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Indiana University Northwest

Department of Geosciences

Undergraduate Research Fund Procedure and Guidelines 2008

General Information | Application Procedure | Evaluation Procedure | Awarding Procedure | Application Form

General Information

PURPOSE: The purpose of the Undergraduate Research Fund at Indiana University Northwest is to encourage undergraduates to actively engage in research and creative activities as part of their undergraduate major experience. The fund will provide financial support to undergraduates in the form of travel, supplies and, under specific conditions, stipends.


  • Enrolled upper-division undergraduate students at Indiana University Northwest are eligible. Faculty can sponsor exceptional students at earlier stages in their studies at Indiana University Northwest who exhibit strong research skills, but the argument for their eligibility as an exception must be made in writing, and it must accompany the formal application for funding.
  • Enrollment in a research course (independent research) or an equivalent level of independent research under faculty mentorship is required.
  • Full-time Indiana University Northwest faculty sponsorship is required. Each faculty member can sponsor a maximum of two students per grant year. Co-sponsorship by appropriate individuals outside Indiana University Northwest is permitted provided that the Indiana University Northwest faculty member is the primary sponsor.
  • Stipends may only be awarded if the student has already completed or has nearly completed a research course.
  • Requesting funds to rent equipment where necessary to the research project is reasonable, and such requests meet the eligibility requirements for the Undergraduate Research Fund.
  • The degree to which equipment purchase may be covered by the Undergraduate Research Fund will depend upon whether the equipment will be consumed by the project, or if it can be used by the department subsequently: if the equipment will be consumed by the project, then the costs can be included in the grant; however, if the department can use the equipment subsequent to the research project, then cost sharing with the department needs to be included in the application.
  • Awards are contingent on meeting all appropriate research compliance requirements (e.g. animal, biosafety, and human subject approval). An application involving the use of animals must be accompanied by evidence that it has been approved by the Northwest Animal Resource Committee; an application involving the use of human subjects must be accompanied by evidence that it has been approved by the Indiana University Northwest Human Subjects Committee; and an application involving rDNA, human fluids or tissues, or other infectious agents must be accompanied by evidence that it has been approved by the Biosafety Committee in Bloomington ( For information on the policies related to animal, biosafety, and human subjects approval, the applicant can access the Indiana University policies and forms (, and the Indiana University Northwest policies and forms on human subjects ( online.


  • Applications for support, which must follow the format on the Undergraduate Research Fund application form, must be developed and written by the student and reviewed by the faculty sponsor prior to their submission. The faculty sponsor should mentor the student researcher through this application process before he/she signs off on it.
  • The proposed research/creative activity should produce results substantial enough to be presented at a campus-level undergraduate research forum. Student participation in the Indiana University undergraduate research forum or other university-wide, regional, professional or national conference is mandatory. Travel to such conferences must be incorporated into the budget.
  • Whenever possible, the application should indicate what, if any, in-kind costs will be provided by the academic department or division.
  • Annual announcement of the fund should be sent out to each full-time faculty member the Monday of the week before Thanksgiving.
  • The deadline for proposals will be the Friday of the week after Spring Break.
  • A copy of the application form, letters of recommendation, and additional information should be sent as an email attachment to the Chair of the Undergraduate Research Committee ( for distribution to all committee members. One (1) original copy of the complete application is to be submitted to Academic Affairs as well.
  • Notice of award should be no later than one month after the proposal deadline.


  • One full time faculty member will assume responsibility for the application— evaluation process, distributing the proposals and running the meetings. This person may volunteer and/or be chosen by the Vice-Chancellor of Academic Affairs.
  • The evaluation committee will be voluntary, with each faculty sponsor having the choice of indicating on the application form whether he/she will participate. Immediately after the proposal deadline, a list of the faculty volunteers will be circulated to each faculty sponsor, at which point they can reconsider their volunteering status dependent on the composition of the committee, as it is anticipated that at least one sponsor from each major area of study will sit on the evaluation committee. The faculty member overseeing the Undergraduate Research Fund process may, at his/her discretion, solicit additional committee membership so as to maintain a group of evaluators representative of different disciplines. The Vice-Chancellor will be invited to review the proposals and attend the evaluation meeting.
  • Copies of proposals are read by all members of the committee and ranked as either meritorious of an award or not. Of those that are meritorious (assumed that most will be), the total requested from all meritorious projects is compared with the amount available. If the amount available is sufficient, and the budget of each meritorious proposal is satisfactory, all proposals are funded. However, if more is requested than available, then it is incumbent upon the committee to determine a fair and equitable distribution between divisions and departments. At this point it may be decided by the committee to rank the proposals.
  • The committee will make its recommendations and send them to the Vice-Chancellor of Academic Affairs who will, then, notify the faculty sponsor and student.


  • Awarding of the fund will be worked out on an individual basis between Academic Affairs, the Faculty advisor, and the Student.
  • If the final cumulative amount of requested funding by all applications considered meritorious by the Undergraduate Research Committee exceeds the amount budgeted for that fiscal year, and no additional funds are available for this grant program, then the maximum award for any individual grant proposal will not exceed $2,500.
  • Funds for the Undergraduate Research Grant program will be administered in a special account by the Academic Affairs Office. Funds will not be released into the individual accounts of the faculty sponsors.
  • Funds for an approved project will be available for one calendar year after Approval Notification Letters are sent to awardees. (In most cases funding should expire April 30 of the year following the approval). If the project has not concluded by that time, a letter requesting an extension for up to one additional year can be sent to the Academic Affairs Office. The letter must be signed by both the student awardee and the faculty sponsor. The letter must include what progress has been made on the project to date, an explanation as to why the funding must be extended, and a revised time table for completion of the project. Funding extensions will be automatic upon receipt of an appropriate request.
  • A one page summary indicating what was accomplished by the applicant must be submitted to the Academic Affairs office at the conclusion of the project. The summary will be kept on file with the application. If a project is extended beyond one year, then a progress report must be sent to Academic Affairs after one year as part of the request for an extension and a final summary letter must be submitted to the Academic Affairs office at the conclusion of the project.