Undergraduate Research

Student Research Grant Guidelines

Goals, Review Schedule and General Guidelines

Application Requirements

Funding Rules

Collecting your Awarded Funds

Goals and Review Schedule 2013-2014

            The Student Research Grants (formerly Internal Education Fund or IEF Category B) were established to promote educational innovation and to help enrich the College's educational programs. Student Research Grants encourage intellectual curiosity and provide opportunities to exercise intellectual abilities.

Application Due

Letter of Recommendation Due

Notification of Decision

Funds Available

Deadline for Completing Spending and Turning in Receipts


Thu., Sept. 26

Fri., Sept. 27

Fri., Oct. 18

Tues., Oct. 22

Fri., May 16

Thu., Nov. 7

Fri., Nov. 8

Fri., Dec. 6

Tues., Jan. 7

Fri., May 16

Thu., Jan 30

Fri., Jan. 31

Fri., Feb. 28

Fri., March 7

Fri., May 16

Thu., May 15

Fri., May 16

Fri., June 6

Tues., July 1

Fri., May 15, 2015

Grant applications are reviewed by the Student Research Grant Committee made up of the Director of Undergraduate Research (Chair), one member from each Division of the College (appointed by the Director of UR), and one student member (appointed by Student Forum). Applications are accepted several times a year. The Committee will consider proposals that are submitted at other times, if a faculty member requests review of the student's proposal outside the normal process, and if the situation is such that immediate action seems necessary.

All non-expendable items purchased or constructed with Student Research Grant funds will become the property of the College upon the completion of the project.  This includes tools, frames, excess reagents and lab supplies, models, equipment constructed and/or purchased, etc.

Application Requirements

1. Fill out the application.

2. Send a proposal and budget (in a single .docx or .pdf document) to undergradresearch@union.edu.

Proposal Requirements

  • 1-3 pages long, single spaced (with appropriate citations)
  • A statement of the problem being investigated
  • Your tentative hypotheses or questions to be asked
  • Research methodology to be employed
  • Anticipated outcomes
  • Reasons funding is necessary
  • If you are asking for more than $500, clearly explain why this is an unusual project that is deserving of greater than normal funding.
    Note that is not sufficient to say that a certain amount of money is needed to successfully complete the project.

Budget Requirements

  • 1 page
  • A breakdown of all anticipated expenses including the TOTAL cost of the project.
  • A brief explanation of why each item is important for the project.
  • A clear indication of how much funding is requested from the Student Research Grant program and for what portions of the project the funding is requested.
  • Any other sources of funding, including department or advisor matches for equipment and student contributions.

Don't ask for the maximum amount thinking that we will cut it anyway. We do not cut all (or even most) projects. Cuts are typically made if the funding guidelines are not followed or if the expenses are not clearly justified. If you request something reasonable that is well justified, a full award is likely to be made. Note that "padding" a grant is unethical.

3. A letter of support from the faculty member supervising your project must be sent by the faculty member to undergradresearch@union.edu that

  • Indicates why the particular student is qualified to perform the project outlined in the proposal.
  • Indicates why this project is interesting/important.
  • Stipulates the support of the faculty member for the student's project.
  • Explains why the budgeted items are necessary, giving insight and a broad perspective that may not be clear to the student writing the proposal.
  • Indicates that any other sources of funding listed by the student are indeed available.
  • If the student is requesting more than $500, a clear indication of why this is an unusual project that is deserving of higher than normal funding.

Note that only complete applications (i.e. proposal, budget and letter of recommendation) will be considered by the committee.

Funding Rules

What kinds of projects are eligible for funding?

How much funding can I receive?

What types of things are normally funded?

Are group projects funded?

Examples of items NOT funded by SRG

What kinds of projects are eligible for funding?
  • Funding is provided for student research projects associated with a thesis, research or project course for which the student will receive academic credit. (ex. senior thesis or project, sophomore Scholar's project, research practicum)
  • For research practicum courses, funds can only be awarded for the third term of the course (when the credit will be earned).

Examples of projects that are NOT eligible:

    • terms abroad
    • a term paper or other major assignment in a regular course
    • independent research projects not associated with a credit-bearing course
How much funding can I receive?

Typical funding is $300-500 for projects with a complete application that follows the guidelines.

Maximum funding is $1000*.

*Awards of >$500 are competitive. Only a few awards of $1000 are made each year.

What types of things are normally funded?

NOTE: All items purchased with Student Research Grant funds become the property of the College upon the completion of the project.

