The UW-Whitewater School of Graduate Studies and Continuing Education, in partnership with the Undergraduate Research Program; awards up to four Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships in Community Based Research (SURF-CBR) of $3,500 each to support community-based research in the state of Wisconsin.  In addition, up to $500 funding for supplies, services and travel expenses may be available.  Mentors of selected research fellows will receive a summer stipend of $2,500.  Stipend amounts are taxed. 

The SURF-CBR grants provide opportunities for students to develop research projects that apply their academic skills, experiences, and ideas to real world problems.  All academic fields are eligible.  These grants are designed to give students the time and resources needed for meaningful reflection and in-depth inquiry into a problem or issue in collaboration with a faculty mentor and community organization that addresses a documented public need. Community-based research is defined as "a partnership of students, faculty, and community members who collaboratively engage in research with the purpose of solving a pressing community problem or effecting social change."  Successful proposals should therefore :

  • Exemplify collaborative, reciprocal processes that respect and value the knowledge, perspective, and resources shared among partners.  Community members or agencies must play an integral role in defining the research question and objectives as well as how to manage the research project. Students must demonstrate an on-going collaborative relationship with the community partner that began prior to the proposed fellowship and that will continue during the 2017-2018 academic school year.
  • Serve a public purpose and assist in building the capacity of each group or organization involved to understand and collaboratively address issues of public concern.
  • Demonstrate that the UW-Whitewater faculty mentor and student researcher are committed to utilizing their expertise to develop and implement a successful project and clearly articulate what student researchers will learn in the process.
  • Plans to evaluate the impact of the community based research project.
  • Disseminate the results of the project to the community agency or group involved in the study.

Video: How to Submit Proposal

For more details, please consult the FAQ section. For suggestions on how to compose a successful proposal, please consult this guide.

For additional content on Community-Based Learning and opportunities, please visit the following site by clicking HERE.

Note:  This page provides information on the SURF CBR program. You may apply to both the SURF UWW and SURF CBR programs, but be aware that each program has different requirements, so be sure to adjust any application materials accordingly.

  • UW-Whitewater Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors as of Fall 2017 who are enrolled full time through Spring 2018
  • Students do not get course credit for their summer projects
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 in major and minor (exceptions may be made on a case by case basis; mentor's letter must address the reason for an exemption)


  • A thesis-like capstone project is an in-depth and ambitious project typically conducted in the senior year of a student's college career.  Students who are conducting such projects and need additional financial support (i.e., beyond the normal $500 Undergraduate Research Grant budget) are eligible to apply for up to an additional $500 for each grant.  However, the student applicant must address in his/her proposal why the proposed project is equivalent to a thesis project in its scope and/or deliverables and thus, merits special consideration for extra funding.  The mentor must also address this issue in his/her letter of support. Students can only  request one such thesis-like supplement in the course of a student's college career. The thesis or thesis-like project must result in an outcome that is significantly greater than the outcomes expected from regular UR projects. Appropriate documentation(s) for such evidence should be sent to the URP office once the project is completed.


  • Award eligible for Biology majors conducting Biological Sciences research.  Applicants must be at least of sophomore standing and maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 or above.  A total of six awards are available per academic year, and each award request can be up to $500 in research budget (on top of any other grant budget request).  Applicants are selected among eligible and successful undergraduate research proposals that show high quality of research and justification for increased research budget.

If your research will entail or entails human or animal subjects, you must hold or obtain approval from the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP).  Undergraduate Research Program award funds will not be disbursed to you until you provide the appropriate protocol number from ORSP to URP.  If you do not have a protocol number assigned to your research and need to apply, please be aware that the approval process may last three to four weeks for finalization.  This is especially important when planning travel arrangements. 

