- How do I get started in undergraduate research?
Most students do undergraduate research within their major. A common way to begin is to read about the interests of the faculty in your department on the departmental web page, or from a departmental display. Some departments have specific handouts or designated contact persons for undergraduate research. You can check out our 'Resources for Students and Mentors' link to get more information/ideas. You can also learn about research in your area from your advisor or a Professor you are comfortable speaking with. Then approach the faculty member(s) whose work you find most interesting, and ask about the possibility of doing an undergraduate research project with them. There is a good chance they can suggest a few possible projects and you can settle on one that you both find interesting. In most cases students will do their project for credit, often as a '498' or '498 R' directed study. In any case, make sure you apply for an Undergraduate Research Grant and for any external grants that might be suitable--in some fields, such as Biology and Chemistry, there may be a few opportunities available.
- How do I spend my grant?
Go to the "Purchasing from your Grant" page and follow the instructions.
- Can I carry my grant into the next year if I don't spend it all?
Unfortunately no, unless you requested such an arrangement in advance and it was approved. You must spend all the funds in your grant by mid-April; the exact date varies from year to year but will be available on the Undergraduate Research Grants page.
- How do I know if I am submitting an abstract to NCUR or to the UW-System conference?
While we do consider your preference, the decision process is handled by our staff and we will let you know by mid-late October. We expect that virtually all students who do two years of undergraduate research will have the chance to go to NCUR if their abstract is accepted. Otherwise, seniors and honors thesis students will (tentatively) be at a slightly higher priority for NCUR attendance.
- Can I get an undergraduate research grant to do a music or art project?
Absolutely! We have funded some terrific projects to support, for example, innovative metal work and music composition. We are happy to fund more such projects. There is research being conducted in all majors and disciplines on campus.
My research involves human subjects, e.g., using surveys for data collection, should I be aware of anything?
We advise you to take a look at the Office of Research and Sponsored webpage on Research with Human Subjects at http://uwworsp.org/Compliance/Research-with-Human-Subjects.aspx. You will be able to find the Institutional Review Board (IRB) guide and other useful resources for your research with human subjects. Research with human subjects through data collection from surveys must follow specific guidelines outlined in the IRB guide.
My research involves animal subjects, should I be aware of anything?
We advise you to take a look at the Office of Research and Sponsored webpage on Research with Animals at http://uwworsp.org/Compliance/Research-with-Animals.aspx. You will be able to find all the policies and procedures that must be followed and other useful resources for your research with animals.
- Can mentors go to NCUR or the UW-System conference?
Yes. We will probably be able to take anyone who is interested to the UW-System conference. Let the Director know if you are interested in attending NCUR once your student's NCUR abstract is accepted. Faculty who have not attended recently and who are supervising multiple students or who regularly mentor students are of the highest priority.
- If my student's project changes somewhat and we need to spend our funds on expenses different from those described in our budget, do I need special permission?
We understand that Undergraduate Research projects operate on short timelines that can require rapid adjustments to enable successful work. We are generally quite flexible on grant expenditures provided they adhere to university and URP guidelines. It is best to contact us with a revised budget and/or proposal so that we are aware of the situation.
How many projects can a mentor supervise?
Given the labor intensive work of mentoring high quality student research, the Undergraduate Research Program limits funding to three student projects for each faculty/staff supervisor per year. Several students, however, may be included in each project. Please be aware that the Undergraduate Research Program may not be able to provide full conference travel for all students in projects that have multiple researchers.