  • Research Supplies

These are divided into two groups: consumables (are used up during your project) and permanent equipment (can be used again).

Consumables could include a wide variety of things:

art supplies


disposable supplies

parts for constructing a device

photocopying expenses in excess of $50 (at $0.05/page)

maximum of $100 toward postcards/food for a senior art show

Permanent/reusable equipment (minor items)**


plexiglass for framing

sensors, batteries and other parts that could be disassembled and reused

small laboratory equipment

**A 30% match by the department or research advisor must be provided for reusable equipment.
Costs for permanent/reusable equipment should not comprise more than 50% of the requested funds.

  • Travel to gather data, view archival materials or conduct interviews

Funds for travel (use least expensive travel method available, for ex. bus to NYC instead of air/train/personal vehicle)

Funds for per diem costs (up to $100/day for 3 days and $50/day for an additional 3 days).

Funds for entry fees to a museum or library.

Your application must provide clear explanations for why travel is required and why phone calls/videoconferencing or email messages are not sufficient.

Local travel is not covered.

  • Payment of Study Subjects    

Typical rate is $8/hour for study subjects.

In lieu of payment, subjects can be offered a small gift equivalent in cost to what would be $8/hour.

We expect that in departments where course credit is offered for participation in studies that normally half of study subjects will receive credit rather than payment.

Funding will not be released until approval of the Human Subjects Committee has been received; include the approval number in your proposal.

Examples of items NOT covered by Student Research Grants

Minor expenses (paper, pens, books, phone calls, small amounts of photocopying < $50).

Tuition, workshop or seminar fees.

Payment of professionals (laboratory assistants, translators, musicians, web designers, etc.).

Purchase of alcoholic beverages.

More than $100 toward postcards and/or food for a student's senior show.

Purchase of major equipment.

Photocopying of articles used for research.

Cameras, tape recorders or other personal electronic devices.

Books or software.

Minor parts (for example: screws, bolts, wires, resistors)

Standard lab supplies (chemical glassware and plasticware, pipet tips, stockroom items)

Bulk supplies that will be used for other projects (these can be included, but should be discounted so that only the supplies used for this project are requested)

Are group projects funded?

If a group of students is working together on a single project (for example, building a vehicle), a single proposal written by all the participants can be submitted. The typical funding for such a proposal is $1000 with a maximum funding of $1500 for the entire group.

The role of each student in the completion of the project should be clearly indicated.

All students listed on the proposal must fulfill the guidelines listed above.

The funding rules are the same as for individual grants.


Collecting your Awarded Funds

Grant funds may be collected only after an account in the student’s name has been set up by the Finance Department (approximately 1 week after notification of the award). 

All forms are prepared by the administrative assistant in the Dean of Studies’ Office (Science & Engineering Center, Room S-100)***. 

Special Conditions before funding can be released:

Any student traveling abroad for a Union-College-related reason must complete additional paperwork (legal release form, etc.) in the International Programs office prior to departure.

Any study that involves the use of human subjects must have the approval of the Human Subjects Committee before funds will be released. For information see their website. Include the approval number from the committee in your proposal.

Once the account is set up, funds may be collected in one of the following ways: 

1. Purchases/Travel: (This is the preferred method.)

Union College offers a credit card for temporary student use. Please see the Dean of Studies' administrative assistant in S-100 to arrange for a card. This card is not linked to your Social Security number but to your student ID and does not affect your credit.  When you return the card you must provide original receipts for all purchases made within 30 days of making the charge.


2. Reimbursement for expenses incurred (using your own funds; personal credit card, cash, check).

Bring in original receipts for any expenses you incur so that an expense form for reimbursement can be completed.

This form along with original receipts will be sent to Accounts Payable, and they will issue a check payable to you. The check will be mailed to your home address or campus box (whichever you prefer). 

3. Human Subjects Reimbursement:  Either use option #2 above, or for a Cash Advance, pick up a Cash Advance form from the administrative assistant in the Dean of Studies' Office (S&E S-100). Take the form to the Cashier to receive cash. You must submit a list of signatures of study subjects to account for your use of the cash before additional funds are disbursed and by the end of the term in which the cash was advanced. Cash advances are limited to $125 at a time.


4.*** Students working with faculty in Biology, Chemistry, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Physics, and Geology see the following person for information about how to access your SRG funds:

Biology                              Jaqueline Klein

Chemistry                          Meg Howley

ECE                                    Lisa Galeo

Geology                             Deborah Klein

Physics                              Lynnette Stec