College Alumni Society Undergraduate Research Grant
Application DeadlineOctober 21, 2018
Members of Penn’s alumni community have created a number of grants to support research and scholarly work of undergraduates in the College of Arts and Sciences. While complete descriptions of these awards are available at the end of this announcement, students do not need to specify which grant they are applying for; all use the same application form and deadline, and proposals will be automatically allocated to the appropriate fund.
Due to the generosity of Penn alumni, grants are available in both the Fall and Spring semesters.
Fall funding cycle Deadline: October 21, 2018 midnight (Applicants notified by December 22)
Spring funding cycle Deadline: March 11, 2019 midnight (Applicants notified by April 27)
Applications and all supporting materials, including Faculty recommendations, are due electronically to CURF by midnight on Sunday, October 21, 2018. Applications will be evaluated by a faculty committee designated by CURF. Applications with late material risk not being considered.
Eligibility and Guidelines
These grants are intended to help offset the costs of research projects proposed by students and supervised by a Penn faculty member.
The grants will be administered according to the following guidelines:
- Only students in the College of Arts & Sciences are eligible to apply.
- Research in any field is eligible for support.
- The project shall represent original research or scholarship allowing the student to make a significant contribution to knowledge
- The project shall be largely conceived and executed by the student and not simply represent faculty research in which the student assists
- While students inherently must investigate their projects before applying for funding, grants will be awarded only for projects to be carried out after the proposal has been approved. Decisions will be made in December and April of each academic year for projects that are to be conducted during the academic year or the following summer. In no case will projects already completed be funded.
- Each project shall have a faculty advisor who will normally be a member of the SAS standing faculty. In some cases, a qualified advisor from outside the SAS faculty may be appropriate. Faculty must submit a letter of recommendation in support of the student application.
- Recipients are expected to complete their projects before graduation, and therefore students are ineligible to apply during their final undergraduate semester.
- Funding should be used to help defray the student’s research costs and cannot be used as a student stipend. Funds should not be a substitute for financial aid nor for the advisor’s research funding.
- Budgets of up to $1000 will be considered
- Types of expenses to which the funds may be applied include:
- travel to libraries, museums, archives, and research sites;
- living expenses that would enable the student to remain at the University during the summer (reimbursement of living expenses may be taxable);
- research equipment and supplies, including books, films, and photocopying; computer or laboratory fees; subject fees necessary to execute a research project; and occasionaly specialized computer peripherals and software may be eligible.
- Please note that conference travel, registration, poster printing etc. are not considered research associated expenses.
- Items that cost $500 or more with a useful life of one year or more must be purchased with a University purchase requisition and will remain the property of the University.
- Eligible applicants must be full-time, regularly enrolled, undergraduate College of Arts and Sciences students in good standing in the University of Pennsylvania community
- If several students are applying to work on aspects of the same project, each student must apply individually and describe clearly their independent research project, approach, methods, and evidence. Each student should also note in their individual application that their work is part of a larger project, and identify the other students working on aspects of the project.
Procedure for Application
Prepare your proposal in consultation with your faculty research advisor. Prepare the following six components in this order before proceeding to the Application Form. You must request a Letter of Recommendation separately (see below). The information you enter about your recommender on the application form does not serve as a recommendation request, though you can link to the recommendation request form through application.
- Short abstract (~100 words): On a separate page, explain the overall goals of the project
- Proposal (~500 words): Use the following as suggested areas to cover rather than required categories:
- Background: Evaluate existing knowledge and work in the area and briefly summarize/justify the proposed project’s potential contribution to the field
- Objectives: State the objectives and relevance of the proposed work in terms intelligible to an educated non-specialist
- Methodology: Describe the design and procedures to be employed and provide a timetable and implementation plan for completion of the project
- Predicted Outcomes/Future Plans/Statement of Impact or Importance: Discuss some potential results to be generated from the submitted project, proposed next steps for the research, and a statement of lessons to be learned from the undertaking
- Bibliography (no more than one page – limit of 12 items) of key scholarly works (listed in the citation format used in your discipline) providing background for your project. These may be books or articles, and they may be a mix of theoretical and empirical works that inform the project. If desired, a one-sentence annotation may be used to explain a specific item’s relevance to the project, but annotations are not required
- Personal Statement (~250 words): Describe how this project fits with your academic, personal, or career plans for the future, and with your current academic, personal, and career interests and activities
- Budget (Itemized and Total Overall): On a separate page list each budget item in order of priority and justify it in terms of the work proposed. Include the total amount needed to complete the project, even if this is more than the grant limit of $1000. If funds are being sought from other sources, state the source and potential amount of such funding. Depending on availability of funds, the amount awarded may be less than the total amount requested. Last year’s awards ranged from $250 to $1,000; the maximum for each award this year is expected to be about $1,000
- Transcript: Create an electronic "unofficial" version of your transcript by going to Penn In Touch —> Academic Records —> Transcript & GPA, and print your transcript as a .pdf. If you don’t have Adobe Acrobat installed on your computer, download the free installer or use a Penn computer that has Adobe Acrobat installed. Do not request an official transcript from the registrar's office. Do not upload a "locked" or official transcript.