Human Research Compliance Policies and Process

Animal Research Compliance Policies and Process

In order to apply for the SURF Program, you will need to apply via our online submission process.  Click CLOSED to begin your grant application. Please note that a complete application consists of:

  • A completed application form
  • A copy of the student's Degree Progress Report
  • Summer Research Fellowship Proposal (no more than 15,000 characters)
  • Timetable of project activities.  Click HERE for template.
  • Proposed itemized budget for supplies, services, and travel with a justification of how you will spend these funds and why they are necessary on a separate page. All anticipated supplies should be listed with their estimated costs.  All travel costs need to comply with University travel reimbursement requirements.  Click HERE for template.  (Note that the budget should not exceed the needs of the project, normally up to a maximum of $500/grant).  
  • Two Confidential Letters of Recommendation
    • At least one Letter of Recommendation should be from the proposed UW-Whitewater faculty mentor. This letter should address their assessment of the student's project and ability to complete the project, the mentor's commitment to supervise this project, and the experience of the mentor in supervising student research and/or creative inquiry projects.
    • The second Letter of Recommendation must be from the proposed community partner and should clearly state the willingness of the partner to collaborate in this research project as well as the students' prior collaboration with the community partner.

The proposal should be as specific as you can make it as it will be read by the School of Graduate Studies and Continuing Education and the URP Council members with some knowledge of your field. It must outline what you plan to do, and why it addresses important research questions in your field or why it addresses important public concerns. The outline consists of the research design (what you propose to do, the methodology for the research, how you will analyze the results, etc.)

  • How the work meets the need of your community partner, how you will accomplish this project during the summer and how you will evaluate its results (this last section should align with your proposed timetable of project activities).

Your proposal should also address how, and if, this project will continue during the 2016-2017 school year and how it fits into your future career or post-graduate studies plans.

For further example guidelines on writing an excellent proposal, please consult at your discretion the 'SURF Proposal Writing Guidelines.'

Below we list a couple of examples of past SURF-CBR projects:

  • Fellows will devote 10 weeks of full time effort (40 hours per week) to their project. If they hold any other employment or take any courses during the period of their fellowship they must submit a separate document by May 15th detailing their summer obligations and how they will fulfill the goals of their fellowship. This document must be approved by their project mentor(s) and the director of URP.
  • Fellows will prepare and maintain a research portfolio for the duration of the fellowship and submit it to the Undergraduate Research Program by Sept. 3, 2018.
  • Fellows will complete an evaluation of their fellowship experience by early September 2018.
  • Students will also be expected to present the results of their research at Fall 2017 Undergraduate Research Day and Spring 2018 Undergraduate Research Day.

Applications will be reviewed by members of the Undergraduate Research Program. The review committee may ask select applicants to provide revised proposals before further evaluations are made. Up to 30 finalists will be invited to a 20-minute interview with the selection committee.  The selection committee will evaluate fellowship applications on the following criteria and will also consider representation of different disciplines among the supported summer fellowships:

CriteriaNumber of Points
Applicant demonstrates that the project is feasible and meets identified community needs. 20 points
Applicant demonstrates that they will acquire significant new skills or experiences as a result of this project. 15 points
Applicant presents a clear and compelling case for how the fellowship will allow them to continue their Undergraduate Research during the 2015-2016 academic school year and how this summer fellowship will contribute to their career or post-graduate study plans. 15 points
Applicant demonstrates that they can successfully complete the 10 week fellowship. 10 points
Applicant is prepared for the fellowship (coursework, experience, understanding of community based research principles). 10 points
Letters of recommendation are strongly supportive of the applicant's merit for this fellowship. 10 points
Mentor letter demonstrates enthusiasm, appropriate experience and time commitment to supervise this project. 20 points

Please address any questions of proposal content to Seth Meisel, Associate Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Continuing Education,  If you have questions about grant troubleshooting, please contact the Undergraduate Research Program,   

Any interested SURF-CBR applicants are strongly encouraged to attend Information Session with Seth Meisel, which is scheduled for:
Times TBD

Technical questions on the grant application software?  Grant technical workshop scheduled for:
Times TBD

SURF CBR Application
NOTE: Form Currently CLOSED
Click here to apply
Due March 2nd, 2018 at 3pm

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