What training or other professional development on mentoring have the mentors received (or will they undergo)?

§  How will the program will include encouragement and mentoring for the participant(s) to develop and submit an application to a suitable student external fellowship, research, or other funded development opportunity?

o   Team Rationale:

§  Describe how individuals will work together to provide a collaborative research environment.

o   Assessment Plan:

§  What are the target outcomes?

§  For the program itself?

§  For the participants?

§  How will you and others know the extent to which the outcomes have been realized?

§  How will you and others know how the program can be improved for future years?

·      Budget and Budget Justification (1-page limit):

§  Detail all expected costs, including student stipends and other expenses.

§  If the chair(s) of the host department and/or identified faculty mentors haves agreed to provide mentor stipends to the faculty, this should be detailed here.

§  Provide a narrative justifying the expenses.


SURGG proposals will be evaluated by faculty volunteers and/or others recruited by ORSP Research Development, and scored based on conceptual clarity, plan, potential impact to students, and potential for follow-on competitive external funding. Funding decisions will be made based on the application scores and the availability of funding.


Once awarded, faculty teams may begin soliciting or selecting the students who will participate as SURGG Fellows.  Teams selected for funding should also immediately prepare and submit a new Student Program Request Form[4] to, in order to be recognized as an experiential learning program for which participants can be paid in an other-than-employment capacity. Once program recognition is given and students are selected, the program should be conducted over the summer as proposed.


The Awarded Investigators will be required to submit a final report within one month of project completion.


Track-3: Undergraduate Research Travel Grants

If a UM undergraduate student has had a paper or other scholarly or creative work accepted for presentation at a conference or similar event, a faculty member or administrator in department wishing to sponsor their travel to the event may request matching funds to help defray the costs. The amount requested per student per trip should not exceed $500 or the amount provided by the requesting department—whichever is less. If multiple units are sponsoring the trip (e.g., the Honors College and the home academic department of the student’s advisor or program), then whichever unit requests the grant (the sponsoring department) is the one whose contribution will be matched. The student will need to be a student employee (even if just for travel purposes—not for earning wages) to have their trip costs funded by the University, as regulated by all applicable UM travel policies.[5]  Whichever unit has “hired” the student employee should be the one who requests the grant. This unit will be responsible for advising the student on travel procedures and managing their authorizations and reimbursements. Once approved for an award, the grant will be transferred into a 2502 account provided by the requesting departments.


Undergrduate Travel Grant Application Instructions


The application should be made at least six full weeks before the expected travel. At the time of the application, the student should have already been registered as a student employee, as evidenced by a student employee number (as opposed to a student number).


Applications should be submitted via this Smartsheet online application form:


The application should include: student name and email, student degree program, student classification (FR, SO, JR, SR), student home town, the name of the accepted work, the event to which it has been accepted, proof of acceptance (e.g., an email of acceptance from the event organizer, or an event program or link to an event program), event location, event dates, sponsoring/requesting department, requesting faculty member, departmental financial point of contact (if different), expected total travel costs, requested grant amount, amount provided by sponsoring department, total of other amounts committed by other sponsors or UM units, account number to receive the grant transfer, and an acknowledgement by the requestor that they will assume responsibility for guiding the student through the financial and travel process, including making sure that the student does not have any unexpected, unreimbursed out of pocket costs


Track-4: REU Supplements for UM Programs

Track-4 REU Supplements are offered to expand UM undergraduate student participation in existing UM-directed research training programs in 2023.


Directors of existing UM research experiential programs approved by the UM Experiential Program Review Committee[6] may request REU supplements to expand the number of UM undergraduate students who can participate in these programs.


Award sizes may range from $3,000 to $20,000, depending on well-justified needs, availability of funds, and competing demand. As a result, an award offer amount may be less than requested.


REU Supplement Application Instructions


Applications should be submitted via the InfoReady Review portal to the Undergraduate Research Track-4: REU Supplements for UM Programs competition:


Requests should reference the currently approved program number[7] and tell how many additional UM student participants you are proposing to support with supplemental funding, beyond the number projected when the most recent program request was submitted for approval or renewal. The cost per additional participant should be consistent with the per-participant program costs described when the program was approved. A timeline and a short budget justification should be included in the application. Indicate as well whether the program will include encouragement and mentoring for the added participant(s) to develop and submit an application to a suitable student external fellowship, research, or other funded development opportunity.


Applications will be evaluated as the come in and award decisions made relatively quickly by ORSP RD.

Track-5: REU Development Grants for UM Faculty


REU Development Grants for UM Faculty allow individual UM faculty researchers to explore, develop, or expand their capacity to mentor undergraduate research. All funds should go towards the costs of one or two undergraduate students to help design or conduct a mentored research project. Award sizes may range from $2,000 to $10,000, depending on well-justified needs, availability of funds, and competing demand.


REU Development Grants for UM Faculty Instructions


Applications should be submitted via InfoReady Review portal to the competition called Undergraduate Research Track-5: REU Development Grants for UM Faculty.


Individual faculty requesting REU Development Grants should describe how the supplement will be used to explore, develop, or expand their capacity to mentor undergraduate research, and the potential of this supplement to lead to a specific, compelling external grant proposal in the near future. For example, an REU Development Grant might provide the opportunity for the faculty member to involve one or two undergraduates for the first time in the faculty’s research projects, or to expand their involvement in substantial way. This may in turn lead to a faculty proposal to the NSF CAREER program, and one or more student NSF GRFP proposals. The proposal should include near and long-term objectives, an implementation plan, a timeline, a budget, and a budget justification. Possible budget items may include student wages for work (of no more than 20 hours in any given week) during the summer or academic year; expenses for research supplies, research participant incentives, or travel to conduct field research—among other possible costs. Students may not be paid for any activities that they are also receiving academic credit for. Indicate in the application whether the program will include encouragement and mentoring for the participant(s) to develop and submit an application to a suitable student external fellowship, research, or other funded development opportunity. Applicants should address each of these criteria in a single document proposal of no more than two pages, single spaced, using 12-point font.


Faculty mentor stipends are not eligible REU supplement costs; however, if the faculty’s home department wishes to provide such a stipend (or contribute to other costs) they are encouraged to do so. Where activities supported by the supplement will position the faculty member or student researcher(s) to better compete for future external funding or awards, this should be well-articulated.   


The target date for submitting applications for programs in 2023 is April 28, 2023. Applications will be reviewed by ORSP RD after the target date, possibly in collaboration with other volunteer reviewers from around campus. After initial award decisions are made, any additional proposals (including ones received after the target date) may be held for consideration of possible funding from the next fiscal year’s budget.




Funding and Program Administration: ORSP Research Development administers these programs, which are funded at $50,000 year (total) provided by the Provost’s Office.


Questions about the program or application process should be e-mailed to, and addressed to Jason Hale. Check UM Today and for updates.

[2] A $3,000 stipend per student will be funded from this grant program. If the department and faculty hosting this program wish to provide a higher supplement amount, they may do so, provided that: 1) they fund the difference from their own departmental or overhead funds, and 2) all participating students receive the same stipend amount.

[3] Note: It is expected that most SURGG participants will NOT be enrolled for UM course credit during either summer term. SURGG participants who plan to enroll for summer courses should make an appointment with Ms. Cindy May in the UM Office of Financial Aid to discuss whether SURGG participation will jeopardize their total 2023-24 aid package.

[4] Download Student Experiential Learning Program Request Form from

[7] Previously approved experiential learning programs with program numbers that are pending renewal approval are also eligible.