Fill out the application form at Common Research Grant Application. You must submit all these materials in a single file in .pdf format. No other format will be accepted. Print and save each document as a pdf, then create a single pdf file as indicated above by navigating to Acrobat’s “File -> Create -> Combine Files into a Single PDF” feature.
Letter of Recommendation
Your faculty research advisor must separately submit a supporting letter of recommendation on your behalf. It is your responsibility that this letter be submitted to CURF no later than midnight on October 21, 2018.
The letter should:
- Review and comment on the student’s projected budget
- Discuss the project’s feasibility and the adequacy of the applicant’s preparation to complete it
- Make clear the nature and extent of the student’s contribution in formulating and carrying out the project
- Advise the student on any applicable Institutional Review Board or related issues
- If applicable, please indicate what supplies or support might be provided by your lab or budget
Please request the letter as soon as possible from your faculty research advisor via the Recommendation Request Form, and inform your faculty research advisor whether you have chosen to keep their letter confidential and waive your right of access to it.
Expectations for Grant Recipients
Funds will not be disbursed until students review CURF’s information on Ethics and Compliance and complete and submit all necessary forms. All CURF-funded student researchers must complete CURF’s Research Experience Checklist and Waiver of Liability. Students conducting research outside the US are required to provide International Travel and Emergency Contact information on the Checklist and register their trip with Penn’s Global Activities Registry.
Once the award has been made and the Research Experience Checklist and Waiver of Liability has been submitted to CURF and approved, research funds and a copy of your budget will be sent to the Business Administrator (BA) of your Primary College major department listed on your application. Recipients must work with their Primary College major department’ s BA to determine how to access these funds.
Research involving animals or hazardous materials must also be submitted for approval by the relevant University oversight committees. Students should consult with their faculty research advisors to correctly submit any necessary forms.
Undergraduates receiving this funding are expected to (1) present a poster at a designated CURF event and (2) submit a research summary and photograph suitable for posting on CURF’s website. The summary should describe the project’s goals and content, what the student learned through the research experience and how participating in this research project contributed to the educational experience.
Research Awards Supported by the College Alumni Society
- College Alumni Society Grants
- The Ernest M. Brown, Jr. College Alumni Society Undergraduate Research Grant, for students in the life sciences or preparing for medical school
- The College Alumni Society Board of Managers and Presidents Undergraduate Research Grants
- The Allison Lazo Hallingby College Alumni Society Undergraduate Research Grant, for undergraduates in Architecture.
- The Ruth Marcus Kanter College Alumni Society Undergraduate Research Grant
- The Kelson Family College Alumni Society Undergraduate Research Grant, for projects in environmental studies, theater arts, architecture or Russian studies.
- The Kanta Marwah College Alumni Society Undergraduate Research Grant, for projects in economics.
- The Mary L. And Matthew S. Santirocco College Alumni Society Undergraduate Research Grant, for projects in classics, humanities, or biomedical studies.
- The Cabanne C. Smith College Alumni Society Undergraduate Research Grant, for theater arts.
- The Louis H Castor, M.D., C’48 Undergraduate Research Grant, for students planning careers in family medicine and projects in related disciplines.
- The Goldfeder Family Undergraduate Research Grant, for projects in biological sciences.
- The Dean’s Research Award, for laboratory biomedical research.
- The Millstein Family Undergraduate Research Grant, for projects in psychology or urban studies.
Research Offering LocationUSA
Research Offering SourceCURF-Administered
Dr. Ann Vernon-Grey